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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Local Woman Tells Off Teen, Has Nervous Walk Back to the Office

Despite the cocksure-ed-ness of my writing style, I, in true Midwestern fashion, do not care for confrontation.

This is not to say that I don’t have ideas about things or situations that would, say, in larger cities, cause multiple people to jump into a verbal fray, it’s just that we Minnesotans, in particular, are loathe to cause a scene.

We will, of course, purse our lips in disagreement with you, but that really only seems to work on other Minnesotans.

So it is with a mixture of pride and confusion that I tell you that I've had a confrontation.

Having recently lost my appetite, I've been told “go find something you used to like and eat it whether you want to or not”, so I found my way over to a food court where they sell braised meat on sticks. I got into a long line. Eventually, of course, I was next – only to have a rather large and thuggishly dressed teenager push her way ahead of me.

“I was next,” I said.

She ignored me.

I looked at the cashier, who shrugged.

“Excuse me,” I said, tapping the girl on the shoulder. “I said I was next.”

She turned around. “Uh-uh,” she sneered. “I was over there looking at the menu and I’m next.”

“So you say,” I said. “But the line’s not over there, it’s over here. I’m next.”

She put her hands on her hips. She was almost a full foot taller than me and easily out-weighed me, although it did appear that the clothes she had stuffed herself into were my size.

“I SAID,” she shouted, staring down at me, her neck weaving from side to side, “that I was over there, looking at the menu and I’M NEXT!”

I stared back, and for just a moment, is it possible that I actually saw red? “I see,” I said in a quiet voice. “Well that just makes it so much more interesting, doesn’t it?”

I broke eye contact, stepped off to one side and told the cashier, “I’ll have a beef kabob.”

I then turned around to the person that had been behind me in line for the last 10 minutes. “I wouldn’t let her in if I were you. She’s uncivilized.”

And I refused to look back at her. She’ll get nothing from me but the back of my head.

And I walked, shaking, to where I picked up my kabob, and walked, shaking, back to the office. I never turned around but awaited the blow that was surely coming.

It did not come, and I am no longer shaking.

Like the bus drivers who no longer tell people to “sit down”, “shut up”, or “stop that” for fear of reprisal, it seems that cashiers are powerless over the public as well.

Who are the champions of civility? Where have our manners gone? And can anyone tell me if I’m being followed by a large teenage girl?

52 comments:

mybabyjohn/Delores said...

Hopefully you gave her something to think about for the rest of the day. I've had to tell people to go to the back of the line before and not teenagers either. I guess they figure if they get away with it once they are always entitled to get away with it. Good for you Pearl. Stand up for your rights.

That gentleman's lady said...

Oh dear! How terribly dramatic! I hate public confrontation, but sometimes it is oh so necessary. Good for you for not backing down :)

Susan in the Boonies said...

I am SO picking you to be on any team I am ever a member of.

You're my hero!!!

haphazardlife said...

Good for younfor not backing down!

willfulresemblance said...

You handled that well, I's sure I would have either ignored it or swore a lot more but I am menacing and need not fear reprisal.

Joanne said...

Sorta takes it all out of you, doesn't it. Especially the shaking part. Well done.

Simply Suthern said...

I'll modify one of those add-on back up cameras so you can strap it onto your waist. That way you can see behind yourself as you walk away. She'll be amazed at your Matrix like move as you duck and dodge her attempt to blind side you. I'll remove the annoying beep beep beep.

Lisa Golden said...

As a fellow Midwestern, I know how hard that was for you. Well done, my friend.

Alan W. Davidson said...

Oh, good. I thought that it was just HERE where folks had become uncivilized. Good for you, Pearl, for sticking up for yourself (though keep in mind that you never know how crazy some people are and HOW they might react to confrontation followed by the cold shoulder...)

I think that Minnesotans are loathe to cause a scene because they are so close to Canada and some of our ways have rubbed off on you.) Just sayin'...

Tom G. said...

Bravo! Well done. While the world may be going to hell in a hand basket, at least you can say you did something about it.

Civilization starts with "Civil".

"I wouldn't let her in if I were you. She's un-civilized." should be a bumper sticker.

terlee said...

I had two fairly bizarre confrontations myself the week before Christmas, both times with grown women, so callow youth is no excuse for their behavior. It's very unsettling, to say nothing of how much mental time I wasted stewing about both situations afterward.

Good for you--even if you were shaking--in standing up for yourself. That teenager is no doubt still standing at the counter with her mouth hanging open as she tries to work out what uncivilized means.

Hilary said...

Yay for you. You just made it easier for the next person that she tries to bully. She'll think twice.. hopefully. Bullies hate losing confrontations.. it exposes them as cowards. Good for you.

ellen abbott said...

I'll chime into the chorus...good for you. And for taking the high road while you did it. Bullies should never be given into. And that's what you do, refuse to give in and then just ignore them.

Sarah said...

Way to go!

I bet that like many bullies, she was so nonplussed that someone actually stood up to her & didn't back down from her intimidation that she didn't know what to do when you refused to move aside meekly.

and I really hope the next person in line gained some courage from your display & refused to let her in either.

jenny_o said...

You're braver than I am, Pearl, by far. I really hope the fact that she didn't assault you means there was some spark of enlightenment flickering - no matter how dim - in her thick skull, put there by your comment. And yes, it likely did help the next person have the gumption to do likewise.

The Elephant's Child said...

Joining the team in saying 'Well done'. And sadly there is a lot of uncivilised behaviour here too. Interesting to hear that someone else shakes during/after confrontation. I hate it (the shaking I mean).

Symdaddy said...

Good for you shorty!

'couse I would have walloped you around the back of the head with chunk of beef if you'd stood up to me like that!

SparkleFarkle said...

Our mannerless, nobody's-got-your-back society sucks, doesn't it? But, more importantly, how was the beef pop?

ThreeOldKeys said...

I know the pursed-lip disapproval face you mentioned. I'm a midwest girl too, and The Look was enough, where I grew up.

I was in very long line behind 2 wild little guys saving their mother's place while she shopped, nowhere in sight. It was a book-store closing sale and the place was mobbed. The Look did not phase them, and it didn't phase Mom either, when she finally returned after 25 minutes.

So I confronted her ... I let her know the boys had been opening and handling merchandise ... climbing displays ... bumping people ... plus they could have been snatched away out the front door.

She did not say a word to me ... she pursed her lips and gave me her own Look.

Was I justified? Yeah. Did she learn anything from it? Doubtful. Did the kids get wrathful treatment later ...? I hope not.

sigh.

Cal's Canadian Cave of Coolness said...

She might have had the pounds on you but you have yoga which makes you a wirey python. Just get her in the leg scissors and squeeze till she pops.

Douglas said...

You do know you were the subject of subsequent conversations with her friends an family? You would be that "rude b*tch who got in the way of her food!"

Proud of you, Pearlie, truly proud!

Leenie said...

You dazzled her with your brilliance, AND baffled her with bull---without even causing a scene. My hero! Hope that appetite returns. This is the wrong time of year to be off your feed.

NYEMT said...

A truly irritated Minnesotan would've beaned her with a Tupperware of lutefisk. But you didn't do half badly, considering what you had to work with. Way to stick up for the quiet and not-entirely-cool. On behalf of nerds everywhere, I salute you. :)

Gary Baker said...

Woot! Woot! wtg Pearl! I'd be there fending off yobbish youths for you but my Wonder Woman outfit is in the wash.

Lolamouse said...

Bravo girl! Although I seriously doubt the neanderthalette was enlightened, you did not succumb to her thuggery. Golf claps all around!

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

I'll join. Way to go, and Brava! You had me at "That just makes it so much more interesting, doesn't it?" The typical bully is gonna be caught totally off-guard by that. It's not a threat, but it's a challenge and just for a moment they have to think about it. You were ready to take advantage of that hesitation. Woo-hoo!

Eva Gallant said...

That Pearl--she sure has balls!!!

vanilla said...

I like confrontation much in the same way you say you like it. Spouse says I am a "wuss" whatever that is.

However, I am in awe and admiration of you for the manner in which you handled this situation. Oh, if only people were merely civil.

Ms Sparrow said...

As a fellow Minnesotan, I must heap high praise on you for your chutzpah!
I once saw a vendor tell a line-crasher that she could be next if every single person in line agreed. Now that's the way it should be handled!

Camille said...

Good for you Pearly Girl. We Yankees also hate confrontation and will endure untold amounts of verbal abuse. However, quite unlike Minnesotans, we will then quietly slip out the side door and with pleasure - deflate your brand new snow tires. I don't like hearing you have no appetite. Hope it's nuthin' serious.

bill lisleman said...

I'm thinking of the scene in "A Christmas Story" where he takes on the bully. Smart getting the next in-line involved.
I have seen more rudeness out there in the street jungles.

Jerry said...

You have my vote for Civility Madam. More of us should take your stance.

Sioux said...

Way to go, Pearl! But DO look over your shoulder. There is an overweight girl lurking behind you.

When she hits you (with her fist...with her floppy breast...with her beef kabob) you can twist yourself into some pretzel-like yoga position and play dead.

Amber Star said...

Your encounter with that "precious" young woman is typical of how so many act now. They speak loudly and adopt a menacing posture toward you, in their attempt to intimidate you. I'm glad you didn't let her get to you, and am glad you didn't suffer any consequences afterward. You won that one, Kemosabie.

Amber Star said...

I,too have had a bellyful of rude behavior that is just rampant these days! Sheesh! The rudeness knows no bounds. The First Lady of this land was booed at a NASCAR race a month ago. I found that so heinously appaling I couldn't speak for a while. I wonder what would have happened if Nancy Reagan had been booed by anyone.

Putting my little tiny soapbox up for a while. Thank you for allowing my freedom of speech tonight.

Rene Foran said...

So...how was the kebab?

danneromero said...

sometimes i just hate people!

David L Macaulay said...

way to go Pearl - having an aversion to confrontation myself I would have probably done nothing and be consumed in self loating for the next 20 years

HermanTurnip said...

Saying it louder and slower does not make it true. Good on you for standing your ground. It makes me wonder why people put up with rude behavior. It's like that time some jerk was talking in the theater and I said, "Can you be quiet?". Guy got up and shouted, "Who said that?!" I stood up (mind you, I lift weights) and said, "Me." Guy immediately sat down and didn't say a peep afterwards. I was expecting him to follow me out to the parking lot, but no dice. Makes me feel good just thinking about this...and I'm not the bravest person I know.

Cloudia said...

you are my hero, Pearl.

My foolish foolish hero!

Glad your angel hovered close-


Ambivalent
Aloha from Waikiki
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W.C.Camp said...

WOW you inspire me!! That was an awesome post. DON'T do that in a park or alley but I admire the fact that you stood up for your rights in a public place. If only the clerks would back fairness up and not serve those who cheat, it could all be solved instantly. Big smile here - GREAT JOB!! W.C.C.

Argent said...

Good for you! I had a confrontation with 2 teenage boys. It was 15 years ago but it still makes me shudder to think about it. We do need to stand up to these yahoos though.

Joe Pereira said...

Nice one Pearl. If only everyone would stand up against low-lives!

River said...

Well done Pearl! You picked a good place to be confrontational, the whole long line would have been behind you!
I don't like confrontation myself, but I've become a little more assertive in the last few years.

Crystal Pistol said...

ha! Where I come from that blow to the back of the head would surely have come immediately after the ordering of your meat on a stick. Luckily this teen is from MN and more than likely pursed her lips at the back of your head. :)

Lively post. You should have confrontations more often. :)

the walking man said...

So you're saying that the pregnant sheriff in FARGO was pretty close to how you guys handle stuff?

Here the first words out of my wife's mouth would have been, "hey bitch the line is behind me." Then depending on the response it could have gone from the miscreant assuming her rightful place at the end of the line or a gunshot anything in between.

Me, I would just have walked past her fat ass not around it and placed my order, then she is the next person in lines problem (unless she wants to make herself my or my wife's problem which is OK too). That's what passes for respect and disrespect in Detroit, if you don't take your respect you get given the disrespect.

Civility and manners are a dying art form that never got taught to a population now packing heat and nervous as hell about everything.

Pat said...

Good for you!
Queues were a religion over here in wartime and it still is for me so if any smart alec chav ignores my presence I use my voice which can be much more impressive than my old lady persona. It can be fun!

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

Atta girl! We grown ups need to teach those kids to respect the rules of civilization AND their elders. I used to be terrified of confronting teenagers until I taught high school and ever since, I just use my Teacher Voice and Stare to great effect. People who don't work with teenagers are ALWAYS very impressed at my courage, but the truth is, teenagers are more scared of us than we are of them.

Gigi said...

The lack of civility today pains me. It seems to be epidemic - doesn't it?

Suldog said...

Brava! If more people would take the sort of stand you did, the world would be a much nicer place overall. Thank you!

Steadfast Ahoy! said...

"Evil flourishes when good people do nothing." You've made a dent in the evil progression in your town. Hurrah for you, Pearl.
Rosemary

Craver Vii said...

Ooh, that's scary. I'm glad you came out of it okay.