Thursday, April 21, 2005

Mi Vida Loca

On Today's Menu:
Hot Tamales, With Extra Salsa on the Side

Most people who know me, I hope, will characterize me as a pretty laid-back person. I don't generally get road rage. I can wait in lines. I don't howl at a red light.

But today, I think, I'm ready for a rant about rude old men. Really. It all started when I was actually in a hurry, on one of my work breaks, and driving Mom's Taxi. Somehow I had to fit in a trip by the grocery store for three things. Three--troi-tres measly items that we couldn't do without until the weekend. In the comedy of errors that was my afternoon, I decided to breeze in and out of our local HEB store with Zach. Ha. Some breeze. We were definitely in the doldrums, no sail, no outboard motor. The metaphor ends here.

Everyone in town had decided to go by the store just before 4:00 p.m. The lines stretched wayyy back down the aisles. Seems everyone in town wanted to buy ten items or less, too. I found myself standing next to the root beer and Mountain Dew.

Then, I saw him. He had gray hair with a Donald Trump comb-over and plastic framed glasses. He stood there, clutching his gallon of milk and other stuff, and seemed oblivious to the world except for the guy in front of him holding French bread and a tub of ice cream. Rrright. He had no clue the line continued down the aisle to his right. I supposed he'd lost all peripheral vision. He proved to be a sly old coot, and a rude one. The line moved forward, and Mr. Combover slid into the respectful line break ahead of us and behind French bread dude. I could feel the air crackle behind me; another shopper had played by the rules and gotten in line behind where he was supposed to.

I looked at Zach. "Did you see that guy? He just cut us!" I had a flashback to high school lunchroom. Ick. I bit my lip. Coming off the PMS would not have caused Christian, kind, uplifting, positive things to come from my mouth. Even my tone would have been bristly, though the words themselves would have been benign. So I gagged myself.

Then the sign over aisle 9 lit up. Whooee! Another man dashed to the aisle. That's okay. I was on my way, and I had a CART. Move over, basket-toters!

Mr. Combover, Mr. Oblivious to the World flew in front of me so quickly I nearly turned him into a speed bump. For a millisecond, I wanted to. Don't let those old guys fool you. They can move when they want to. On any other day, he probably complains about his back or knees or whatever in his body is degenerating, but not today. I ended up staying where I was. Now I was the one behind French bread dude after the mass migration.

Did I mention I also was in the line with the slowest cashier in the store? The other lines moved faster because they were really moving faster. I told myself never to get in Billy's line again. I don't care that he wears an earring. I did care that he moved slower than--well, you fill in the blank for something that moves like a glacier.

Mr. Combover left the store, and I believe I actually heard a sniff of triumph before the sliding doors whooshed open.

I could probably actually write a Psalm, about wicked old men who push their way in line and cut off nice young(ish) moms who are only trying to get out of the store so they can go get the one kid left at school and who's now probably wondering where Mom is by this time and so she can get home and work for another hour. Yes, the run-on is intentional.

One of the things I love about the Psalms is David's--and other writers'--frank emotions. I wasn't calling down fire from Heaven on some older man with a bad hairdo. But I can understand the psalmist's frustration, aggravation, despair, the questioning in his words. Our emotions are timeless, whether our enemies bear swords or come in the form of a man wrapped up in his own little world.

Now that I've allowed my rant, I understand the peace the psalmist felt, after recognizing in the big picture, God's got it all under control. I can vent and (hopefully) not let my anger infect me and spread to others, and I can acknowledge His place in the craziness. I'm not sure if I ever see Mr. Combover again that I'll offer him a place in line ahead of me. But I'll be able to smile at him and mean it. He's taught me I can find a Psalm in the grocery store.


Dineen A. Miller said...

Oh, Lynette! You're a better person than I. Don't know if I could have stayed gagged. The smoke coming out of my ears would have set off the alarms! Thanks for sharing. :-)

Camy Tang said...

You go girl! It doesn't take you very long to decompress, huh? I'd still be fuming. I like your reference to the Psalms, I feel the same way about them. I read them a lot when I had a tough time at work.


Rachel Hauck said...

I can so relate. I however rant and rage regularly... to my steering wheel, but nonetheless. :)

But yes, it's so great to know David found his strength in the Lord. Rachel

Robin Bayne said...

I can relate!! My dh and I have a gift for getting in the wrong line in any store! We warn other customers not to get behind us because we just kill any line movement!! LOL (((HUGS)))on your experience. And I guess we have to figure his comb-over is punishment enough.