Tuesday, September 3, 2013


I don’t know what came over me. I could blame it on my red hair, but now my natural color is gray—no blonde roots here.  Maybe Target's to blame for expecting all of us to stand patiently, three carts deep, in two open checkout lines. I’d be happy to blame it on the guy in front of me who made sure he got into the shorter line before I did, but he must have already had a rough day.
Poor baby.
He had three items in his hand. I had about twenty in my cart. Impatiently he kept his options open, standing back from the woman in front of him just far enough so he could sprint to the next checkout counter if the Target gods deemed to open one.

They did. I was invited first. Boy was he ticked off.
But I didn’t know he was upset until all my purchases were bagged and in the cart. I saw him and the barbed wire tattoo he flaunted on his arm, leaning against the wall, with his stuff all paid for as I began to walk away.  "Good for him, that guy got done already," I thought. Then I heard him behind me as I headed for the door.
“Yeah, it happened to me again,” he said to the invisible comforter on his cell phone.  “They opened up a line next to me and some lady behind me jumped into it before I could get there.”
Hmm, I thought, there was a guy in front of me with a tattoo on his arm who seemed really impatient, and I am a lady who was behind him when a clerk motioned me over to the next line—I’ll bet I’m the lady!
All my red hair turned redder.
“People are so selfish these days,” he continued loudly on a call I now realized was directed at me and probably not even connected. “People used to offer their place in line to someone with only three items, but not this lady. I don’t know what this world is coming to,” he complained closely in my ear. 
I stopped and let him pass.
“Really?” I spoke to his back.  “The man motioned me over.  You’re ridiculous.”
All the way out the door, his voice growing louder and louder while he courageously put me in my place on his cell phone, he assaulted my reputation and demeaned my existence.  He probably wasn’t too impressed with the dog food in my cart, either. Finally he “hung up” as we both cleared the automatic doors and I commented on his comments. Loudly. In his direction.
See? Red hair is a curse.
“The world used to be full of gentlemen, too,” I said in the wind which was blowing northwest toward his self-righteous back. Then I headed for my truck. The big giant one with the personalized plates that psychos might be able to somehow look up so they can begin stalking your house. 
“What did you say to me?”  he shouted across the parking lot.  “You only think of yourself, don’t you?” he shouted again, heading now towards me. I missed the rest of his genius monologue because of that northwest breeze that blew his words back at him. But I still began to pray in tongues that God would surround my truck with images of gorillas. I heard stalkers are afraid of gorillas.
Something stopped him as I began loading bags into my truck, and he cut short his attack. I never spoke to him again or looked his direction. But after I pulled out of the parking lot and came to a stop at the next light, I saw a small black car behind me whose driver had the attitude of someone who’d had to stay put in a checkout line.
We both pulled through the light and then he quickly pulled in front of me, slammed on his brakes, and as I moved into the left lane, he swung widely in front of me, stopping abruptly again before turning right and roaring off to nurse his wounds.
Boy. He sure showed me.

If I'd known how hurt the little guy would be by letting a woman go first, I'd have probably done the same thing again.  Even bullies could use some manners. The world is in dire need of a few more gentlemen. And if there really was someone on the other end of that cell phone, I pity them.  There's obviously only one adult in that marriage.

Fine.  I guess red really is my natural hair color.

Red hair courtesy of Michael W. May's photostream at


  1. Hmmm.. I'm no red head, but the way my blood is boiling right now, it is probably a good thing I wasn't there with you. I can't decide what I find more pathetic, though. The thought that he was SO miffed by your blatant disregard for his express checkout needs that he needed to call someone ASAP and tell them, or that he staged a phone call to "teach you a lesson." They say bullies come in all shapes and sizes, but I've only ever seen one: cowardly.
    I'm glad you said a few things to him. Had I been there I feel any of my options spoken would have been less than uplifting, and probably called into question his gender, intelligence, upbringing, and heritage.

    1. By the time I got home, I was calling a few things belonging to him into question. It would be unladylike for me to expound, however. I probably shouldn't have said anything to him, for all the good it did, but I felt like sticking up for myself. I'm not sure the blood pressure spike I had afterwards was worth it, but since I had one before saying anything, I guess it was a draw. ;) Thanks!