Getting Back at the Man

9 06 2009

So many funny and eventful things have happened that I haven’t blogged about. I know better than to make more promises about blog frequency, so instead I’m just writing one blog post with no promises attached. Here you go. Enjoy.

I had waited almost 15 minutes in an extremely long line at Albertson’s grocery store. A cashier came along and opened the lane right next to me, offering to help the next person in line.

When this happens, common courtesy dictates that if you hop in the new line, you stay in the same order in which you already were in the other lane. If you’re at the back of the line, it’s impolite to rush to be the first in the new line, cutting ahead of people who have been waiting longer than you have.

And that’s exactly what happened. I was the “next person in line” that the new cashier offered to help, but as I started moving toward her lane, a man from the back of the line literally pushed his way past me and plopped his groceries on the counter. It was so ridiculous that, unbelievable though it may sound, I was temporarily at a loss for words.

I found my tongue quickly enough, and my voice came out louder than I intended. I try to be gracious, but I also live in the real world, and in the real world I have a particularly low tolerance for rudeness. I can deal with ignorance, stupidity, or cluelessness all day long. But if you’re intentionally rude to me or someone else, you had better believe I will call you out on the carpet.

“Don’t you think you should let people who were here before you go first, buddy?” I said to the entire store.

It is at this point in the story that I must point out that this man was Navajo. I try not to make a big issue out of race, but his response to me can only make correct sense in that context. And what he said totally floored me.

He turned to me and declared to everyone within earshot, “My people don’t answer to you anymore.”

This time I didn’t find my tongue again. I pride myself on having a comeback for just about everything (in elementary school, I was the younger, picked-on kid which resulted in a sharp wit by the time I reached adulthood — a worthwhile tradeoff, I’ve decided) but I had nothing to say back to He Who Cuts In Line. There is nothing in my deck of responses that tops the Persecuted Indian trump card.

All I could do was laugh. And I wasn’t even laughing at him, I was laughing at the fact that I got beat by an Indian in a verbal conflict and I knew it.

What’s funny is that, with his response, the wave of irritation that had flared up so quickly inside of me dissipated just as fast. I have come to realize that I will let people get away with a lot of crap if they can make me laugh, and I mean really laugh, not a polite, “that-wasn’t-funny-but-I-don’t-want-to-hurt-your-feelings” laugh.

He Who Cuts In Line cracked me up with his audacious response, which in all fairness, I should point out is so horribly nontypical of my overall experience with Native Americans. Most are very polite, well-mannered people. But for this nontypical guy, I stepped aside and waited my turn to check out.

If getting to cut in line at the grocery store makes him feel like he’s able to get back at the man a little bit, more power to him. It’s a hell of a one-liner, you have to admit.

I wonder how many people he’s used it on.

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6 responses

9 06 2009
Jennifer Brindley

Awesome, just awesome. Glad to see you’re back – I’ve missed your writing.

9 06 2009
Mom2

That’s hysterical! Glad to read something posted by you again. I know what you mean about not promising blog frequency….*sigh*

10 06 2009
Mom2

btw – love the man’s name ;-D

11 06 2009
Granny

I’m with Mom2 – so glad to read something posted by you again. Although you had already told us the story of the uppity guy in line or I should say the uppity guy who cut in front of you, I loved hearing it again in more detail. Keep posting!!! Funny things happen to you. Just don’t be under somebody’s puppet!!!

14 06 2009
pennepasta

Rob, you’re a word master.

Wonder if the Sanchez/Minority Card could have trumped the Persecuted Indian Card? I’m not sure how you would have worked it into the conversation, though.

21 06 2009
Sharon

Know what? He was still rude. I’d have told him I was a Haitian lesbian with a handicapped sticker and asked if he’d like to compare victim status.

After that I would’ve had to do some praying, but you know my point.

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