Tuesday, April 14, 2009

rudeness (or a bad mood, or simply misguided jocularity) has no borders

Up North:

Cashier finishes bagging items and hands them to shopper, with a curt send-off of "Have a day."

Flabbergasted. "Excuse me?"

"Have a day."

On the bright side, at least she didn't wish me to NOT have a day. That might be bad.

Down South:

Eating lunch at the local gas station/gift shop/eatery place. A man who looks about 80 and speaks as if he is a widower is sitting at a table kitty-corner to us. He asks random questions about my 2-year-old and I oblige him with answers, even though I am struggling to get her to eat and keep the food off the floor.

By the end of the meal, after straightening up the drop zone around the high chair as best I can, I politely tell the man to "Have a nice day."

"Don't tell me what kind of a day to have! I'll have whatever kind of day I want to!"

Stunned silence. Ummmm...this is awkward. My husband looks at me out of the corner of his eye. He knows how uncomfortable these situations make me. I mean, what the hell, we're in Tennessee for crying out loud! Old men aren't supposed to say stuff like that! They're supposed to call me "girl," if anything, but not rebuke my attempts to be respectful.

The man smiles. "You weren't expecting me to say that now, were you?"

All of this North/South business confuses me sometimes, especially when I realize that I have actually made some friends here. But the one thing I am sure of is that borders do not define the essential humanity in us. We all have our "moments"--we just express them differently.


troutbirder said...

Good point!

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