gre•gar•i•ous [gri-gair-ee-uh s]
1. fond of the company of others; sociable.
2. living in flocks or herds, as animals.
3. Botany . growing in open clusters or colonies; not matted together.
4. pertaining to a flock or crowd.
1660–70; < L gregārius belonging to a flock, equiv. to greg- (s. of grex ) flock + -ārius -arious
1. social, genial, outgoing, convivial, companionable, friendly, extroverted.
See also: "Ethan."
I was in the local supermarket yesterday doing the shop-up for the dinner I preparing for the beach crowd (Tex-Mex Meatloaf, Yellow Rice, Roasted Veggies, Salad, Tortillas and Salsa) when I met Ethan.
Okay, technically, I was done shopping and loading my purchases onto the conveyer for the disinterested clerk to tally for me. During the process, I dropped a bulb of garlic without noticing until I hear "Is this yours?" from just behind me. That is when I met Ethan.
"Why, yes, thank you." I replied as he held-out the garlic to me. And to his mother and father who were standing there watching. "Such a helpful little one you have there!"
"I was helping my friend." Ethan said to his parents then to me, "You look like you're going to the beach!"
"There's a good reason for that." I replied and waited for him to ask what it was before I continued. "I am going to the beach." And I looked the part. I had on my navy trunks, the Flowered Aloha shirt I had bought in Hawai'i a few years ago, and the sunglasses.
This response drove my new friend (I would say he could not have been more than four or five) into fits of giggles. "I knew it! You're going to the beach."
In a way, Ethan reminded me of myself at that age. Dad and Mom used to tell hours of stories of how gregarious I had been when four-or-five; going so far as to invite myself to have breakfast with our neighboring campsites when we were on vacations. But I digress…
The next few minutes were taken-up with Ethan asking if items on the conveyer were mine. "Is that yours? What is this? Are you getting those?" The looks from his parents made it plain that this was more-or-less the normal way that Ethan interacted. I was loading the basket with bags when I heard Ethan speak again. Assuming he was asking whether something was mine, I turned and asked him what he had said.
"I wasn't talking to you." He giggled. "I was talking to Daddy!"
The parents looked surprised at what could be taken as the petulant tone the boy responded in. "Ethan!" they both exclaimed in unison. (I had the feeling this was fairly common for them!)
"It's no problem" I responded feigning sniffling and sobbing. "It's okay that Ethan wasn't talking to me. I am okay. I'll just mind my own bees wax!" This elicited squeals of laughter from my young friend.
"I'm sorry. Don't cry!" but I would not be placated just for the moment.
I paid for my order and as I was walking away, the last thing Ethan called out was "Enjoy the beach!" I will! I had just had a fun little exchange with a new friend.
Wherever you are, I hope your day is filled with pleasant and surprising exchanges too!
Don Bergquist – June 14, 2010 – DeBordieu Colony, South Carolina, USA