I had a few items that were not delivered by Instacart, Tuesday afternoon, so I grabbed No. 17 for the half-mile trip to Town & Country to visit Trader Joe’s and Kroger.
I would rather clean public restrooms than step foot inside Kroger, or most other stores. Today was a reminder of why I loathe shopping and manuevering amid the hoards of humanity in such situations.
STAY TO THE RIGHT
As a child, “stay to the right” was pounded into my brain. Mother oft reminded me with a story of how critical staying to the right was when walking up the stairs or through the hallways at Wendell L. Willkie High School that would later become Elwood Junior High School before I arrived on that particular campus. At our 1894-built Washington Elementary School with the wide GONE WITH THE WINDesque marble staircase that split off at the main landing was my first experience of staying to the right.
I stressed this to my sons and on our hikes through the various local hiking trails they often heard my “to the right” as we approached oncoming fellow hikers.
Today’s Kroger visit was frustrating and several times, exasperating. Applying “stay to the right” was completely nowhere in the process for most folk’s shopping adventures. I did note that those around my age, and older, followed this practice. Perhaps “staying to the right” is a generational practice.
The practice of “goodwill toward fellow man,” I am convinced, is not a part of the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday preparation. The day before a holiday I do expect busyness; I do not expect, nor accept sheer rudeness. When needing to pass in front of someone studying items from across the aisle, I was raised to say, “pardon/excuse me.” Several times, this morning, each of my “pardon me” was met with huffs or grumbles. How sad.
The parking lot was not much better.
As I stood waiting for the crosswalk to clear of cars where some obviously under 50er folks used the safety space to load their groceries when a car was driven to the curb, a gentleman pushing a short-cart hit a drain and he partially fell over the flipped cart. Fortunately, the man was not injured, just embarrassed. The driver of a car directly in front of me was trying to get around one of the cars being loaded with groceries just as the gentleman’s cart mishap occurred. The 20-something-year-old lady threw up her arms and shouted, “this is fucking great!” She then placed her elbow on her window sill, forcing her head against her clenched fist. After a few seconds of waiting, she turned her head and caught me staring at her, shaking my head. I could see her physical demeanor melt into an embarrassed fold.
While fellow shoppers hurried to assist the man, the lady loading her groceries left her cart right there at the curb, got in, and her husband tapped on his horn to clear those assisting the man so he could get through.
The hatefulness I observed during the moment kicked me in the gut.
I have read comments of others on various social media posts claiming these behaviors began with the past quarantine. Oh, no! These behaviors have been around us for a long time. I do believe too much is blamed on the quarantine to escape personal responsibility and abandon appropriate behavior.
Stay to the right.
Use your damned turn signals.
And let’s get the world back on track so that we no longer need masks because I hate not sharing my smile, another strong instruction by Mother, with others.
Make it a great day!