"I always have to wait here."About five minutes later, another associate came to the counter who had been helping someone on the floor. He told her to go to his register, usurping myself and the sweet old lady in line. Meanwhile, the first associate was still sorting out coupons with the coupon lady (yes... it was actually taking that long).
(Hmm? Apparently someone was behind me and was talking. To me? Probably not... just venting. I don't like public venting... so I called her on it.)
"Excuse me? Are you talking to me?" I asked, even though I knew she wasn't.
"Oh?" said a sweet old lady, caught off guard that I spoke directly to her.
I repeated myself. "You just said something and I was wondering if you were talking to me."
"Oh, well... everytime I'm in here there is a line," she said.
"Oh," I said, turning back towards the counter, somewhat satisfied I'd called her out.
(old lady sighs)
(old lady makes ticking noises of disgust)
A few more minutes later, the two associates at the counter who are still working on their transactions are joined by a female associate who stands behind the first one. She's obviously new and is watching him ring up the transaction, but is soon met by a greeting from the coupon customer. Apparently they know each other because the female associate used to work at a Babies R Us in town and served that customer there quite regulaly. They seem like they could be friends based on the level of joyful conversation they are having about...
And she does. And then I see her fumble around in her purse and say nice grandmotherly kind of things. And suddenly the Hulk is gone and Bruce Banner is back... and he's chewing a Werther's.
"EXCUSE ME! EXCUSE ME! MA'AM! EXCUSE ME, COULD YOU HELP US NOW?"
(Huh? Where did that outburst come from? And how did "the sweet old lady and I" become an "us?" I'm waiting just fine while she's sighing and ticking behind me. "Don't make us an 'us,'" I think.)
The associate replied, "Actually, he's almost done, ma'am. He'll be right with you."
"I HAVE TO PICK UP MY GRANDDAUGHTER - I CAN'T KEEP WAITING!" said the old lady, growing in energy and volume with each word.
(About now I'm starting to realize she is actually yelling in my ear. Somehow this sweet old lady is becoming the Incredible Hulk out of her frustration. Don't make her angry... you wouldn't like her when she is angry.)
The associate thought a bit and then said, "Uh... okay, ma'am. I can take you both here."
(I knew it! The associate thinks we're together... that I'm an impatient patron. "I so AM NOT!" I think loudly to myself, because that's how I think in such moments... loudly. Something must be done... something must be done... this is so inappropriate.)
"You can go first, ma'am," I say.
"Hm?" she says, turning back to her orginal shade of pink. "No, no, no... you go ahead. I can wait."
"No, really... I don't mind," I insist.
"But you're next," she says.
"I really don't mind," I reply. "Please go ahead."
So then I leave the store, got into the van, and drove towards my house. Only I get stuck in traffic because the LOUSY construction happening on WESTNEDGE ROAD is slOWinG doWN traffic in the MOST INCOVENIENT PLACE!!!! ARGH!
"Whoah... where did that come from?"This is so inappropriate.
"Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye." (Matthew 7:3-7)