I went to Aldi today to grocery shop for a couple of things. It’s normally like a child-ridden war zone, so I was borderline psychotically happy to walk into a fairly deserted store. There was a distinct lack of traffic in the aisles for once, which was awesome because I was trying to linger a bit to find items that would fill out some meals with items I already had at home.
I came to the end of the first aisle and moved my cart all the way to the side as I usually do to leave room for passers-by. I was looking at sauces and other cooking supplies, wondering if any of them could be of use. I noticed an old woman with a cart nearing me, and moved my cart even further down the aisle to ensure her room to get by me. I continued browsing.
After a while, I realized she was still standing beside me. I assumed she was also browsing because there was an almost Nile-sized opening for her to go around me. I was in my own little world of recipe concocting when she said loudly and unapologetically:
I looked at her wretched old face. She just stared at me with so much hatred and impatience, and even a twinge of entitlement. I laughed out of anger and said “Well, you could just go around me, but I’ll move for you!”
I grabbed some eggs and watched her. She pushed her cart forward without stopping. I was in disbelief; she didn’t even need anything from where I was standing. She didn’t apologize, and neither did her middle-aged children.
Here’s the thing: I get that people are going to be assholes. I understand we’re in a society now where most people focus on themselves and put others last. But I am very conscientious in public settings of how I treat other people, and I had already made sure I was allowing this stranger the room she would need to get her shopping done. I had already decided to be polite, and in return, she was rude as hell just because she didn’t want to steer her shopping cart around mine. Does that not blow anyone else’s mind?
When I went to my car, theirs was beside mine. Her son walked up to me and said “Hey. You look nice today. My name is Tommy, nice to meet you. Have a blessed day.” I shook his hand and said thanks, but wondered if he actually gave a fuck about what his mother had done or if he was just hitting on me because I was wearing yoga pants. I tried to take it as the former, but I was and still am in awe of his mom’s shitty behavior.
Maybe I’m naive to want people to be respectful of one another, but so be it. The other upright animals walking around are humans. They are all living their own lives, and most of those lives could use a little kindness in them. Even if you just open a door or move out of the way, it barely takes 10 seconds to help out. Is it really that hard to be polite in the 21st century?