Basil, Catherine and other folks lucky enough to really KNOW me will confirm that I am not the easiest person to get along with. Patience is not my strongest suit.
Oh don’t get me wrong — it’s not all bad. In fact it can be fun and games … until the stress boils over. Then I have a tendency to shoot from the lip and apologize later, huff and puff and rant and rave until order has been restored.
Fridays often fall victim to this terrible personality quirk — especially at this time of year when there’s so much needing attention.
Mondays start tidy and full of hope, but by Friday. … Well Friday is full of unfinished tasks, too little time, a weekend to-do list a mile long and the overwhelming desire to take up a post on the couch under a blanket. Or deep in the closet.
Today was a perfect example. I abandoned my early-morning routine of learning a new Jazzercise song, handling personal correspondence and trying to keep up with some housecleaning for a different set of chores — stripping the bed and doing the grocery shopping before starting my workday.
I realize this is not realistic, that I can’t count on the timing to work out so I still get to work on time, but most Fridays I do it anyway, determined to avoid the after-work crowds of frantic cart-pushers.
The day had not started well. I was in a foul mood and already running late when I had to chisel the car out of its frosty casing. At ShopRite, I undertook what was probably a very humorous charade called “Chase the Blasted Carts Around the Parking Lot.” I no sooner put one back in its row then another one slid out and into the lot.
A nice older man helped me catch the last one, and as I thanked him I blushed to realize he had heard me let loose with a long string of colorful expletives.
He did not make eye contact.
By now I had worked up quite a head of steam. I was a woman on a mission, no patience for bruised produce or the other customers’ casual travel speed.
Thank goodness, then, for the blonde. I don’t know who she is and I’m embarrassed to admit that my first thought upon seeing her was to wonder if she’d lost her hairbrush or realized Mom Jeans were no longer in style. But she surprised me in the cereal aisle with a big smile and warm hello. I was taken aback, but managed a bit more than a tight, perfunctory squeeze of the sides of my mouth and returned her greeting.
And then wondered: What the …?
No one talks to strangers in the market at 7 am.
Up and down the aisles I went crossing items off my list. And there she was in the detergent aisle. Talking to me. Again.
I took my glasses off for a closer look and sure enough, she was right. As I headed for the milk, I joked that probably doing enough laundry would give you agita and she laughed.
Heading for the OJ, I marveled how that little exchange had diffused me.
My good friend, Marilyn, has been posting quotes from “It’s A Wonderful Life” on Facebook this week, and I had to wonder if maybe this lady was my Clarence. I didn’t see wings, but hey, you never know.
I was much more relaxed as I finished loading the cart. A calmer Terri approached the checkout line, smiled at other customers and took some deep breaths. I was much more zen.
Until the idiot woman on line ahead of me dropped her credit card and spent 10 minutes trying to pick it up off the floor before the cashier had to come around and scoop it up for her.