Today, I had an experience that stretched my ability to not stereotype, paint with a broad brush, make assumptions, etc. It was a challenge, but I worked on my understanding and forgiveness skills until I saw the thing that clinched my belief in my powers of insight. Let me set the stage:
I was having a bit of a shop in the spice aisle, picking up whole cloves and cinnamon sticks for some spices cider I was planning to take to a small gathering later in the day. Being mindful of the other shoppers, I maneuvered my cart over to the side and began to reach for the tubs of splendor I needed. Just then, a woman approached from the other direction, parked her cart right in front of where I was reaching, began picking her own things out and didn't acknowledge me even for a tiny second because she was busy gossiping on her phone about some dude who caught caught with his pants down. Full voice, names and all, right there in the store.
It was pretty clear almost immediately from her demeanor and accent that she Wasn't From Around Here, but then again a lot of people aren't, and one cannot go around making assumptions about other people's areas of origin based purely on one incident and the recognition of their vocal affectations. So I didn't. Simply chalked her rudeness up to assuming she was in a rush or so caught up in licking all the luscious details of scandal from the skeleton of someone else's pride that she was lost in her own world (or, more correctly, in someone else's, poor chap).
Then, I espied her in the checkout line, still on her phone and still audible from 50 feet away. Not once did she look at the cashier or return their greeting. Not for a minute did she stop talking, not to make the financial transaction, not to answer the Bag Question (paper OK?), Not to say 'no thanks' to the offer of help getting her groceries out (they always ask that at our local food shop, and I like it. So Southern). Just blah blah blah yammer yammer, all the way out to her car.
She talked through the process of stowing her goodies in the car, she talked through the process of shutting the trunk, she talked through the process of walking her buggy to the space in front of her car. She talked through leaving the buggy there
when the buggy roundup was an incredible ONE SPACE AWAY
. She talked getting in, starting up, and I imagine driving away thinking herself pretty freaking smart and better than all the rest of us because she was talking about some Very Important Issues, like who can't keep his hands to himself and what color lipstick she thinks would look good on Snooki for the wedding.
Did you catch that part about leaving the cart anyplace other then in the roundup area? The ultimate in rude, I think you would agree. Particularly because it was ONE SPACE AWAY and she couldn't be bothered to walk all the way over there to put up that cart, oh no. She was too busy talking and having bad hair and a grating accent and poor manners to do such a thing.
It was all explained when I noticed her license plate. Not North Carolina. I give you three guesses where it was from.
No, I won't, I can't wait that long. It's too obvious anyhow.
That's right, friends, New Jersey tags were on that beatermobile. New-Freaking-Jersey. So fresh off the boat the tags hadn't been changed, which would have at least allowed some mystery as to where this horrorshow came from, because it MIGHT have been New York (downstate), but no. Clear as a bell. NJ all the way.
I'm guessing somewhere Hoboken-adjacent, but that might be an insult to Hoboken. Maybe to the whole state. Pretty sure that mindset is what happens when people aren't allowed to pump their own gas.
Not to be unChristian, but I hope she breaks a nail and gets a scalp burn from the next bottle of Clairol Natural Black #122 she uses, then gets rear-ended by someone else's rogue runaway cart in the grocery store lot on a hot day in August, causing her to drop a bottle of Chianti on her toe.
Not too much to ask, right?