So I am not known for my skills in punctuality. Not usually early, kind of schooch in at the last second. Am working on that, as one of my three girls is very time sensitive and I do not want to stress her out because I like the song on the radio.
But I do have a plot, a plan, a routine for my basic gym, violin, grocery, pickup, Starbucks, things that I do every day for the most part.
And for the grocery, I have timed it down to the exact minute (23 minutes, am not making this up, it is pretty much totally accurate unless sushi guy is busy and can't do V's carrot rolls right away) including possible delays involving slow choosers of prepared foods, long lines, etc. Have been doing this route for a while, and am pretty much solid on how it is going to go.
So the other day on this very routine routine, somehow several delays in a row slowed down my timetable. My bad, people who are lingering at prepared foods or sushi guy or butcher have every right to do so, it is just not a normal thing for a string of delays to happen during the same grocery run.
Am not grumpy, do not think I have special entitlement to Go To Front Of Line, I swear. But I was getting nervous, as variety of delays made timetable kind of close and I was headed next to violin lesson for E the girl who observes clock.
So I did something I have NEVER done, although in reverse, I have done this a bunch over the years, meaning, if I have big old cart of stuff and someone behind me has little bitty basket, or person behind me is dealing with 2 squalling kids or having hard time standing or whatever, I offer for that person or group of screaming kids or such to go ahead of me. Not because I am Good Samaritan Give Me Gold Star, just seems like they need to go ahead more than I do, and that is fine by me.
And if anyone has ever asked me if they can get ahead of me in line, for whatever reason or no reason given, I am cool with that. Because in my life experience (Note: which, granted, I am still very, very young) most people wait in line in civilized fashion (Subnote: This does not apply to very odd people in line behind me and my friends at Universal Studios E.T. ride, those people had NO sense of personal space at ALL) and everything is cool, we move along, nobody loses an eye.
So the thing I did that I swear I have never done before is ask this couple in front of me in line if I could possibly go ahead (Note: I did not have ginormous cart full of eleventy billion things) due to unexpected time crunch leading me to be in hurry to get to daughter's violin lesson.
I ask nicely, and do not expect them to say yes or no, really, no idea, but hoping for yes.
Instead, the man person of the couple (Note: Am not giving physical description of him, other than repeatedly calling me "missy" if that is clue) TOTALLY starts yelling at me. I apologize, say I have not ever asked to cut in line before but a few things combined led to me being crunched for time on getting to daughter's violin lesson.
(Note: Violin lesson for a little girl. Did not say, meet with my meth dealer, go to the spa, set stuff on fire, wreak havoc in any way, if that matters). I say, I understand, just thought I'd ask, that is fine, and moved back a bit so we did not have to be super near each other after request had been denied.
That seemed like the way to end the uncomfortable situation without further uncomfortableness.
I am no angel (shock!!). I am often obnoxious and bossy and grumpy when it is hot and do not like birds.
And I am cool, I am FINE with guy not granting my wish of cutting ahead in line.
I realize that following lines and such are foundations of polite society and otherwise we'd be savages bashing each other's heads in with stick while snatching someone's bear skin tunic. I was just asking, I repeat, nicely, and regret that I did.
Know why? The guy started YELLING AT ME. Lecturing me. Telling me it was my own fault if I was running behind (I realize that, did not say it was not my fault for planning more buffer time even though I have done this same route for years now with the 23 minute result working every time, I know nobody is out to get me and me tight on time is my fault, should have cut bait when the lady in front of me wanted to taste every single prepared salad item, I get that) and I should have planned better and shame on me. SHAME.
Is repeated a lot.
At this point, I have gone from feeling like, this guy is right, I am rude to ask to go in front of them and totally agree I am the one creating my own tight timetable, to feeling like, WHY is this man yelling at me?
I did not argue with him, I said ok, totally get it, sure, and stepped back so no social uncomfortable scene needed to happen.
But this guy was bound and determined to teach "missy" her lesson on How She Is Worst Person Ever for bad time management and overall sucking as person. And trust me, I am never, ever, ever going to ask to go ahead of anyone ever, even if I have one pack of gum and my leg is falling off and my shoes are on fire. Lesson learned.
Or was it?
Because that guy was NOT stopping. He was encroaching upon my physical space in a finger-wagging, finger-pointing, other gestures indicating Extreme Fury way, telling me I should not be allowed to have kids if I cannot plan ahead to get to their activities.
So that is where I felt like, Wait a second, that is REALLY mean.
I asked, he said no, I politely said that was fine, sorry for asking, and he has now constructed GIANT soapbox, like the ones the wackadoos in Hyde Park in London get on every weekend for their Huge Lessons On Earth Ending or whatever.
And as his stuff is getting rung up (Note: His wife is totally ignoring him. She does not add to the rant, nor does she shush him. I am guessing this is kind of their deal) the cashier is looking at me with big, sad eyes (Note: She is super nice, always helpful, and again, this is grocery store where people are very, very well-mannered normally, is not Fight Club Grocery involving bare-knuckle brawls or whatall) and is trying to do frantic head-nod to the manager, who is not aware of this GIANT LECTURE OF HOW I SUCK being given to me, repeatedly, loudly, over and over.
I GET IT. I am bad. My fault for cutting it too close. Not arguing there.
Am arguing that you are yelling at me a whole lot and that is not nice, you've established your position on the question of whether I am horrible (Note: he says yes, I am horrible), why the litany, the over and over diatribe?
I am not arguing back. I am blinking back tears, and I normally do not cry unless a sad song is on or I think about Terms of Endearment.
Eventually, somewhat like molasses trickling uphill in snow, the couple involving Man Who Thinks I Am Satan leave, and I get rung up, by very sad cashier trying to not cry or let me throw myself under a bus.
And I am off, get to violin (on time, all that for nothing, ug) and file that under Note to Self: Don't Ever Do That Again.
And that is that.
Or is it?
(Spoiler!!! It is not.)
Fast forward four or so days, am back at same grocery (And I repeat, this is very lovely grocery containing wonderful things and pleasant people and nobody is throwing flaming darts) with my eldest daughter, V, after picking her up from school, before getting her sisters from their various activities involving drama club and chess club.
We are not in a rush, not in a hurry, not even in LINE. We are looking at pickles. Innocuously.
NOT IN LINE. Not doing anything but choosing pickles (Note: Matt and the girls are all pickle people and the girls put them on skewers and act as if they are giant treat, I do not get it at all, but whatever, I do not judge, and it is not giant bowl of jellybeans that not only remind me of Ronald Reagan and make me start fight, but also fill kids with sugar and make them insane) and TOTALLY TOTALLY TOTALLY not asking anyone for any favors, special requests, anything.
But who should appear?
(Spoiler! Was not Santa and tiny reindeer. Was BAD MAN).
It was my dear friend, Gentleman Who Thinks I Am The Worst.
Since it was merely a few days ago that I had heard his thoughts on my total ineptitude, I did not need a refresher. Plus, I was not in line!
I was not asking him for anything!
I will never, ever, ever ask anyone for anything like please may I go through, EVER.
Check that off list of things to yell at me about.
Plus, please observe I have my daughter with me. Innocent kid.
Nice child, that you are now scaring the living daylights out of by YELLING AT ME AGAIN at the grocery store. Stop. STOP.
I had been on board with the I was wrong, you were right thing, although I did think constant haranguing and barking and criticizing was overkill and mean. But now?
Scales of justice have tipped. You now are totally in the wrong, as I am NOT in line, not bothering you at all, and now you are waggling your finger at my daughter and telling her I am a bad mother.
It is declared by me, and I am pretty sure the manager and cashier who subtly come over to direct you away from diatribe and harassing my poor daughter agree with me.
Shame on you, grocery critic.
I got your point the other day, I am awful. But currently?
I am NOT being awful, or creating uncomfortable social situation by asking to go ahead of you in line.
I am NOT in line.
I am in pickle aisle.
With my child.
And you are telling her I am a bad mother?
Kind grocery staff redirect Man Full Of Rage and we move along, get our stuff, chat quietly about how it is really embarrassing and sad to get yelled at in public, I am sorry to her that I had asked that man to go ahead of him in line previously thus leading to him yelling at us in pickle aisle.
She has wide, wet eyes, and I am seriously contemplating finding things to throw at the man.
Because really? We are not in lifetime war over territories, we are not in huge Hatfield/McCoy situation.
I offended you once, you schooled me on it, we are DONE.
No more yelling at me.
And seriously do not tell my daughter I am awful.
She is fully aware of all the random nonsense I get up to, I mean, she has seen me stage flash mobs and car dance and force poetry writing and such.
But I am her mom, I love her, please do not tell her I am awful.
Super nice grocery people kindly chat with us at checkout, even reassure V that I am nice person during my frequent grocery shopping and am not awful, and since this is just a yuk, yuk scene, we all try to make it end as soon as possible, and remove ourselves from the Roman Coliseum in which I am feeling like lions are coming soon.
And we are quiet for a minute in the car, and I am trying to think of Proper Parenting How To Deal With That Awful Scene In Appropriate Manner Not Using Bad Words But Also Not Whitewashing It, when my kid, my cool daughter V, throws me a lifeline.
Normally, I am Lunatic Music Lecturer Shh Mommy Likes This Song person in the car. But was not listening to music, was trying to figure out the Proper Parenting, and V goes "Hey, Mom. You should turn this up, you like this song."
(Note: I realize that does not sound like a love sonnet or anything, but it was. It was her quiet, sideways way of saying, I am on your team, not the bad man's team, I do not think you are awful, lets listen to The Shins.)
And because she is V, if I'd spelled that out to her, that I got that she was being sweet, she'd be embarrassed and uncomfortable, I know that, as I get her, even when she is quiet enigma girl and I am Mom Getting Yelled At By Man At Grocery Store.
Her telling me to listen to my song was a benediction of sorts. I get that, and it was lovely of her. So we listened to The Shins, and yay, next was Silversun Pickups, and eventually groceries were put away and life moved on.
I am kind of glad, if I had to get into Accidental War With Horrible Man at grocery with one of my girls with me, it was V, as she is older and also processes things in their entirety.
E would have been totally humiliated by the situation, until the grocery staff validated me as not being awful and then she'd look for a pen and paper to Write A Document about the very bad man's badness.
M would have absolutely hit him with her sparkly purse and been full of righteous indignation, which is too much pressure for a 6 year old, even when said 6 year old is M, known badass.
Have not been grocery shopping since Lesson In How I Am Awful, Part 2 occurred.
Will certainly be going solo, so no daughters will be traumatized.
But if at banana section I am confronted once more with Here Is Why You Are Bad, it is ON.
I shall not respect my elders.
I shall totally, definitely, soundly give prepared Oh, NO, Actually, Here Is Why You Are The WORST And I Have Backup And I Have Made A Chart And You Shall Rue The Day You Decided To Traumatize My Daughter Over Past Perceived Misbehavior On My Part. Pull Up A Chair, Mr. Horrible.
I Have Written A Document. Want To Hear Whose Behavior Is Worse Than Asking Someone If They Can Go Ahead In Line? THAT WOULD BE YOU.
Pull up a chair, this will take a while.