“Come here!” she said with an accent, but the man with the shopping cart 30 feet away did not budge, and that was a good thing.
If you’ve read my blog story, The Joy In Waiting, you’ll know that I don’t mind waiting. It’s a people-watching adventure for me. As long as it’s not a life-or-death situation, I find amusement in the waiting. Sometimes, however, the waiting takes a fantastical turn when strangeness enters the scene. Such was the case with the come-here lady at the Wal-Mart store.
Picture this: The store was full of people, so the check-out lines were very long, even the self-check-out lines. My husband Michael and I had been waiting in line for quite a while and knew it wouldn’t be much longer since there were just three people in front of us … when suddenly, a 30-something lady placed herself between our cart and the person in front of us. HEY?! I thought. She held a few items in her arms. The rest of her stuff was in a cart with a seemingly older guy who was standing a distance away and was not in a line. She began to yell and motion to him, “Come here! Come over here!” Many eyes were on her in disbelief.
“Do you see her?!” Michael asked me. “Yep, I see her,” I answered as I wondered how to respond to this blatant line-cutter who also wanted to place her man and cart full of food in front of us. It was a jaw-dropping moment, and for others, too, as murmuring in the other lines began. At this point, I decided to become a people-watcher and see how this unexpected wrinkle would add to my waiting adventure. Well, it got better! Here’s how:
A cute little girl about four or five years old was with the man with the cart. She walked up to the lady, tugged at the lady’s clothes, and said something like, “Mommy, Mommy, they were here first …” all the while staring at me with pitiful, innocent, embarrassed little eyes. She eventually left the lady and rejoined the man with the cart.
Michael and I never said a word to the lady, but others did. Customers in line to right of us told her, “Hey! They were there first! You’re cutting the line!” The people in the line to the left of us chimed in, “Hey, what are you doing?!” Talk about a unified front! Folks seeking justice in the check-out line.
What struck me most was the emptiness of the lady, who was devoid of expression, seemed totally unaware of anyone around her, and appeared to be detached. She never looked at anyone, even the little girl. After observing her, I felt positive that something other than nastiness and rudeness was going on with her, something deeper that the man with the cart understood, and why he would not budge. Maybe something the sweet little girl knew all too well.
Surely, some folks are just plain rude and unkind, and maybe that was the case with the come-here lady. Sometimes, though, something is going on beyond what their behavior is displaying. We never know the battles others are facing, and they never know the battles we are facing.
I’m glad I did not go to war with the come-here lady and that her man did not budge from his spot. Choose our battles wisely comes to mind. What would’ve come of a battle? She eventually left our line and went to the end of another where her man with the cart and little girl joined her.
As for me, I continue to find joy in the waiting, and thank God for those who entertain me, unaware adding a prayer for those like the come-here lady.
Photo (Flickr CC) by Polycart