About Me

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Five years into widowhood, after one year of incredible happiness and nearly 14 years of single blessedness. Have given up perfect manicures and pretty hands in order to resume playing the soprano recorder and to see if I can figure out how to play bluegrass banjo. Singing in the shower. Still really, *really* love to knit!

Friday, August 01, 2008

“I was in line.”

No, you were not. When I got to the post office, there were two gentlemen in line in front of me. One of them was nearly done picking up his mail. The other was waiting patiently for the new clerk to figure out where his mail was being held for pickup. And I was behind him. You were at the counter behind us, and then you were leaning against the wall, looking for your opening.

When I walked up to the window, you stepped forward and said, “I was in line.” And I gave you the smile that strikes terror into the hearts of rebellious teenagers and replied in my best “bless your heart”* tone, “No, ma’am, you were not. I was in line right behind this gentleman. You were standing over there.”

And you blinked. And you said, reluctantly, “Go ahead, then.”

Order 1, Anarchy 0. [I would have said Chaos 0, but I didn’t want Tan to spew milk out her nose.]

The gentleman behind me in line might possibly have been homeless. Or maybe just a little bit crazy. Or singing so softly that not even dogs could hear him. But he was making the most interesting assortment of noises that I have heard since the girls were pre-verbal. And I was praying, “Please don’t cough or throw up all over my shirt.”

As I picked up my mail and turned to leave, you tried again. “I was in line.” But the gentleman behind Mr. Interesting Character said quite firmly, “No, you were not in line. She [that would be me] was in line. This man in front of me was in line. I am in line. You were over against the wall. This is the line. You need to get in the line.” I managed to suppress my grin until I was around the corner.

Order 2, Anarchy 0. [Tan, how’s that nose holding up?]

I think some people become accustomed to using height or size or age or loudness or ethnicity to intimidate others. And I think it is wonderful when a handful of individuals stand together and politely deliver a reality check. I think if more of us seized the day like this, the world would rapidly become a safer and kinder place to be.

I wonder if the woman at the post office went home and thought it over, or if she just stewed all day about all the rude people who wouldn’t let her have her way?**

On a related topic, though from a slightly different perspective, I remember the time that I was great with child and at the movies with my then best friend. We went into the loo after the show, and the length of the line was disheartening. So she raised her voice and said, “Ladies, this is my best friend, and as you can all see, she is very, very pregnant. Would you mind letting her go to the head of the line?” I turned 15 shades of purple as they said, “We’ve all been there. Or will be. Come on down, honey!” I waddled to the front of the line, murmuring “thank you thank you thank you”. Because my friend didn’t presume. She asked. And the ladies responded graciously, as befits Southern women.

Can I just say how much I love living in Texas, where men still hold doors open for us, and sometimes still stand up when a woman enters the room, and women still appreciate that, and “normal” covers a wider range of human behavior than anywhere else in the country. [Maybe in the world?] And cutting in line at the post office is still considered tacky.

*[bless your heart, pejorative Southern idiom having nothing to do with blessings]
**A couple of days after this incident, I was in line ahead of the man who had been just finishing up the time before. And I commented, “At least today we don’t have someone who thinks she’s in line.” He nodded and said, “She can get really rude.” “Oh, so you’ve seen her before?” “All the time, and she’s always like that.”

Well, we'll just have to be persistent. Bless her heart.

Not as much knitting progress on Juno Regina yesterday as on other days; I puttered a little too long and ended up driving instead of riding the train. Still, a good two inches of knitting, and I am about a foot above the point of the last diamond. Roughly another thirty inches to go. And almost time to wind another cake of yarn! I tried to get a picture of all this knitting excitement, but all four shots were blurry, so you’ll just have to take my word for it.

When I got home last night, that one lifted shingle on the roof had been smoothed into place.


Jenni said...

I'm very glad that you didn't have to stab anyone with a knitting needle for trying to take cutsies at the post office.

Lynn said...

Actually, that was the one day this week that I hadn't taken my knitting with me to the PO.

And I wouldn't *stab* anybody with my knitting needles; I could get blood on my project! Or break a needle. [This is why I don't offer to teach you to knit, LOL.]

I might *nudge* somebody with a needle, however.

Tan said...

Luckily no diet Coke spewed out of my nose! You can say chaos if you want. Are you a fan of Time Bandits?

People who try to butt in line are so clever sometimes. You can be waiting at Baskin Robbins, and they come in and carefully avoid making eye contact with anyone. You know they are going to make a bid to be the next person served, even though five people were in line before they entered the store.

Once I was in line at a college book store. I got in a checkout line that went down an aisle where people were shopping. One young man was casually gazing up and down at the shelves, and then just kind of sleazed into the line ahead of me. I pointed out to him that the end of the line was around the other side of the shelves, and he tried to argue with me. But moms of six kids who need to be home in 45 minutes to start driving people to piano lessons have a certain look in their eyes that your average college kid can't stare down.