Tuesday, September 02, 2008
Things are heating up in the 'hood.
I was standing in line at the local grocery store at 5:00 pm, peak time, very long line. A woman placed an overflowing hand basket on the floor behind me, bumping my ankle in the process, and wandered off to collect more items.
I had to move several times because she had blocked off the access lane to the front door, so I nudged her basket back about six inches to make room for people to get by.
A man came along and said, "Who does this belong to?"
I indicated the woman, who was at the deli counter, ordering. Periodically she came back to her basket to make more deposits.
"I don't think it's fair," I said. "I would move up." Which he did.
She came back and said, "Are you together?"
"No," he said.
She raised her voice, "I was next in line."
"You weren't here."
"Are you going to make a big deal out of this?" she sneered.
"I would expect more courtesy and consideration," he replied.
"You're an asshole," she yelled. Everyone turned to look.
"You're still shopping," he said reasonably.
"Am I supposed to stand right here and have them bring my things to me in line?"
(No, you harpy, you're supposed to collect everything you want and THEN get in line.) I didn't say anything, though, because he seemed to have things under control.
Nobody said anything for several beats and then the man inquired, gently, "Do you have everything you need?"
She didn't respond.
"Because I would hate for you to forget anything."
Facing the other way, I smiled to myself.
She suggested that he commit a physical act on himself which is impossible except for circus contortionists.
He didn't bat an eye. "There must be something in the store that you missed. Wouldn't you like to make sure?"
At this point, I was full-throttle laughing.
"I could hold your place in line if you want to check out the back room," he offered.
By now, I was at the check-out stand. "Hi Ishmael," I said to the checker. I parked my hand basket on the counter to take up as much room as possible so she would have to wait to unload her stuff. I can be passive-aggressive with the best of them.
I stopped to pet the most adorable dog I have ever seen on my way out, and then it hit me. I should have invited the man to get ahead of me in line so she would still be directly behind me, but he wouldn't have had to wait for Her Highness to buy $200 worth of groceries. I wish I had thought of it.
Sadly, I'm sure there will be another chance. There seems to be quite a run on rudeness these days.