Friday, April 16, 2010

Tilting at Pistachios

So I'm at the fancy new supermarket that opened 9 days ago, waiting at the fish counter to get a 1/2 pound of shrimp. A very well coiffed, older woman appears next to me. She is a walking stereotype of the moneyed class - you know the type with Louise Vuitton (or was it Gucci - I can't tell) purse hanging off her forearm, uberbranded sunglasses on her face (she was indoors and it was raining outside), riding jodhpurs, and very shiny gold hanging off whatever body part could accommodate the expensive hardware.

I glance at her briefly, turn back to the fish case, and then hear a small ping. I look back at the woman, see her staring at the ground, and realize she has dropped a pistachio shell. I can see it plainly, resting on the brand new floors maybe 1.5 feet from her own well clad feet. "Can she see it?" I wonder. "Well of course she can see it! It's right there!" I mentally point.

The woman looks up from the ground and begins staring straight ahead.

"Oh my god! She's going to leave her trash on the ground. I can't believe it. She knows she dropped it. She knows it couldn't have gone too far. What the heck?" I'm in a state of irritated disbelief.

The internal dialogue continues.

"Should I say something? Should I pick it up? Do I just leave it for the staff to find when they clean up after the store closes? If I dropped it and KNEW that I dropped it I'd pick it up. I mean, this is a BRAND new store - it isn't like we're at an outdoor market or something. Picking up your trash is respectful of the people who have to clean up after me. But she must not be respectful of the "peons" who work here, who wait on her. I mean, look at her, she is obviously accustomed to people taking care of her. Oh my god, she is such a bitch."

The rant goes on while I continue to wait.

"I really have to say something to her, to hold her accountable for her actions, to let her know people are watching and judging her behavior. I won' forgive myself if I don't say something. This is what it means to believe in something, and I believe in respect, and beauty. I cannot let this type of behavior slide without commenting. If I do what else will I be silent about. I CANNOT BELIEVE she did that!"

I turn to her and say haltingly, "Uhm excuse me, I think you dropped something." I point to the shell on the floor, "You surely weren't going to leave that there, were you?"

The woman looks at me and then to the ground. She leans over, picks up the shell, and places it in her palm, which then slowly closes around the once discarded object. All without saying a word.

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