Never been happier

So…

…I walk into a Starbucks and grab a bottle of Ethos Water. I make my way to the register to pay for it. The young woman behind the counter says, “Will that be all?” I say, “How are you?” The question stuns her. “Fine,” she says warily. “I’m doing fine. How are you?” I say what I usually say: “I’ve never been happier,” which is my way of practicing happiness. (It is a practice, by the way, like law and medicine.) She says, “Wow.” Hers is not an uncommon reaction. Most folks don’t expect my answer and tell me as much. Sometimes, people demand to know why I’ve never been happier. But a moment later, I discover that she is not reacting to my answer. She is reacting to my question: “How are you?” The young woman explains: “It’s been a long time since anybody on your side of the counter asked how I was doing. When I started working here, I would greet every customer by saying, ‘Hi, how ya doin’ today?’ More times than not, customers would just glare at me and reply ‘Grande skim latte.’ So, I just stopped greeting people and cut right to the chase. And that’s pretty much the way it’s been, until now…” I’m not sure what the little episode says about anything. However, I notice that the guy standing behind me is leaning into our conversation. I figure he is annoyed. My transaction is taking far too long. After all, I’m just paying for a bottle of water. I am wrong. “How are you doing today?” I hear him ask in a cheerful voice as I walk to the door. “I’m doing really well, thanks,” says the young woman behind the counter. “How are you?”…

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