Wednesday, July 17, 2013
My Son vs the Jerk
A couple weekends ago, my son Caleb and I were in the grocery store, waiting our turn at the deli counter. I had put my five year old son in one of the carts with a built-in infant seat. I'd done this because he was sound asleep, having exhausted himself at a park before our shopping trip. He continued to nap peacefully throughout the wait. I was checking things off the shopping list on my cell phone. While the counter was decently staffed, things were moving slowly because one woman in her 60's was giving one deli employee a VERY hard time, having him slice and re-slice everything multiple items.
Finally it was out turn. While my order was being sliced a woman in her 40's came up to the woman in her 60's.
"How is it you're STILL at the deli counter?" the woman in her 40's asked.
"They're incompetent," the older woman said, "Here's your meat." She tossed a few packages of meat and cheese into the younger woman's cart.
The younger woman picked up the packages, looked at them and said, "This isn't what I wanted. I need-"
"That's what you're getting. Your taste is crap. This is better."
The younger woman lowered her head and said nothing. It was pretty clear from her body language that she was used to deferring to the older woman. they looked alike enough that I suspected they were mother and daughter.
By this point, my salami and pastrami were done. I tried to leave the deli counter, but the two women and their carts were blocking me in. I politely said, "Excuse me," as I tried to maneuver between them.
The older woman shot me and angry look and nearly screamed, "WHAT is your rush? IT," she poked my son hard in the chest, "is still asleep."
Before I could respond Caleb looked sleepily up at the woman and said, "If you're mean, you won't have any friends." He then closed his eyes and went back to sleep.
The older woman was apoplectic. She raised her arm as if to hit Caleb. I thrust out my arm, shielding my son and growled at her, "If you touch my son again I'm having you arrested for assault." I showed her my cell phone, on which I had already dialed "9-1-1." I had not yet hit the "Call" button.
She glared at me for a moment, her arm jerking as if she were fighting the urge to hit me. She then lowered her arm and, still shooting me a look fit to kill, backed up her cart to make way for us to leave. As she did so I noticed the younger woman was beaming with delight, but she turned away the moment the older woman looked at her.
As we left I heard the older woman muttering, insulting my manhood for "threatening to arrest an old lady." I found myself wondering if she'd have thought better of my manhood if I'd responded to her the way she'd tried to respond to my son.