SO I have always found waiting in line at the checkout side of a store pretty awkward. How close do you stand? What if you’re buying a bunch of extra super tampons or the person in front of you has straight up $300 total for JUST alcohol (it’s happened!) What if your card freaks out and doesnt work or I dont have enough cash, what if I grabbed the wrong item, what if??? THere are so many situations that are just awkward and uncomfortable for me, but I’ve just sort of dealt with them because, well… I have to feed my family and that involves grocery shopping.
Coping with the task at hand also means that sometimes I might actually have to strike up an awkward conversation with the person in front or behind me while waiting for an extra slow cashier (or possibly new-to-the-job). SO today I ran through the grocery store a lunch time (mistake number one). It was SO crowded there and very few employees were at their stations, probably because they were on break. Anyway, I was patiently waiting in line; one person in front of me and one behind me. Then up comes an older man, I want to graciously give him the benefit of the doubt and say he was maybe in his 50’s? Anyway, he only had a couple things, so did the employee going on break that was right behind me. He mumbled something to the employee quietly waiting for his turn in line but I didnt hear excatly what he said, now looking back on it Im pretty sure he was insulting me somehow. The next comment I heard was in reference to waiting in line behind a woman and that its the wost because they never let you go in front of them, because they are just like that. Feeling uncomfortable because well, the obvious two strikes against me 1. naturally, being a woman and 2. I was already in front of him in line… I tried to chime in positively, “Aw, never say never…” Trying to cheerfully imply that not every woman is as mean and selfish as he was implying, that maybe one day he would be surprised by some random woman’s generosity of allowing him to cut in front of her in line… apparently that’s just unrealistic in his eyes because he interrupted me saying, “no, I KNOW they never do. They are just sooo selfish and stubborn, dont expect to be able to talk or get a word in either. They just do whatever they want to do because they think they know it all.” Little did he know, I would have allowed him to go in front of me if I hadnt already unloaded everything onto the conveyer thingy. SO trying to still be positive and encouraging I said, “maybe you haven’t been behind the right women…” But he cut me off again with,“No, I know women, I grew up with five sisters and……”
To be honest, I kinda tuned him out at that point. The cashier asked me a question and I had to pay for my total. The next time I looked over my shoulder he was gone, apparently I upset him enough with my positivity that he changed lines. *shrug* So, anyway I finished paying for my groceries and headed over to treat myself to a venti Passion Tea. I saw my grumpy friend in the checkout line he had moved to and noticed he had a female checker running that line. I immediately felt sorry for her because I bet he was rude to her as well. I walked past them and went to get my tea.
A few minutes later I exited the store enjoying my half-sweetened delicious cup of tea and I saw him heading my way in his car. For a brief second I thought maybe with all his anger and hostility he would be the type of person to drive like a maniac just to try and scare me so I crossed the street quickly and then gave myself a quick pep talk to walk away proud as he passed. I stood tall and walked slowly convincing myself that he wouldn’t know how much his harshness and sexist attitude had bothered me. I heard the car pass behind me and right as I was about to exhale with complete and utter relief I heard him yell from the open window of his car, ” PIG!!! ”
Honestly, I reched my car and burst into tears. I have never met such a cruel and hurtfull person before in my life… aside from my own grandmother, who has truthfully said worse things to my face. I give her more grace though bc I can understand her, she was probably hurt as well and doesn’t know how to interact properly with people, especially loved ones and she has ZERO verbal filters. She doesnt seem to even understand or care when she’s said something hurtful to someone. But a complete stranger attacking me somehow felt so much more painful. I realize the words other’s use and the way a strange, angry, close-minded man decides to view me doesn’t define who I am BUT man did that knock my feet out from under me and throw me off-guard.
I guess I the old saying isn’t entirely true…
“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me…”