Monday, February 15, 2016


It's the little things, you know? The little things that are the most irritating. Yet I've actually gotten better at dealing with them, no longer muttering insults at annoying people I pass by on the street. Oh, the temptation is still there, but I listen to my better angels -- all 2/3 of them -- and go on my way, secure in the fact that I'm better than most.

Saturday was tough, though. Put it down to the sub-zero wind chills or the long wait at Fairway's alleged "express" lane. (Fifteen minutes is express when you're on the subway to Brooklyn, not at the grocery store checkout.)

It was a long line, over two dozen of us trying to get back home before the Polar Vortex killed us all. A woman roughly my age was directly in front of me. More concerned with keeping my goat cheese brie, baguette, and Boar's Head salami from squashing one another in my basket, I paid no attention to her.


Reasonable facsimile.
Perhaps she had just come from a ballet class. Or she wanted to keep moving so she wouldn't freeze. No matter. She started going up and down, her legs apart, knees sticking out to the sides as if she were onstage at the Met. 

Down. Up. Down. Up.

Alright, fine, she wanted to stay limber. She was admittedly in good shape for an old goat, I had to give her credit. Let her go up and down in her private Swan Lake.

But then she had to take it a step further, putting one foot behind the other in opposite directions like in the Gitmo torture room. 

Down. Up. Down. Up.

I was starting to feel it now -- the pointless enmity for someone who isn't hurting me in any way. Having learned to ignore or laugh at such things,   it was strange to experience these familiar feeling again.

Let it go, I told myself, let it go. It makes no difference to you.

And it did't.


The line was moving now, faster than before. Everybody shuffled closer to the cashier -- except this geriatric Pavlova. This was her turn to leap ahead, toes pointed down, as she lost herself in a pa d'une. And keep on leaping as the line moved forward. 

You might have thought it amusing, or lovely, or a welcome distraction. You are not me. And how lucky you are for it. For I was one arabesque short of a meltdown.

Stop it! I silently screamed. Just stop it! Enough of the leaps, the pointy toes, the twisted feet! This is a grocery store, not a stage! Nobody's going to throw you a bouquet of flowers or yell "Brava!" as you leave the store! You're in shape, we get it -- now just move the hell up the line and go home to your barre, your pink ballet slippers, your tutu. Oh, and your cats! I just know you have cats that you refer to as your "children"! 

But I kept my feelings to myself. My blood was on high, but didn't boil. And I didn't shove anyone out of my way when I left the store. All that, ultimately, makes me a good person. 

It was, then, a good day.


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