So there was this woman yesterday that I wanted to throttle but didn’t. You’re welcome airport woman. You’re welcome.
She’s still on my mind which in some ways really pisses me off because she shouldn’t be- but my brain is not my own these days and I don’t seem to have any control over who comes to visit. Yeah, so I’m ruminating about her.
It was a brief interaction and it went like this:
Lovely Virginia family of three enter Portland airport shop for ‘plane treats’ for the 8 year old member of family and Diet Coke for the 48 year old member. Don’t judge me. I don’t care what is in Diet Coke these days. It’s delicious. And life is crap right now so I take delicious where I can get it.
The shop is pretty standard stuff except for this really amazing end cap full of Oregon chocolate. Who doesn’t want to load up on Oregon chocolate to take home? I don’t know. We were fixing to load the f-up. I’m having this pretty in depth conversation with the 8 year old son about it when I notice this woman standing next to us. Not just standing. Staring. At us. It went on long enough that it got awkward. Thanks for that lady. I look around trying to figure it all out and I realize she is the store clerk and we are blocking one of possibly 14 ways for her to get to her register. She isn’t looking at us in a ‘can I be of help’ sort of way before you jump to that conclusion by the way. She is definitely giving us her well rehearsed glare that I can only assume she bestows on customers who annoy her on the regular. At first I was so startled to realize she was standing there and appeared to plan to remain there until we moved that I gave a little “Oh!” and pulled the 8 year old away from the product I’m assuming her employer would like us to buy so that she could get to the register via her clearly preferred route. But about one nano second later I was annoyed. Like, inside voice coming out my mouth annoyed. And I mumbled something. Something stupid. Not bad just stupid. And in all honesty not loud enough for her to hear.
This is where I should probably point out that under normal circumstances where I’m not dealing with the traumatic death of one of my favorite people on the planet that I’m not quite so reactionary but I don’t want to be disingenuous so let’s just move on.
I go back to the task at hand of loading up armfuls of empty calories for the plane when the husband comes by and remarks that the cashier is grouchy. AHA! If JUDD thinks she is grouchy then she is grouchy. I haven’t contaminated Judd so thoroughly yet and he can be trusted to be objective.
By now we have enough food to put a dent in the 8-year-old’s college fund. Judd is at the register holding his wallet and casting about for an escape hatch. I throw him a life ring and say “I’ll get this stuff…..” and look down at my own armful of Diet Coke and sweet and sour gummy worms. (What did we agree about not judging?) and so he proceeds with his transaction.
About now, I become aware that the cashier would rather we just combine all this into one transaction. On some levels I get it. I’ve been the cashier. Each customer is its own creepy thing you have to do. If everyone is together can’t you just check out together? In another universe and on another day when you hadn’t forced me to step aside so you could go through in such a passive aggressive way you would be exactly right cashier lady. But not today. Not today. Before she gave Judd his total she actually came to a full stop and looked at the items I was holding for a full beat. She moved her hand to gesture ‘this stuff too?’ because why bother speaking to us? And I said “Oh no, I’ll pay for these separately.” Sweet smile – because I’m the bigger person.
Judd completes the transaction and herds himself and 8-year-old out the door. I put my items down in front of cashier lady. She looks at my stuff like it is covered in Zika and before she touches any of it she says to me, “Sorry, I thought you were together.” I give her a genuine smile (seriously – genuine). “Yes we are together but I am paying for this stuff… sorry we’re weird like that I guess.” She levels me with a really ugly look and says “I thought he was your husband.” To which I say (admittedly confused) “he is.” She starts to ring me up with the speed of an arctic glacier and then stops (STOPS!) waits a second and says without looking at me “You’re very weird.”
Record scratches to silence………
Did this woman just say I was weird???
“What?” incredulous me says.
“He’s your husband and he didn’t pay for this. It’s weird.”
And then…… well, I can’t actually remember what then because I think I blacked out or went into a feminist fugue or something. I have no idea what I said but I remember my lips moving and I also remember feeling like I was really holding myself in check *proud moment* and then, blink, I was out of the store on the concourse again looking for our gate and shaking my head in amazement.
And ever since then I have been having periodic flashbacks where I rewrite the ending.
I’m Tony Soprano during that moment of calm right before he reaches out and chokes some lacky. You know it’s coming and everyone in the vicinity holds their breath and takes a slow step backwards.
I’m Merryl Streep delivering a Devil Wears Prada level verbal smack down.
I’m me but meaner and I look at her and say “Shhhh, you’re stuck here and I’m not.” and I walk away cool like ice.
I run the scenarios 100 different ways until I’m actually tired of the exercise. And I feel better and I realize I still bought Oregon chocolate. Let me repeat. I bought Oregon chocolate. Life is not all bad.