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Saturday, June 4, 2011

I'm half a mind to spit in your face

Decided to write about this yesterday evening, but after several medicinal margaritas, I thought better of it. Here, now, in the bright light of a Saturday morning, I find myself changing my mind. We'll see how this goes. If you're reading this, you know I decided to post it after all. Otherwise, you might want to mention this dream to your counselor.

I was invited to a small gathering of interesting people last night, and given that I rarely get out, and also that the people were interesting people, neither strangers nor acquaintances by virtue of Facebook, if Facebook constitutes some form of virtue, I headed out.

As you might expect when invited over by people of the Southern persuasion, I was told upon asking that I only needed to bring myself and perhaps a bag of ice for the blender.

I obliged by stopping at Food Lion to fetch the ice and a bouquet of flowers. It would be rude to bring more food when I've already been told that there's food a'plenty. It would also be a waste as the food would not be eaten. One brings flowers, or perhaps a bottle of wine, to such events. Miss Manners has spoken.

Apparently, Food Lion was giving stuff away at 7 p.m. when I tried to check out. The lines were uncharacteristically long, and then a new line opened. I jumped on it, even though I'm sure from years of experience that the other line always moves faster. However, this time, I got lucky, and my new line was moving briskly, likely because I was the second person in the line and both of us had light loads to purchase.

As I was offering one card and then another, I heard a conversation behind me. Usually, I seek to ignore such conversations because (1) they're generally none of my business, and (2) I have enough trouble without borrowing more.

Then I heard a word. "Spit." I heard him say, "I'm half a mind to spit in your face."

Turning my head, I recognized the speaker as the person who had left my longer line ahead of me with his box of wine, but he had selected another line instead of the one newly opened. He was about my age, a little shorter, and a little thinner, but then everyone is a little thiner than I am. His skin was shiny with a patina of plastic, probably the result of a cheap moisturizer or aftershave.

The assistant store manager was now standing behind me as I focused more attention on the thing happening there. The man was upset because Food Lion had hired a Muslim, a short, tiny, kerchiefed, and substantially meek woman. I suspect her skill with the language was sufficient to understand what he was saying, but I doubt her culture would permit much of an exchange. Of course, this all unsupported conjecture on my part. I have no idea what was going on in her head, aside from the extreme embarrassment that was fully palpable by anyone with sentience greater than a rock.

The assistant manager handled the encounter well, telling the grand idiot that he was no longer welcome to shop in this store. I concurred, standing there silent, tensed like an English longbow ready to rain terror on an advancing line of French soldiers. Had the man spat, well, I don't know for sure. I hope that I'd have escorted him to the sidewalk where he could then sit and spit until the police arrived to present him with assault and battery charges.

As it was, I left the store, flowers and ice in hand, with more than a little adrenalin in my blood. I tweeted a little. Updated FaceBook. Texted my bro. He asked what the little piece of white trash might be planning when he has his Monday morning heart attack, and finds himself at the hospital where the attending physician could easily be Muslim. That's a good question. Here's to hoping our ignorant acquaintance can learn his lessons without so severe an instructor, but I have the feeling that he, along with the embarrassingly many others like him, are not so easily, or willingly, educated.

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