Disappointment in the Express Lane


For an “Express” lane at the grocery store, things weren’t moving very fast.


I’d scanned all the tabloid headlines, noted the new flavors of gum, and was now officially bored.


I looked behind me, and caught the eye of an elderly woman.


She smiled up, shyly.  Stooped over, a reminder to stand up straight.  Yellow knitted cardigan peeking out from under a sturdy wool coat.  White hair recently permed, the demarcation lines still showing where the rollers had sat.  Her stockings were brown, opaque, bunched at her ankles.  She wasn’t really shopping.  Just stood there, as if waiting for someone to tell her where to go next.


I smiled back.  I hoped she would get through her shopping.  I hoped she had a ride home.  I hoped she had someone there, who cared about her, to help her put her purchases onto the pantry shelves.


A man came up behind her.  An Asian man, and his young son.


“Excuse me.”  He gestured toward her cart, which was completely blocking off the end of the aisle.


She didn’t move.


He tried again, louder.




Oh god, please don’t yell at her, she’s someone’s grandma, she’s old and she probably can’t hear, and you’re teaching your son how to treat the elderly, and would it kill you to extend her a lot of kindness and….


Grandma stared at the man, looked him up, looked him down. 


“You know, if you chinks weren’t so pushy, people would be nicer to you.”


You’re on your own, you old bat.

23 responses to “Disappointment in the Express Lane

  1. Ha! I wasn’t expecting that! Reminds me of Gran Torino.

  2. Wow…what a story

  3. LOL, reminds me of my mum. She uses all sorts of inappropriate phrases to describe other nationalities, although she says she isn’t racist cos it is in her own home and she finds it amusing. (This is coming from the biggest ‘mongrel’ I know – half greek, half polish, born in Africa, speaks three languages and has the most hilarious accent ever!)

  4. uh, oh…. where’s my Mom? “Mom? Did you wander off to a foreign grocery store again?”

  5. Ginny my mom says oriental still and it drives me nuts. Rugs are oriental mom, maybe Persian even, people are Asian.

    “Can’t I just say Chinese?”
    “Do you know they hail from China?”
    “Not specifically.”
    “Then it’s just Asian mom, that’ll cover the bases.”

    It is still Asian right? Because if there’s new nomenclature, someone better clue me in.

  6. So easy to gild the old ladies in lace and gold…but they are who they are.

  7. Go Granny go! LOL.

  8. Please tell me – you ran her down in the parking lot, right? Lordy!

  9. I get to overhear many older gents at the health club and, while I’m all for respect for the elderly (until proven otherwise) I have come to the conclusion that just because you are old it doesn’t mean you are interesting.

    Jerry Atric

  10. My grandma continues to use the term “colored” and, when I gently try to bring her up to date, she reminds me of the full name of the NAACP. How do I argue that?

    Bless her heart.

  11. My grandma would have said the same thing, only with the most steely of smiles . . .


  12. LMAO – for some reason I was kinda expecting that. My grandfather used to say crazy shit like that too.

  13. Maria: I haven’t seen Grand Torino. What happens?

    O.G.: The worst part was, I looked around, to see if anyone else heard it. No one did. And then I wondered if I imagined it. But the Asian guy’s face confirmed it.

    GYL: Yikes. That generation seriously doesn’t get it.

    daisyfae: You can pick her up at the “Mel Gibson Senior Citizen De-programming Centre” between the hours of 2 and 6. Bring beer. (For me, not her.)

    formerlyfun: That was my second thought as it was happening. How do you know if he’s Chinese? (And even as I was typing Asian, I got all self-conscious. I can’t keep up.)

    writinggb: I’d say 2 out of 3 old people manage to let me down in that way. I need to stop assuming they’re all fluffy balls of cuddly goodness.

    Kitty: Yup, she was a nutter.

    Xbox: My great-grandmother, on hearing that my mom was pregnant for the 3rd time, said “I don’t care if it’s a boy or a girl, as long as it’s not a monkey.” It took me until adulthood to realize she wasn’t crazy, just racist.

    Kathy: I didn’t, but I can’t speak for the guy she insulted.

    Mark Trail: Or “entitled”. So many old people figure that because they’ve lasted that long, they can do or say any worng-headed thing they like. Having said that, I still default to deference when dealing with the elderly. Just the way I was raised.

    David: Granny’s got a point. And really, “colored” is kind of the lesser of a whole lot of evils. When we were packing up my husband’s grandmother’s things after she died, we came across some pictures of people with their black labrador retriever. The caption, “Henry, Helen and N****r”. They named the dog N****r. And no one batted an eyelash.

    tysdaddy: I’d love to sit down with a bunch of seniors and see what everyone has to say about President Obama.

    Vinomom: It’s funny (but not in a ha-ha way) to think about what was acceptable in the not-too-distant past.

  14. Sometimes there’s a reason old people are alone and pitiful, eh? One of my grandpas ended up that way. It was pathetic. He spent the last month of his life laying in a hospital bed crying and saying, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry.” I have never known why I continued to love him.

  15. i agree w/ formerlyfun on the asian thing. however, my mom who is asian, refers to them as oriental or “oh-ree-EN-tow” so go figure. chink or gook=not cool.

  16. I think my own mom has come to this point in her life , and I know she means no harm. All I can say is “Bless her heart.”

  17. What a frakkin’ whore of a nanny.

    Love it.

  18. mongoliangirl: They’re not as sweet as they’d like you to believe. They just have some very good PR people working for them.

    gina: Yeah, there’s a difference between outdated nomenclature and a racial slur.

    derfina: Wow, what do you think we’ll be saying when we get there? What if my kids are ALREADY thinking “Oh mommy, she’s so crazy, bless her heart!”

    rassles: You just called someone’s grandma a frakkin’ whore. Feel better? (Of course you do. Because that’s how you’re wired. Bless your heart.)

    freeman: Thank you, sir!

    mkh: With the left turn signal on the whole way.

  19. Good lord, it’s like Christmas all over again.

  20. gnomespeak: I’m sorry. But at least it’s over?!?!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s