Friday, January 05, 2007

Perverts and Parapalegics...

...can often be the same thing.


So, the other day I had to go into Large Grocery Store Chain to get a money order (I just never re-ordered any checks. I am lazy and ridiculous. I'll admit it.). I go to get in line at customer service, and just ahead of me is an older man in a wheelchair who is accompanied his mother (I assume). She turns from the main line and joins the line for cigarettes (uhh, not a good idea, lady. Your son is carrying a rather large oxygen tank), so I ask the son politely if he's waiting in line.

"Excuse me. (smile) Are you waiting?"

"Nah, buh ah way ehmean way wi you."

I paused, then kind of giggled, because OBVIOUSLY he had said, "No, but I'll wait if it means I can wait with you."

*****OH MY GOSH. That was horrible. I just phonetically wrote out the speech of a disabled person. I can feel the flames now. Okay, from here on out, I'll just write what he said, and you can IMAGINE with me that it was all very hard to understand. Moving on...******

"Okay," I said. "Thank you."

I turn around to wait, but I quickly figured out he wasn't kidding about waiting with me as he began inching his chair closer to me.

"I like your red hair," he said. "It's beautiful."

"Thank you," I replied, blushing a little.

"I love red hair," he continued. "Is it natural?"

I laughed. "Actually, no."

"I still really like it. It's really nice," he said again, as he continued to move himself closer to me. By now, the closeness was definitely in my 18 inches of personal space, so I scooched forward in line a little more and pretended to be engrossed in the sign that lists the plethora of shitty in-store services.

"You know what I don't like?" (inch, inch)

"Whoah, Pal!" I say somewhat jokingly, "You said I could get in line in front of you! Are you trying to cut me off?" (BIG, somewhat fake smile)

"You know what I don't like?" he said again.

This time I pretended like he said something witty, and I smiled and nodded. I KNOW, I KNOW...very insulting and awful, and I did it anyway. But apparently, it wasn't enough of a deterrent, and--

"You know what I don't like?"

I sighed, "What don't you like?"

This was a mistake. My response incited him to again invade my personal space, and now I was getting really uncomfortable. I looked around for his mom, but she was gone. I looked and saw there was one more person in line in front of me, and I desperately wondered how I was going to politely extract myself from this situation. I scooched forward some more, trying to avoid not only my "friend", but also grazing the guy's ass in front of me. This was no easy task.

"I don't like people."

I cracked a smile...okay, this might be interesting. "You don't like people?" I repeated, smirking and raising an eyebrow.

"I don't like people's pubic hair."

Oh God.

He kept going. "I don't like people's pubic hair that doesn't match the hair on their head. I just wanted to know if you matched."

You know that rushing sound you get in your ears when you have NO FREAKING CLUE what to do in a certain situation? I got that. And suddenly, I forgot all the reprimands that I got as a kid from my mom "not to stare", and I forgot about being politically correct, and I saw this guy for what he was: a person. A person without a chair or a disability or a tank or a mom that has to help him in a grocery store, and I didn't feel sorry for him, and I didn't make excuses for his behavior. I simply pointed my finger in his face and said, "And now you've crossed the line."

Fortunately, the Fates smiled on me, and the timing for my turn immediately followed my reprimand. I hurried to the counter like a fat girl to cake (sorry, not ALL fat girls like cake. That was a horrible overgeneralization). He was still in the area when I left and tried to say goodbye to me, but I just walked out fuming.

For a second, I felt guilty for yelling at a person in a wheelchair, and then I felt dumb for feeling guilty. I don't care who you are, whether you've got one eye, or an extra toe, or were disfigured in freak curling iron accident. Rich or poor, diseased or healthy, that was a damn rude thing to say to a stranger. And I'm not standing idly by anymore and letting people push me around (see also: my night at the gas station with the drunk Mexicans). Do not get into my personal space. Do not casually comment on my pubic hair. Don't bring me crappy food in a restaurant and expect me to pay for it. I'll be nice if you're nice, and I'll continue being nice if you're somewhat annoying. If the situation calls for feisty Sarah to come out, however, come out she will.

An ih won be prehey.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Actually I thought this was a very PC and entertaining blog, except I DO NOT run to cake...I run to Cheez-Its! :)