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?
Five in Five: Tuesday, January 23
7 hours ago