First Piece of advice: If you want customers not to be cranky while they wait, have free internet, like they do here at Nuttall's. They rock. A bottled water would be nice, too, but I'm over it.
I received this letter recently:
What is your take on the etiquette of shopping for a greeting card? Here is my scenario, while shopping for a Father’s Day card I was patiently waiting for the person hogging the “from daughter section” to move. When she finally had enough and I took a step over, this woman swooped in and just started grabbing cards out as fast as she could. Like I was going to get the last good card and then began instructing her husband very loudly about the kind of card he needed to look for. I was so put out that I just elbowed my way in and stood my ground. Thinking the whole time…. How rude!!! What are your thoughts on personal space and greeting card shopping?
Dear Devoted Daughter,
What the hell is wrong with people? Maybe I'm feeling all Zen-like because I'm coming off of another detox week, but I advocate walking away from people like that as if they don't exist. Because they can't possibly be real. Also, they aren't happy and I have no desire to egg someone on in their misery. When my children get frustrated with mean people (like, each other or me or TF) I remind them that no one mean is happy with themselves. Have you ever done anything mean? I have. And I did it during the times I hated myself the most. Or when I was really hungry. And I actually used to let myself go hungry when I hated myself. Vicious cycle, that.
I used to waste quite a bit of time being mad, so I feel for that woman (but not enough to want to hang out with her or anything.) Did she really think you might score the perfect card? The one that expressed her sentiments exactly? You probably don't even share the same greeting card style. Geez. And you have to wonder how much was riding on her choice. Was she about to be cut out of a will or something? My parents are saving us from that by spending our inheritances on us now. That have paid for more school than Jon and Kate ever will. But I digress.
I used to do stupid stuff like insist on driving the speed limit in front of tailgaters, though I drew the line at tailgating myself. One day, as my heart rate was rising, I kept glancing in the rear view mirror at the red-faced freak who was trying really, really hard to mow me over to get to the dry cleaner's or church or something. I felt panicked and mad and self-righteous all at once. it was my duty to make him slow down. Surely, he would see the light if I drove exactly in line with the car next to me, preventing him from passing. If he didn't see the light, maybe I could give him a heart attack. That would teach him a lesson.
But it was killing me, so I put on my blinker. He relaxed, just a little, knowing I was trying to get out of his way. Then I did and he passed. I didn't turn my head to glare or see how he felt about me. I just moved over. This technique spares me a lot of time and energy and I would love to tell the Greeting Card Hooker about it. Maybe I could at least offer words of comfort to her husband, who probably endures this sort of thing all the time. Here's some advice: Was he cute? Are you single? Slip him your card, because he might be looking for a new partner soon. Granted, this isn't the most ethical technique in the world, but you never know. Actually, scratch that. He sounds like kind of a wussy and who wants a piece of that? You might have suggested some sort of pharmaceutical help for either the mad woman or her husband, but that wouldn't have gone anywhere good. Trust me. Personally, I have found that my daily dose of Wellbutrin helps me let go of anger much more quickly.
Aggression - whether it's your own or someone else's - is a time waster. That time could be spent doing things like pondering why your bizarre children are the way they are. Why, when asked to perform in a talent show at the beach, they chose to bring everyone into the bathroom with a four-headed shower stall. You could also ponder why anyone installs four shower heads. I mean, I can think of one person with whom I would shower, maybe two, because you never know when a toddler will want to take a shower. But three other people? At once? That's sick. I really thought about it a long time, too, contemplating different shower scenarios, and I couldn't come up with a single thing. Anyhow, all fifteen or so adults* crowded into the bathroom, eyes on my children. Keep in mind I was the only person there with a child older than five, so the pressure was on. I wanted to prove I could raise normal children. The act - or shall we say "happening" - began. Fully clothed (Praise Jesus) the boys turned on all the shower heads. Fully clothed (Still. Thank the good Lord) one of them placed a hollowed-out watermelon rind on the other's head. Still fully clothed (Can I get an "Amen?") the other child began to grate the rind on the first child's head with a cheese grater. Then they switched places.
Not surprisingly, it was the most talked-about act of the show. I asked them if there had been any dialogue - you couldn't hear for all the laughing - and they said, "Yes, but it was improvisation." Really? Really. I asked if they could repeat it and prepared to thank great God in Heaven one more time that no one could hear a word they said. They couldn't remember a word, so I was spared that. So, anyhow, I have plenty of time to wonder about stuff like that and the mysteries of children are endless.
* A bunch of us rented a place at Isle of Palms for the week. One of my friends organized a talent show for the next to the last evening. She even brought medals to award the players. I love my friends.