Saturday, April 07, 2012

caution: more than one swear word in this post i call "good friday confession" (and i'm not even catholic)...true story

(remember i said the fire and water
in my chart make steam? well....)

Friday afternoon at Office Max, I stood in line at the cashier. He attended to the customer ahead of me, but there was a lull after he called for help from someone on the floor. The printer cartridges in my basket qualified me for free batteries and I didn't know where to find them. I took advantage of the lull in their transaction to ask. He told me where to look--literally 5 steps from where I was standing.

I set my basket by the register and walked to the battery display. While I was procuring the batteries, two more people joined the line to pay--an older man and then a woman. The man who came after me scooted up so close to the register that I had to squeeze by him, excusing myself as I went, to return to my basket.

Since four people now stood in line, the existing cashier called for another to come check. When cashier number two arrived, he said, "I can help the next person in line." The first cashier said, "And that would be her," pointing at me. So I raised my basket and turned to go around to the other counter where the two cashiers now stood back to back.

As I did so, the male customer bumped into me, pushing past to be next. Did I mention he was behind me? I wasn't looking at him as I moved. The man growled something at me, implying that I was out of line (pun intended). My limbic brain kicked. Fight popped up--not flight. "He told me to go!" My voice probably registered as yelling to some observers in the area. Again the man grumbled.

"Be a cranky old man! I don't give a shit!" Oh, yes. I said that.

"Nice talk. What are you? A nun?" cranky man asked. Apparently, it is worse for a woman to say "shit" to a man's face than it is for a man to body-block a woman to get ahead of her in line.

"As a matter of fact, I am!" I retorted, putting my ink and batteries on the counter--ahead of him.

"It figures." He stood there for a second then dropped his would-be purchases on the counter at the next empty check stand, stomped out of the store, and drove off in his white sedan.

"What an asshole..." in not quite a stage whisper and still mad, I had my last word. Oh, yes. I did.

At the completion of my transaction, the first cashier turned to me and said, "He was cranky. He almost ran me over in the parking lot."

I apologized for my behavior. Cashier number two said, "No. You're good. You didn't hit anybody. It's okay." (That's true. I didn't...this time...but that's another story.)

Even before I left the store, I started wondering what was going on for that man. He could have been in grief or pain. He could have been in a hurry for myriad reasons. He could have just been a personality disordered asshole. I don't know. It doesn't matter. The interaction happened. I swore in his direction. I got angry--and yes, he behaved badly. At that moment, I didn't love him for no reason at all. So, I prayed for him and sent him blessings.

If you watched Brené's TED talk that I posted a few days ago, you will note that her Texas family's motto is "Lock and Load." It's probably a good thing I don't own a gun. I want to be a pacifist. I am not.

But I can continue on my quest for love--with or without reason.


Joan said...

Oh, I love this! I pictured the entire scenario in my mind just as if I had witnessed it in person! The man, whatever his issues, is probably used to having people just step aside and let him bully them in order not to cause a scene. Kudos to you for standing up to him. Let's hope that he learned something from this encounter...maybe your prayers will help.

Kathryn Grace said...

Oh thank heavens. I'm so glad that someone else loses it in public now and then. I try to catch myself before my mouth opens, but I don't always make it when someone pushes me out of the way. Sometimes I holler rather blue.

Thank you for sharing this. We are all on a path. Doesn't mean we don't run into boulders now and then, and scream when we stub our toes.

Sometimes I want to be like Tawanda (Was that her name?) in Fried Green Tomatoes. Forget nice.

That's harder to accept in myself, now I stand for peace--constant reminder.