Civ-il-ity – n – civilized conduct, especially: Politeness and Courtesy.
It had been raining all weekend, and today was the first day I was able to go out and get some errands done outside my apartment in Bolton Hill. My horoscope said to avoid new experiences and to”stay close to home and experience your life the way it is right now.”
All well and good, but groceries aren’t going to buy themselves. I could get a quick lunch, get my things and be back before the next batch of showers moved through later in the day. That was the plan anyway.
I got on the light rail at Cultural Center and made my way down towards the Super Fresh near Lexington Market. Lexington Market isn’t my favorite station, it’s downtown so it’s dirty, crowded and has lots of pan-handlers\drug dealers milling around the already packed station area. However, the store is only two blocks from the market’s northbound station (there is a full block between the two stations) besides said store has its own plaza on Charles St (a safe area with lots of stores\restaurants) with coffee shop and a small food court.
They say “never shop when you’re hungry,” so I went into the food court as usual. It’s not a huge variety of offerings (five or six quick service restaurants) and most of their menus leave a lot to be desired… but it’s there so why not?
I went in for pizza, but I stopped for a second in front of the sandwich shop. I was looking at their menu for a moment when a 40ish black woman in a blue business suit turned around and said “No, please, I’m not in line go ahead.” She sees me looking at the board behind her, and almost as an aside said “get the Buffalo Chicken sub.”
“No thank you,” I said politely. “I don’t feel like having a sub today.”
“What was that you said?” she asked in an almost accusatory voice.
Between my speech impediment and my dad’s Meniere’s, I’m pretty much used to having to repeat everything at least once, but still taken aback by her tone. “No, thank you. I don’t feel like having a sub today.”
She turns around and goes to leave, and as I approach the counter for a better look at the board, she spins back around.
“Hey crazy!” she said sidling up to me. She startled me, “Yes, YOU, you fucking MORON!” and I didn’t expect her to change a name either. “I was trying to be NICE to you, but no, noo you HAD to be a god-damned ASSHOLE about it. All you had to do was say ‘no thank you’ and that would have been it. But no, you have to a FUCKING CRAZY ASSHOLE about it!”
“That’s what I did say. That’s ALL I said.”
“DON’T YOU DARE TALK TO ME LIKE THAT! YOU FUCKING, GOD-DAMNED CRAZY ASHHOLE! ”
People are looking at me like I’ve done something wrong here, meanwhile, I’m just trying to figure out what the hell is going on here.
“All I wanted to do today was get lunch, get groceries and go home before the rain starts again,” I said exasperatedly, but determined to stay calm. “I can’t do any of that with you yelling at me.”
“Oh, I’m sooo sorry, if calling you a ‘FUCKING, GOD-DAMNED CRAZY ASSHOLE’ offends you, but I’m PROUD I said it, and I’ll say it AGAIN – FUCK YOU!” She flips me the middle finger dramatically as she leaves the food court.
I try to compose myself, but I can feel everyone’s eyes still on me. I still don’t want a Buffalo Chicken sub, but it’s the only thing I can see on their menu now. I apologize to the woman behind the counter, but I lost my appetite.
I walk across the plaza to the Super Fresh… but I couldn’t focus on anything on their shelves as that woman’s voice was literarily still ringing in my ears. However, I also wasn’t about to leave empty-handed either so I grabbed all the stuff I normally get and headed to the cashiers stand. I noticed my body was trembling and my eyes heavy with tears, but I was DETERMINED to keep as straight a face as I possibly could in public. What was left of my pride depended on it!
“How are you doing today,” the cashier asked mechanically. I knew she didn’t care, but I told her anyway, if only because the act of telling it might make it seem clearer in my own head.
“Well,” she said somewhat nonchalantly.” There’s no accounting for people act sometimes.”
“Yeah,” I said defeatedly. “Like my counselor at my last school said: ‘If you’re offended by something it’s because you KNOW it’s true.’”
“Well…I guess she’s right about that.”
“You’re not helping.”
“Well, have a nice day anyway,” she said cheerfully.
“Sadly, it’s probably too late for that.”