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Snapshots of Life in the City


"Are you not thinking what I'm not thinking?"


I had a battery replaced in a watch and it worked well for about an hour after I left the store but then it stopped. It had been a long day and I didn't feel like walking all the way back to the jeweler to deal with this. Instead, I waited until the following week.
When I explained the situation, the guy quickly grabbed the watch and he spirited away to a separate little room, and then re-emerged in a few minutes.
"It doesn't appear to be the battery but I will try another one." With a few well-honed movements he replace that battery and we both looked.  Nothing.
"Do you want me to send out the watch to get fixed? There must be something else wrong with it."
"No, it's not that valuable." I wasn't sure if I should take the broken watch back or just ask him to toss it so I stood a moment.
"I can ring through a credit but you asked for a battery and I put one in." He stood unsmiling, unmoving, staring at me.
I was at a crossroads – clearly he was waiting for my response, probably waiting for a fight. And I am no shrinking violet.
However, just an hour before this showdown, I had listened to a meditation expert say something like: "Be kind to others. Remember we are all in this messy life together, so be kind, give others a break, someone else may be having a bad day." 
I decided to heed that lesson. "OK, you're right. You did the job I asked you to do." And I began to leave the store, stuffing the broken watch in my pocket.
"Wait!" he called out and I turned. He looked surprised, if not shaken. "Do you have another watch I could put a new battery in?"
"Not with me – just the one I am wearing now."
"How old is that watch's battery?"
"You know I have say several years at least."
"Let me replace that battery. Then you get a battery that you paid for."
So I removed the watch from my wrist and handed it over. In few movements, he popped out the old battery and replaced with the new, and handed the watch back.
"Thanks!" I said with a smile. He looked relieved.
Maybe it was just luck that it worked out that way but it was surely nice that I didn't start an argument or have any bad exchange with him. I walked home smiling and got on with my day. 

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