Law Religion Culture Review

Exploring the intersections of law, religion and culture. Copyright by Richard J. Radcliffe. All rights reserved.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Mental Illness.

I had breakfast yesterday at one of the beach-front cafes in my community. I sat at the counter with my book and appetite. I got more than I bargained for.

Seated alone, a rather boisterous elderly woman wearing a floppy white hat indoors was talking to anyone who passed by her table. Sizing up the situation, I surmised she probably had a legion of obese cats and stacks of ancient magazines at home to keep her company. In short, I must confess the thought of mental illness passed through my cranium.

Evidently confirming my suspicions, she arose and strode to the area behind the counter where I was seated. She vigorously waved to one of culinary magicians in the kitchen. Unable to obtain his attention, she grabbed a server and asked him to ask one of the chefs to see her. My next thought: she was embarrassingly going to register her food complaint(s) personally.

With a rather befuddled look on his face, the hat lady grabbed this gentleman's right arm and stuffed what appeared to be a twenty dollar bill into his left hand. She sincerely said, "I hear you're leaving. I just wanted to thank you for all of the meals you cooked me over the years and to wish you the best at your new job."

She then walked to the cashier, and pulled out a white envelope with more money stuffed inside. She then removed another bill and tipped the hostess. I saw this transpire because I stood behind her. We then walked to the door at the same time and she engaged me in some pleasant banter about the weather.

I guess we can so easily mistake kindness and selflessness as so odd to be a form of mental illness. This woman was probably the sanest one in the restaurant.