I visited our local grocery store yesterday. Just doin’ my Saturday shopping. Like the rest of you out there. When I go out in public, I have my “serious face” on. Especially at the grocery store. Not a mean face, just my serious face. Which means, please don’t bother me because I’m calculating and thinking and I really need to get my stuff and get out.
Reaching the checkout line that has a short line is kind of euphoric. Once you’ve completed your long and exhausting zig zag race to that line, you feel a little triumphant. Sometimes those feelings are at a halt when you get your total, but even that’s okay. Getting your receipt and change means you are on your way outta there!
In fact, at this same exact store about a month ago, I met a bagger who was 15 weeks pregnant. She was very young, maybe 18. But I remember that she was really pretty and sweet. After asking her how she was feeling and when she was due, and after having our small chat, I told her about Natalie. I started with, “definitely do not feel freaked out, but…” I reminded her about her 20 week ultrasound and to “please make sure that the heart photos are super clear..” I didn’t have any time to tell her about pulse oximetry and that she should include that in her birth plan. I kind of hate that it was so busy that I couldn’t say anything. I hope I see her again.
I reach this triumphant line yesterday and the cashier smiles at me. He asks me how I’m doing. This is when my serious face is put aside and I can enjoy a good chat. I like chatting. Especially small chat. I don’t mind cashiers speaking to me at all. I’m only annoyed when I visit other types of merchants and they have to over sell me. I know all of the tactics. This comes from a person who worked in retail and retail management for several (too many) years. Yesterday was the first time I was asked about my “Give Kids The World” t-shirt. A shirt I bought right before we left from Natalie’s Make a Wish trip in December of last year. The cashier says something like (I can’t remember his exact words) “..so the world is full of happiness? what?” He said it with a smile so I was totally cool with telling him about this awesome place. I casually mentioned that I had a daughter born with half of a heart, but emphasized how well she’s doing right now and how amazing her Wish Trip was. He stops scanning my groceries and looks right at me and says (this I will never forget) “..I think I should be given a wish because it’s just not fair.” I immediately see where he’s going with this so I just nod and smile and pretend to really only care about my growing total on the computer screen. He continues on with “I’m 24 years old, I work for minimum wage and there are so many things in life that I can’t do because of that. I think Make a Wish should grant me a wish. I know that they only deal with sick kids who have life-threatening illnesses, but it’s not fair. ” I was getting a little bit PO’ed. I tried to add a smile with a small snippet of this and that… “well my child is ill with an illness that could take her life any day” and he would just cut me off with his story. He paid no attention to anything I was kindly trying to say. He somehow got into a story about how he had to pay for cheap tickets to some sort of wrestling event this summer and that it should have been free because he noticed some Wish children there. I honestly have no idea where he was trying to keep going with this conversation. But the only conclusion I have about this 24 year old MAN, is that he is upset, jealous, and probably has no idea what I was trying to say. I’m not mad, actually. I was irritated. I was a little upset. But I just loaded up my van afterwards, and calmly drove off the lot and went home.
The world is full of awesome people. When you have a child with a life-threatening illness, the beautiful people really pop out. Unfortunately, you meet people like this 24 year old man who simply just don’t understand certain aspects of life. I can’t expect him to. He probably feels like no one understands him. He could be pretty self-absorbed and petty. But I’m not him. But he’s also not me.
I probably should have just said “hello” to him and not given any eye contact.
Note to self…….