I walked into Walmart today, focused on what I wanted to buy. As I marched through the doors, I was thrown a curve ball. The greeter said, “Good morning, sir, how’s your day going?”

Without breaking stride, I said, “Thanks, you too.”

He politely smiled as though it made perfect sense while I took a detour to the hardware department looking for a screwdriver to shove in my ear in hopes of purging the brain cell that made me spew such an asinine response.

It was one of those moments where I wish I could pull a mulligan, rewind and eliminate my idiotic comment. My only defense is that I was expecting him to say, ‘Have a nice day’ or something along those lines. Which brought me to a disturbing thought. How many times have I reacted automatically? Instead of listening to someone, my mind programed in what I thought they were going to say, then downloaded the approiate response.

My wife has caught me doing it to her and that never ends well. (But that is another story.)

Perhaps it’s time to slow down and hear people instead of just reacting to them.

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