Have you ever had a reaction that was so completely out of proportion to the event that triggered it that you couldn’t figure out where it came from?
When I left work at 4, I was in a fantastic mood. I’d decided to buy a new crockpot and see if I could find anything cheap and interesting at Half-Price Books. So I stopped there first, and got a French phrase-book, a Three Investigators book in Spanish, and an old pulp fiction novel that was on clearance for a buck. Then I merrily wended my way to Target, literally whistling all the way there. I found a great crockpot, one that automatically switches to “keep warm” after the selected cooking time has completed, and it was only $25. I got a few groceries–a bag of black beans, a bag of pinto beans, a bag of lentils, some tomatoes, a lovely acorn squash, and a few other sundry items–and went to stand in line. I chatted with my favourite checker while he rang up my groceries, and headed out to the car.
As I was walking to the car, I was immediately behind another woman. When she stopped her cart, I saw that our cars were nose to nose. I was going to go around the other side of her vehicle to get to my car, but it looked like it was too narrow for the cart to pass through. I cheerfully and politely asked if I might slip past her, and she said that I would have to wait for her to unload her groceries first.
I was completely stunned by that. It would have put her out to move her cart to one side so that she could let someone through (someone who, incidentally, was trying to avoid the possibility of scraping her car)? We were close to the grassy area at the end of the lot, so I just went all the way around, fuming the entire time. I grumbled as I loaded my items in the car, and was really quite rude. I don’t think she heard me. Now granted that it wouldn’t have been a big deal for her to move her cart, and granted that it also wasn’t a big deal for me to go around the grassy area, but when I got into my car and thought about it, I was truly ashamed that I’d gotten so angry over nothing. And when I say angry, I mean I was absolutely livid.
I don’t get why people can’t be courteous to each other. (I include myself in that, so please don’t think I’m sitting here on my high horse criticizing everyone in the world.) If someone had asked me if they could go past me, I’d most likely have said sure, and moved my cart out of the way. While I was standing in line, a guy in another line made a huge, ugly noisy scene, and my usually cheerful checker was visibly disturbed by it, as were the other customers in line. He was so angry, and so determined to make sure that his righteous anger was made known to the staff that he made a huge scene and ended up embarrassing himself (not that he was embarrassed, but you know what I mean). And then I end up having the same reaction myself in the parking lot, even if I wasn’t yelling and screaming. I was just as ugly as I could be.
I don’t get it. I don’t know where that came from, but I hope I don’t see that side of myself again. It was scary.
A half hour later I’m calm, and now I’m going to go cook some lentils. Yummmmmm.
And ma’am, wherever you are, I really am sorry that I was so nasty. I hope you didn’t hear me; if you did, please forgive me. And I’ll try never to do that again.