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It’s All in the Greeting

     It’s March. It’s raining off and on, with not much sunshine between rains. I walked into the café for a pleasant breakfast before going to work. Noticed a friend at a table in the back, so I stopped by to say hi. Oh my goodness. I shouldn’t have done that.

     I said hi; she said good morning. And then lightning struck. Inside the café – not outside. I was the only one who noticed. That’s ’cause I was the one it struck. I did my best not to show it. It was her next four words that struck me like a bolt of lightning.

     “You look really tired,” she said, looking at me compassionately.

     Tired? Me? Gosh! Couldn’t she have told me I looked gorgeous this morning?  Not true, but it sure would’ve made my day. I would’ve floated out of there on a cloud - and not a gray one, either - spreading sunshine through the rain clouds all day long. Or at least for the next fifteen minutes ’til I forgot what she’d said.

     But no, she told me I looked really tired.

     What did she mean I looked tired? Like I had bags under my eyes? A crease on my forehead? Like I’d dragged myself in from the parking lot?

     Maybe she was right. Maybe I was tired without knowing it. Mentally I reviewed my lifestyle of the past twenty-four hours. Did I get enough sleep? I did. Plus I slept in a little later than usual and I sure don’t remember tossing and turning and lying awake all night.  

     So it must be something I did yesterday that was making me look so tired today. What, I couldn’t imagine – I sure hadn’t worked up a sweat over anything in the past twenty-four hours. Or the day before that. Or last week. Or any time I can remember, for that matter.

     As I stood there, exchanging pleasantries with her, I felt my shoulders slumping, my wrinkles wrinkling and my eyes puffing up a bit. I wracked my brain - my tired brain - trying to figure out what made me look so tired this morning.

     You know, I came into that café feeling on top of the world – well, as on top of the world as a body can be at eight o’clock in the morning of a work day. And now, five minutes later, I was plum wore out. Totally drained.

     Right about then my friend, with maternal concern oozing out of her pores, said, “You know, actually I’ve noticed you’ve looked tired all this month. Have you been working a lot more than usual?”

     All month?! Wait a minute!!! I’ve been going around looking like I’m half-dead for a month? Why didn’t you tell me? I would’ve gotten some sleep. I would’ve gone on vacation. I would’ve drunk some – what’s that stuff that’s supposed to energize you? Whatever, I would’ve drunk it.

     She could’ve just said she loved my new jacket. Or that my hair looked especially nice this morning. Might not have been true, but I would’ve spent the rest of the day positively glowing. I know one thing, I wouldn’t be feeling so darned tired right now.

     Even if she’d just said hi and left it at that – that’d be okay.  That would’ve been just fine.  Maybe a little hug to go with it…

     Remember the old saying? “Sticks and stones can break your bones, but words can never hurt you?” Maybe not, but they sure can make you tired.

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