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Thank You For Your Assistance

February 20, 2012

Buddha and meditator

Yesterday, at the supermarket, I ran into a real jerk. Or I should say, he almost ran into me and would have if I hadn’t jumped out of the way of his cart as I yelped, ever my mother’s daughter “Excuse me!”

He didn’t care if I was there. He was going to push his damned cart down the damned aisle, and if another human’s body got in his way, it was their own damned fault.

When I had most of my groceries unloaded onto the belt, no one was yet behind me in line, so I paused to try to unpeel one of those tiny demonic “SAVE $1.00 NOW” coupons plastered to the front of a product.

Suddenly I heard groceries slamming onto the belt as he muttered to himself. The same jerk. And now he was mad I was impeding his grocery-unloading process.

“Oh, excuse me!” I said again, scrambling to move myself and my groceries out of the way. My cart was behind me, and he actually shoved it toward me. “PARDON ME!” I yelled, this time, thinking perhaps he was just too deaf to hear me the first time.

I was mad by then but tried to take the tack of grinning madly, because I often find the the best way to drive jerks crazy is to act like you think their stupid jerk schtick is a joke.

But then it became a joke. I really started smiling, remembering that I was blessed that I had the ability to change my attitude and not act like this guy. I vowed right then and there to make things different for the rest of the day.

And guess what? Things switched immediately. Shireen, the cashier, was busy getting yelled at by some guy who didn’t like his Starbucks order. I waited patiently and gave her a sympathetic smile and said “Bad coffee?” and she spilled her guts to me about how she’s the lead and has to do everything, even manage the Starbucks workers and complaints, while she checks groceries.

I looked her in the eyes and said “We always have to do more with less. I want to have a day where we do more with more.” and she looked deep into my eyes and said “You’re a smart woman” and we had a moment of appreciating each other, me for her being such a hard worker and her for me being understanding, and then we told each other to have a good day.

The rest of the day was like that, too. Everywhere I went, everyone I met, I made sure to look in the eyes and thank and laugh with a little if I had the chance. I ended up talking brussels sprouts with a farmer in Ojai and hospital treatment with a little lady in Simi Valley and concerts with Ish.

So, thanks, Mr. Jerky Man. You and your pushy shopping cart pushed me into a better day. I hope getting 6 inches further ahead in line by shoving my cart made that happen for you, too. Really.

  1. February 20, 2012 14:08

    I’ve stayed in my house all day because I fear that I will be that crappy jerkface to any other human. and because I fell asleep and slept through my class. I absolutely love this post, and the reminder that we “always have to do more with less”

    tomorrow, I strive to give others the ‘More’

    thanks Suebob.

    • February 23, 2012 07:48

      I know! Sometimes there are those out-of-control brain chemistry days where I want to have huge tantrums and I feel like I shouldn’t even attempt to deal with other people because DANGER! DANGER! DANGER!

  2. February 20, 2012 23:11

    you know, my first thought was to wonder if he was a real jerk before you ran over him or after.

    i don’t say “excuse me?” when it’s their fault. i say “excuse YOU.” and last time i encountered someone who did the same thing, i shoved my cart back at him hard and then told him to go be a dick somewhere else, since he had too many groceries to be in this lane anyway. but you are calmer, and probably wiser than i, and probably less prone to consider bar brawls as entertainment.

    glad the rest of your day went well. i wish he could know – that’d probably p*ss him off even more. win!

    • February 23, 2012 07:47

      He was a really old dude. Reminded me of my dad, who had a cranky jerk streak a mile wide. So I would have felt bad shoving my cart over his toes.

  3. February 21, 2012 22:18

    Love your attitude.

    I had an odd encounter with a random angry person last week, and after first worrying what it said about me……I decided to just let it go.

    • February 23, 2012 07:45

      Let it go…let it go…a good mantra in many cases.

  4. February 26, 2012 19:39

    I found this post while I was catching up on my google reader a couple of hours after someone drove onto the wrong side of the road to pass me as I was trying to turn into my own driveway and almost hit my car. I think I probably would have spend more time being mad, appalled, and judgmental about it without this, and honestly what good would that have done me? So thanks, Suebob, it was the magic of perspective at just the right time.

    • March 3, 2012 21:36

      Well, thank you, Skye. Glad to contribute to a better day.

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