Toxic People at the Grocery Store

This post is about choices.

I just walked to the grocery store to get three things.

And all the lines were incredibly long, which was not the grocery store’s fault. It’s a small place and we have a ton of tourists.

In happy news, the line moved quickly and I was almost out of the aisle 12 with all the toilet paper and about to get one of the self-check-out machines when I turned to say something to the man behind me apologizing for my false starts. I kept thinking one of the men at a kiosk was leaving when he wasn’t.

The very tall man behind me in his polo shirt looked all the way down at me, didn’t respond to what I said and instead questioned, “You haven’t been here. Did you step in front of me?”

“Of course not. I’ve been standing in front of you all the way down that aisle.”

I’m pretty sure I smiled and even said, “I’ve been here.”

He looked down his nose even harder, saw my mere three items in my arms and said, “I’ll let you go.”

He’ll let me go?

How absolutely lovely of him.

I’m a conflict-averse person except for when I’m defending other people (and then I’m all in) and so I deflected and tried to joke because that is how the people in my family deal with conflict and I said, “I’m kind of short, but I was here. Maybe you just didn’t see me.”

He harrumphed. This man exuded that stereotypical wealthy white man vibe. I would cast him as an older investment broker who plays golf and tennis a lot, but doesn’t make quite enough money as he should be making. In a Law and Order-style show, he’d die early on and people would shrug.

I get to my kiosk. His wife joins him and he is now at the kiosk right next to me. She’d been off collecting items while he held their place in line. She bumps me while at the kiosk and apologizes.

I say nicely, “Oh, that’s okay. I’m invisible today.”

Because apparently I am?

But then, as I’m leaving the store, another local woman recognizes me and says, “Carrie. I saw that man. I had your back. I was about to say something. But I had your back.”

And that makes it all better. She has my back. I didn’t even know she was there, but she had it. How cool is that?

Even when some people demean us, make us invisible, accuse us of things that we haven’t done, if we’re lucky there can be someone who sees us, who is ready to jump in.

While we are talking, the man and his wife leave the store, turning a sharp left into the parking lot. He lifts his arm super high in the air and gives me the finger.

Me? I laugh. Because it must be amazing to be so clueless, so full of yourself, and so unable to see the people standing right in front of you for a good seven minutes.

And I laughed because this man’s anger means that I get to bond with another woman who probably feels invisible sometimes even though she’s so amazing and kind and talented.

I laughed because people like him are truly missing out. He could have spent time laughing with me in that line. But instead? Instead he chose to be angry. To wrongly feel slighted.

We all can choose to go out into this world looking for enemies, but life is SO much happier when we go out looking for friends.

The Places We Hide by Carrie Jones
The Places We Hide by Carrie Jones (That’s me. If you click the image, it will bring you to the Amazon page!)

The third book in Rosie and Seamus’s story of adventure, mystery, and death is here!

I hope you’ll support me, have a good read, and check it out!

great new mystery
romantic suspense set in Bar Harbor Maine

Sometimes the treasure is not worth the hunt . . . .

When a little boy goes missing on a large Maine island, the community is horrified especially almost-lovers Rosie Jones and Sergeant Seamus Kelley. The duo’s dealt with two gruesome serial killers during their short time together and are finally ready to focus on their romance despite their past history of murders and torment.

Things seem like they’ve gone terribly wrong. Again. Rosie wakes up in the middle of the woods. Is she sleepwalking or is something more sinister going on?

What at first seems like a fun treasure hunt soon turns into something much more terrifying . . . and they learn that things are not yet safe on their island or in their world. If they want to keep more people from going missing, Rosie and Seamus have to crack the puzzle before it’s too late.

To buy it, click here, and let me know! I might send you something!

Being Evil is a Waste of Time

I was talking to my daughter Em recently about how she was at a Wal-Mart in Georgia and a woman dropped some stuff and how Em helped the woman pick up her things.

Em wasn’t looking for praise and good-person-pats-on-the-back, she was confused by how other people chose not to help that lady.

For Em, her instinct was to help and to be kind.

But it wasn’t that way for the other people who were there.

At the grocery store in Maine that same day, Shaun (my husband) was in line and a lady had pushed her cart right within an inch of his legs. He backed up an inch to get a better angle to get something out of our cart, hit her cart and immediately apologized. His instinct was to apologize for something that wasn’t his fault.

I have trained him well.

Just kidding! Just kidding!

But the woman acted like it was his fault that her cart was in his space. And then… his instinctive kindness fluttered right away.

When I looked at the lines in the store, I was amazed by how many people seemed so sad or angry, frustrated or anxious. Few people smiled. Most people actively frowned. A lot complained.  They were miserable and sure, some of them probably had reasons to be, but all of them?

So many of us are so lucky. We get to have electricity and phones and indoor plumbing. We have problems, too, obviously. People get sick. People have depression or anxiety. Our friends die. Our kids get in trouble. But we also have so much.

We focus so much on the evil though, just slip into that mindset of ‘everything sucks’ that we sometimes forget the good.

That world of evil and misery is not the world I want to live in and it’s not the world I want everyone else to live in either.

Finding Meaning

There’s a theory out there that a lot of us are unhappy, anxious, uneasy, depressed because we want to find meaning in life and finding meaning? That can be pretty damn hard.

We find religion and go to therapy and the gym in the hopes of finding salvation – emotional, spiritual, phsycial. We convert to different ways of thinking, believing, acting in the hopes that… that what? That we get meaning. That we feel better. That we live better.

Even the stories we write, we’re told by editors and agents and teachers, “Let’s see how that character changes and grows. Or how that character digresses. Bring that character to a new place of self awareness, to a new self.”

It’s all so tremendously linear. The growth of a person or book character is condensed to simple steps, actions forward.

But are people like that? Do we work like that?

That’s where some of the disconnect comes in. When we do evolve, we don’t always evolve in a straight line. When we look for meaning, it isn’t always found after a simple pattern of forward steps.

The people who intrigue me are the people who just live. They live kindly, help others, and are just… they are beautiful.  Their instinct is to be kind and they don’t even lose it after it’s met with anger or fear. They actually cultivate the kindness.

Kind Kids

There were some teens like this where I was on Saturday.

My local YWCA has a holiday bazaar where kids go around with volunteers to buy presents for their family. Volunteers act as store keepers at “stores” where items go for .25 to $5 (or so). Every kid has an escort that takes them around to these store tables loaded down with donated items. The escort is usually a volunteer from the local high school. More volunteers wrap the presents.

It’s pretty adorable.


The best part is watching the high school kids interact with the younger kids. All these kids are obviously awesome because they are sacrificing their Saturday morning to volunteer, but there was this one kid who totally stood out to me and this wasn’t just because he was wearing a sleeveless Celtics t-shirt jersey when it was 9-degrees-Farenheit.

Nah, Mike impressed me because he broke my stereotypes about bros in sleeveless jerseys. He was on the younger side of high school volunteers, but he was so amazingly wise or patient.

“Would your gram like this?” he’d ask the boy he was assigned to, picking up a set of bird mugs.

The boy would stare at the mugs for about one minute, absolutely blankly. Then, he’d turn away. Mike didn’t even flinch. His tone and demeanor didn’t change.

They’d move on to another item.

Then another item.

Then another.

Mike never groaned. Mike never rolled his eyes. Mike was just… He was patient and awesome and kind, so kind.


“I love him,” said one of the adult volunteers who’d walked through the frigid weather to the Y so that she could volunteer this morning.

“I would like to marry him,” another lady said, “you know if I was 70 years younger.”

Mike wasn’t the only one who was awesome. There were students volunteering who were wiping phlegm of their temporary wards off their hands, and doing it so discreetly so they wouldn’t hurt the kids’ feelings. There were students carrying more than their weight in presents as the followed their charges scrambling through a maze of volunteers and tables laden with gifts all donated by local people and merchants.

And right then, I realized that I wanted kindness to be my religion just like the Dalai Lama said. I wanted that to be the default choice in my life: the choice of kindness.


For that kid, for Em, for Shaun – their initial choice is to be kindness. Humanity might crush that kindness away sometimes, but that’s their instinct, their true natures. Of course, they’re going to mess up. They’re human. I’m going to mess up. I’m human. But I’m going to actively choose kindness even as I fight against the things that I think are evil.

Kindness might not be a direct shot to meaning and decreased anxiety, but I really think that they are linked. The more times you can be kind, that you can give, that you can lift people up instead of smashing them down – helps.

There is meaning in goodness.

There is meaning in us.

Gabby and her frog. She loves and protects him and sometimes even gives him the bed and sleeps on the floor. Why? Because she’s kind. 


Writing and Other News


I do art stuff. You can find it and buy a print here. 

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Time Stoppers!

You can order my middle grade fantasy novel Time Stoppers Escape From the Badlands here or anywhere.

People call it a cross between Harry Potter and Percy Jackson but it’s set in Maine. It’s full of adventure, quirkiness and heart.


Moe Berg

The Spy Who Played Baseball is a picture book biography about Moe Berg. And… there’s a movie out now about Moe Berg, a major league baseball player who became a spy. How cool is that?

It’s awesome and quirky and fun.


Men in Black meet Buffy the Vampire Slayer? You know it. You can buy them hereor anywhere.


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dogs are smarter than people carrie after dark being relentless to get published

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