Friday, October 22, 2010

Showdown in the Checkout Lane!

I think of myself as a kind person, or at least I try to be in my daily living. I let moms with little kids go ahead of me in the grocery line, along with older folks and people with fewer items. I let cars merge in tight traffic situations and move over lanes to let faster cars pass. I make an effort to be polite and acknowledge in words thanks and compliments.

Anyway, yesterday I ran into JoAnn Crafts and Fabrics to kill some time waiting for a WalMart prescription to be filled (talk about time delays). I needed a size G crochet hook and as much as I hate spending any money on anything extra right now had enough change in my purse to afford the $1.25 cost (of course, I got the cheapest one). Now on to the check out line which like WalMart is always so crowded - about 13 people waiting.

When I got to the cashier, a younger woman cut in front of me and I moved in and politely said it was my turn. The woman immediately told me to calm down which annoyed me because I was totally calm (I absolutely hate it when people tell you this and they are the ones with smoke coming out of their ears). She reluctantly let me go ahead of her but not without some heated words directed at me. It was not a pleasant experience.

As I reflected on this encounter I realized that I reason I had stuck up for my place in line was because I feel as though so much has already been taken from me - my husband, my home and so on. As silly and trivial as it seems, I didn't want to "loose" something yet again, even as small as my place in line.

But afterward, the more I thought about this the more I wished I'd just let it go. It was an ugly encounter and unnecessary. I felt bad about it even thought I wasn't to blame and it would have been far better to have just let it be as it was playing out. There is already so much strife and conflict in the world. I have the ability to take and tolerate it. I wish I had backed off and let this woman go ahead of me. There are situations worth fighting for and those worth passing by even when you're in the right. This wasn't worth it.


  1. First time visiting your blog; my husband passed a month ago. I can relate to your 'showdown' as I nearly had a similar occurrence. But at that particular moment I just wasn't up to the confrontation so I backed away ... all the while wanting to scream "Can't you be kind - I just lost my husband!" Of course, she didn't know that. It helped me to realize that the people we encounter throughout the day may be experiencing their own trauma and it's up to me to set the example of kindness. I love your side note "It all comes down to love" ... so very well said.

  2. I had an experience just a few weeks after my husband died. I had taken my youngest daughter to the children's theatre to see a play -- just to get her and my mind off of our loss for just a "moment" and have something "enjoyable" to think about. While sitting waiting for the play to start, a couple behind us had a child who kept kicking my seat back. This was not an occasional kick -- it was as constant as a faucet drip. With my nerves the way they were, I asked quietly and kindly if they could keep their child from kicking the back of my seat. The parents gave me the nastiest look and then the mother proceeded to whisper loud and clear that she did not appreciate my request and that I should move. I became infuriated and wanted to shout to her that "MY HUSBAND JUST DIED" and I was not in the mood for a snooty, yuppy mom telling me what to do. But I kept my cool so as to not upset my 8-year daugther and make a scene. Needless to say, they kept their child from banging my seat and I was able to at least get through the play without falling apart from my loss. Some things aren't worth it, BUT there are moments when it is, it's just choosing when.

  3. Dianne - I send you sympathy, peace and comfort. Tonight I will say a prayer for you and will think of you in the days ahead.

    In the early months, there were a few times that I'd play my widow card and explain that I was a new widow. But surprisingly I found that it made little difference. The bad-tempered and mean people just stayed mean and nasty.

    It is all about love. Sometimes I think that those of us who have to travel this path have become special messengers to try and help others see/feel/understand this.

    Take care and care of yourself...

  4. Beth - Gosh, there are rude people in the world. Yours is a good story. I like how you describe the mom - snotty, yuppie.

    Even after seven years, I'm finding that there are still times I just want to throw up my hands and say, "Please be nice to me or give me a break. I'm a widow!"

  5. I understand and want to do the same thing at times, and sometimes I do - even at almost seven years. When was/is the date of your seventh year -- mine is Nov. 7. If you ever want to "talk" through e-mail, you can send your address to one of my blog posts. Comments must come through me before I publish so it would be completely private, never shown to anyone else. My heart goes out to you and to Dianne above!

  6. Thanks, Beth for your kindness and thoughtfulness!
    I've just posted about my anniversary dates which are all happening right now!