Sometimes something happens and I react in a way that would have been totally foreign to me 10 years ago – or even 5 years ago. I react and then I think about how I could have reacted and I measure that against the other person’s reaction … and by that time I am ready for a nap. I’m getting old.

I stopped at the grocery store on my way home tonight. I just had to pick up a few things – bread, milk, lettuce – but one thing always leads to another and I buy more than I originally intended. I got in line, the cashier rang up my stuff and asked me if plastic bags were okay. I said yes and then I had one of those deja vu moments. I thought, but did not say, “Plastic. Fuck the planet.” No so long ago, I would have said it. Some things are funnier in your head.

As the woman was bagging my groceries, she put a can of refried beans in with the bread. No no no, that will not do! So I said, “Excuse me, could you put the can in another sack?” I even said it pleasantly (I can be pleasant. Really. I can).

She looked at me, rolled her eyes and said, “It’s not anywhere near the bread!” Oh. My. God.

I said, “Would you do it anyway?”

And she said, “Oh, for heaven’s sake!”

What??

So I said, “Gee, are you having a bad day?”

She said no, she was fine and then as I was leaving she told me to have a nice day. (Which made me want to flip her off, but my hands were full)

I almost made her call a manager and explain to the manager why she was so put out over putting a can in a different sack (with something not so smashable). I didn’t … because I’ve been in her shoes. I’ve rolled my eyes and opened my mouth and smarted off … and then I felt stupid and horrible for the rest of the day. I also didn’t because she was around my age and obviously knew better, so it would only humiliate her.

I almost stopped at the customer service counter and asked for a manager to tell them that one of their cashiers needed a time-out. I didn’t … because I’ve gotten in trouble because a customer was a jackass (I wasn’t a jackass this time. Honest). I also didn’t because it’s almost Christmas and working retail sucks.

On a scale of 1 to 10, it was a 2 for annoyance … but mostly I was amused by the exchange. Not so many years ago it would have been a 0 for amusement and a 16 for annoyance.

I’m either mellowing out or getting old.

Or both.

PS. The next chapter of Risk is up over here. You know, in case you wanted to read it or something. It’s no big deal really. I mean, I write for myself and not anyone else, so not only do I not care if you don’t read it, I don’t care if you hate it. So there. Take that.

(Did that sound believable at all?)

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