I don't think much about who is thinking about me during the day. It's kind of weird to wonder who has me on their mind. I know during the weekdays I think about my kids often and wonder if they are safe and having fun at school.
I've been to convincing myself for years that it's okay that they are with someone else 8 to 10 hours a day. It's good for their social skills and for our financial well-being. If I sat and thought a lot about if they were longing for me or for home, we'd be locked in the house every weekend as some irrational way to spend quality time together. And that wouldn't be good for anyone.
Sometimes I wonder if my husband is thinking of me, or if he stuck in some meeting or on a client call at work. I guess we've never been one of those couples that calls 5 times a day to say hi or to check in. We catch up when he gets home at night.
So I was pretty surprised the other day when I stopped by the Sunoco station down the street to fill up on a Diet Coke and the young man behind the counter shouted out,
"Hey! Where have you been? I thought you moved or something. You haven't been in here smiling and getting any Diet Cokes."
I wasn't sure he was talking to me and then I realized he was. He has never asked my name. I responded,
"Sorry, Matt. I've been locked inside drinking hot tea at home this winter. Couldn't bring myself out in the cold weather every day. But I hear spring is coming so I'll be coming back."
"You could always get your Diet Coke without ice. I thought you were mad at me or something." And then he laughed his funny laugh.
As it turns out, he's right that I haven't been there very often this winter - their machine was broken a lot and with the winter we've had if I'm going to splurge on a large soda I do it at the drive-thru places so I can stay in my warm car.
It made me laugh that he noticed I had been missing. I practically lived there last summer on the way back and forth to get the kids from daycare. I'm not sure how old he is, but it clear he has some learning disabilities but that has never hindered his ability to be polite, and say hello, and wish me a good day. His partner in the mornings is a young woman named Amanda. She always calls me "honey" as she hands me change and never, ever, forgets to say hello and good-bye. They are two young people working at a corner gas station off 495 in Methuen who could very easily be indifferent or irresponsible and no one would probably notice. But they're not. They are polite and chatty and appear very responsible.
Some people might have their Dunkin Donuts drive-thru person to greet them each morning, or their Starbuck barista, but I have Matt. And apparently he noticed when the Mom-lady stopped coming around for her big gulp Diet Coke. And I found that very flattering.