Thinking, grace, and other annoying crap

I’ve been completely out of commission since Tuesday night. I started off feeling nauseated and ended with a trip to the ER a couple days later. I still don’t feel great. I’ve been swallowing old anti-nausea meds and TUMS like candy, but at least I’m sorta kinda back to solid foods. Having the sniffles really sucks.
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“When it’s stomach stuff, you just say ‘under the weather’ or people start picturing you doing unspeakable things.”
(Note: must get GIF maker so I can use the exact scenes I’m thinking of. Why doesn’t the Internet anticipate me?)

So last night, with a giant Sprite in hand, Mike and I stood in line at the store to get my Christmas present: an upgraded phone. Naturally, because I felt like crap, the upgrade counter was understaffed, one staff member was having trouble porting someone else’s phone, and there was someone else in front of us in line. Someone in front of us in line shouldn’t have been that big of a deal, but of course she had brought along her big ole bag of crazy. She would only deal with one salesperson. She had a laundry list of questions for the sales associate who was managing the the queue because she, evidently, had never heard of her owner’s manual or the Internet. It was like she was having phone therapy. I went from being amused to wanting to throat punch her as she took up valuable time asking inane questions. She took her sweet time picking out a case for a newly acquired phone. The sales associate, with a look of slowly dying and desperation in his eyes, quietly asked the associate who was helping us to help with a data transfer. There was a condition, though. The customer had requested that he not get any fingerprints on her shiny, reflective, chrome phone. Naturally, our associate laughed, asked if this was a serious request and threatened to kick the phone down her throat, while the other associate pleaded with him to be cool.

In the meantime, we had my phone set up, traded in my old phone, and rang out the sale. Phone woman was still there, standing off to the side, reading through papers with a look that I recognized. You’re looking at the papers, but you’re not really reading. Nothing is being absorbed, but you want everyone to think that you’re reading it through like the intelligent, well-informed person that you are. By that time, pretty much everyone was aware of phone woman and was laughing and rolling their eyes at her. I’m sure she knew everyone was laughing at her.

In that moment, I began to feel sorry for her. I looked at the woman whose hair was messily pulled back and yoga pants barely hung on to her tiny butt and I wondered. She looked melancholy. With no ring on her finger, perhaps she was unmarried. (And no, I’m not suggesting that one needs to be married in order to be happy.) I started to wonder. I wondered if perhaps, at this time of year when togetherness with family and loved ones is so important, she was alone. Maybe the sales associate for whom she was waiting is the most stable thing in her life. Could the conversation about keeping fingerprints off of her phone have been the most interaction she’s had in awhile? I started to humanize her, to think about her background, to let her off the hook a little for being such an annoying person. I was no longer able to reduce her to her behaviors and laugh away her existence.

And THAT is annoying as shit.

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4 thoughts on “Thinking, grace, and other annoying crap

  1. How old was she? I feel like I’m in a foreign country in a phone store! There was a time when you didn’t even worry about getting a new phone. Phones were used forever, were indestructible even with a child in the family who liked to bang on things. They never needed a repair or update or charging, and you didn’t even own the phone so if it needed fixing, I guess it was replaced….most people never needed that kind of help. Someone calling you paid the price for talking to you long distance, and it was a treat to talk to someone far away. And you always knew where your phone was! A simpler time in some ways.

    Enjoy the new phone that you earned.

    • She looked to be about Mike’s and my age. My frustration wasn’t that she seemed to have genuine confusion and questions so much as she just came up with questions so she had something to talk about.

  2. Julie, as if any more evidence were needed, this is proof that you are such a kind, compassionate, and empathetic person. I wish there were more like you, but it just shows how lucky I am to know you.

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