Wednesday, April 9, 2008

(In) Sincere Pleasantries

One of the things that I really appreciate about growing up in Alabama is an ability to exchange pleasantries with people. For some reason, this skill is just not practiced in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. I don't care whether it's insincere or not, it's just nice to ask people "How are you?" or if that's too much, how about just a "hi." This has bothered me for a long time here. You would think I would get used to it after 15 years, but it's still hard to stomach. For a while, I made a practice of saying to people things that I thought they should be saying to me. So, at the drycleaners where they employ ONLY unfriendly teenagers, when it was my turn to get up to the counter, I would say "Hi there, welcome to Zips, what's your phone number please?" and then I would pleasantly recite my phone number. After they wordlessly put my clothes on the hook and then turn away, I would sing out "Thanks for coming to Zips. Have a great day." and then "Thank you, hope you have a good day too." I would also do this with one of my WEIRDO neighbors who NEVER speaks to us. And he only lives 2 houses down. If we're outside and he walks by, I wait right until he is just barely past us and sing out so loudly, "Hi there, how are you today?" Would it KILL the man to just say hello? We've lived with one house inbetween us for THREE years!!!

I took Ruthie to Giant today to get a couple random things. Some of the random things I got were straight Gerber fast flow nipples, because that is one of the many suggestions I've received about how to encourage Ruthie to drink her iron laced apple juice out of a bottle.

I was waiting in line and loading my things on the belt. I got up to the cashier, who said nothing to me. I said hello, asked how he was. He mumbled. I didn't have a cart because Ruthie was asleep in her stroller and he seemed quite confused as to where to put the bags of groceries as they became full, but he never asked me. I suggested he just leave them on the counter and I could pick them all up at the end. He never once said anything pleasant, and I'm sure he was tired, near the end of the shift, blah, blah, blah.

On my way out of the store I knocked over a display of butane lighters. As I watched it tip and start falling, I lunged (while holding 3 grocery bags and a 12 pack of diet coke) and missed. It fell to the floor and as I struggled to lean over and pick it up (while continuously moving Ruthie's stroller because she was napping) the young man offered to pick it up for me. As I straightened up, I catched a glimpse of another person working there who I think is an assistant front end or customer service manager, and she. rolled. her. eyes. I had had just about enough. So I walked up to her and said, "It seems like you are pretty annoyed that I knocked over that display" to which she responded, "No, I just wanted to make sure he was going to pick it up." Whatever.

So now I was pissed. I got back to our car and couldn't get Ruthie's car seat in the door because a big honkin' Chevy Tahoe was parked next to us and PARKED OVER THE LINE. It's important to note that a mere 15 feet away, there were several empty spaces. I had to take Ruthie's car seat around to the other side and try to hoist it over Esther's car seat and which point she, of course, woke up. One of my new favorite bloggers wrote recently about her own frustrations in a parking lot. I commented that I often dreamt about making up fake "tickets" and leaving them on people's cars. So today, I did.

Cue Mission Impossible music here.
I got Ruthie in the car.
I looked in their windows to see if anyone was sleeping in there.
I got in my car and found paper and a pen.
I wrote a note consisting of LOTS of curse words, that basically said that you parked too close, I had no choice but to bang the heck out of your car when I opened the door (I really didn't even bang their door, because that would be rude, and I am NOT rude), perhaps next time if you park your extremely large car a little bit further away where there are more empty spaces this won't happen to you and you might actually get some exercise in the process.
I started my car.
I backed out of the parking spot.
I looked around - nobody there.
I positioned my door right next to the space next to their driver's door.
I looked around - nobody there.
I hopped out, smacked the note on their windshield under the wiper, RAN back to my car, jumped in and took off.
I went to the other side of the parking lot and put on my seat belt, open a diet coke and then left.

I know it was stupid and a little bit dangerous, but I just had to. And while I feel kind of bad that my note may have set off the domino effect of bad karma, it felt kind of good to be mean. It was most definitely NOT a sincere pleasantry.


The Lowe said...

You might like this website. Free downloadable notes to put on cars:

Sarah said...

Don't put notes on peoples, cars! You could get shot! Although, I like the note idea...
I think one of your greatest qualities is to, literally, "Kill them with kindess". Remember that huge Bi*** at the JCP portrait studio when we got our pics taken for mom and dad (we had no kids then). that woman was a nightmare, but you were persistent. And in the end, the lady asked if she could hang our picture in their portrait studio for display.....Keep that story in mind

Thrift Store Mama said...

I won't get shot if I make sure they aren't around. I LIKE putting notes on cars!!!

Sue said...

Ha, ha! That is great! I got the eyeroll the other day at Starbucks when I dropped a drink as I was holding one kid and keeping track of 2 others (plus purse, keys and chocolate milks). I just eyerolled her right back.

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