I dropped the girls off at the YMCA today and Buddy and I tooled over to the grocery store near our home, where I picked up a couple of needed items.
I wheeled my mini-cart up to the line, where two people were in front of me and proceeded to stand there reading the covers of tabloids with a jaundiced eye and a cynical air, noting that Reese Witherspoon has Broken Beyond Her Heartache and Finally Found Love (divorce #2 several years in the offing, I imagine) and that Kevin Federline has decided to Make Things Work with Britney and the Kids (possibly candidate for canonization, if true).
A few moments later, a very large young woman leaning on the handle of her cart rolled up behind me. I happened to meet her eye because she sort of nudged me with her cart when she got in line. She didn't look like the usual clientele of this particular store, which is much more upscale than the one I often visit across town. A lot of the clientele there look like they stopped by to pick up a gallon of milk after a long, weary evening of selling eightballs and breaking the windows out of parked cars. She looked like she could be one of them.
"Peeyew," she said in a very, very loud voice, looking at me. "It smells bad up here, like somebody farted or crapped theirself or something."
You know what? I am also a very large woman, considerably older than herself standing there with her lank, greasy hair and her near-together eyes. Not only that, I was dressed in an outfit that I like, wearing my nice red spring jacket, decently groomed with makeup, jewelry, and a generous spritz of vanilla sugar body splash. I am a woman who doesn't feel the need to take cheek like this off anyone, particularly two weeks after my computer died and one day after my minivan died and two seconds after I'd had my last thought of "what next?"
I gave her the icy look that I used to give six foot tall football players who showed an impudent disinclination to learn about American writers of the 20th century in my English classes. "Well, it isn't me, my dear," I said in a tight, dangerous voice that immediately caused her to break eye contact with me and look down at her dolphin-sized shoes and mutter something sotto voce that she was probably wise to make sure I couldn't hear.
I sailed on up to the conveyor, paid for my few items and went on out of the store, my head held high in triumph. I may not be able to stop computers from crashing or automobiles from going kaput or jobs from ending or voices from giving out, but I can defend myself against an unjust charge of farting in the grocery.
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