Music To My Ears: Hearing the Right Noise


IMG_4171  Michaela Ortega
Sometimes in life, you hear the most perfect thing at the most right time.

Majority of the time, that is not the case. But on those rare occasions that it does happen, we cherish it, revel in it for a minute, or week, or month. It may be something that relates exactly to our current situation, or maybe it just puts things in a new perspective– something to ponder over, to pique your interest.

I come into contact with hundreds of people a day. Some are familiar faces but mostly they’re not. And it’s a funny thing when you only have a 30-45 second period of time with someone, how two people choose to spend it. Some want me to say nothing, bag their groceries, and get the hell out of there. On to the rest of their day. Others are willing to share literally a months worth of personal news with you, most of which I’d rather not know. And still others are just polite to you; they say please and thank you and walk out the door.

If I had to choose one kind of person I prefer, I’d actually say it’s those who share their life story with me, because it is so completely opposite of how I am. It might take a year of knowing me before you get really personal information out of me. But these people are willing to share things with you, willing to be vulnerable within their first interaction with you.

They don’t care what you’ll think, they don’t worry how you’ll react, they just speak.

This is music to my ears. To meet people unapologetically authentic, more confident in the human race than doubtful of it.

And the beauty of it is that I see this in all different kinds of people– some are teenagers, some are middle aged moms, and some are older people– all willing to put forth their authentic self with me, a perfect stranger ringing up their groceries. I can tell within a few seconds what kind of person someone will be. I’m not saying I’m judging them, because I’m not… but anyone can tell. You know if someone is being real with you or not.

And sometimes, every once in a while, these awesome people drop some knowledge and wisdom on you.

I especially enjoy chatting with the older customers; they have the best perspectives, after all. But the other day, an unassuming middle aged man shopping with his young daughter said something really simple and great.

I asked him, how I ask everyone, how his day was going.

He replied very naturally, “Doing great. I have my family, a house, and a job… can’t complain.”

And then, as if to reply to himself, he goes, “Well, there’s always something to complain about, but I just don’t see it that way.”

I couldn’t help but smile at the guy.

The truth is, when you hear enough stuff like that, enough good music, then you start to think that way too. You believe it, and believe in it. By no means does everyone who walks into the store have a great attitude like his, but damn, enough people do that it makes you sit down and think about it. Even days after the fact.

That’s the stuff that counts– the stuff that you can pass on to other people that might make their day or year a little better.

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