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.
“EXCUSE ME! YOU’RE BLOCKING THE AISLE.”
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.