Today, I threw social aplomb to the wind and became my very own punk song.
I worked out very hard this week, pushing each muscle group further than normal. Part of that has to do with my level of stress of late and part just because it was time, training-wise, to shove forward a bit. In any case, today, my body was spent, and instead of following my regular, end-of-the-week yoga class with it’s intended 70 minutes of steady-state cardio, I called it quits after Savasana, heading straight to Starbucks for my Friday frappucino.
Frozen coffee beverage in hand, I wasn’t out of the parking lot when I decided that I didn’t feel like going straight home to spend another morning listening to my Inner Girl natter on about how lonely she is. I hooked the wheel left and headed toward the main thoroughfare. A museum is what my Soul craved, but we settled instead, me and It, for retail therapy. I took a jaunt first to Barnes and Noble to pick up a copy of Macbeth (Shakespeare in the park next weekend!) (And I’m only now remembering that I have an old edition of The Complete Shakespeare sitting on my shelf in there….) and then headed across the street to TJMaxx. (It’s no Marshall’s or Nordy Rack, but when you’re stuck in the land of the Carhartt sombrero, you can’t be picky.)
I always start my trips to this store with the jewelry counter. I’ve made some pretty good, thrift-conscious finds there, and the clearance case usually boasts a cocktail ring or two. With a langour borne of months of inertia, I systematically scanned the quadrants of each glass cabinet for little treasures and determined them to be empty of anything that had to be had. (No small disappointment since sometimes there is little better than the discovery of a trinket suitable to you and only you….) This brings me to the shoes, but having just acquired 3 new pairs (beaded flip flops!!), my heart wasn’t really in it so I moved on to sheets, furnishings, kitchenware and, finally, tank tops and sundresses.
With a good portion of my upper body weight, I pushed a row of hangers to the right and began to rifle past each item in its turn. click click click click click in rapid succession, leaving myself only a first glance to either pluck or pass. (Gut reaction is the key in stores like this, otherwise it’s possible to spend hours looking at nothing in particular. Hidden gems twinkle right away, but only for a second, and very quietly.) Click click clicking away, I was interrupted by sneaking sneeze that left me only barely amount of time needed to get my face securely shielded by the crook of my left arm. I made it, and nothing of substance sprayed out, but my nose did promptly begin to run.
I looked about for the bathroom, and spied, instead, a sales “lady” in the process of rehanging one of three total garments in her hands. She was in her approximate 50s and wore a scowl that seemed to indicate she’d just been accosted with an odor, noxious. “Sorry, miss?” (I was VERY generous in my form of address) “Do you happen to have any tissues hiding anywhere close?” I sniffed. “Or a bathroom?”
(Now, it bears mentioning here, that I was kind and solicitous in my query. The very model of social etiquette and manners. What follows in her reaction was so contrary to what the situation warranted that even now, almost a full workday later, I’m still shaking my head in disbelief.
With a long, irritated sigh, the woman raked her eyes up to meet mine and gave me a look of disgusted contempt. “What is this,” she spat, “your HOUSE? Do I look like your MOTHER?”
I was stunned for a second. It shut me down. But a quick look at a girl who had been shopping the same rack on the opposite side of me confirmed in a jerk of the head, that what I’d just heard, was indeed outrageous, rude, and totally unwarranted.
What I did next I cannot explain to you. I don’t know what possessed me, I don’t know where the idea came from, I don’t know what to say for the type of person that this makes me. I can’t decide if it was hilarious or trashy or just plain punk. What I can tell you, is that it felt good, and without equivocation, the shrew deserved it.
With a straight, innocent face, I grabbed the sleeve of one of the shirts she was holding, looked her dead in the eye, and wiped my runny nose. And that, shut her down. As I turned and walked away, not a single word spoken, I watched the irritation and loathing drain from her face and morph, instead, into a mask of shock.
I am the master of Escalating Retaliation. Chances are, I will yell “PENIS!!!” the loudest in a quiet library. Lots of times, this is embarrassing for me and ill-played. Rarely, fleetingly, it’s not. In the vibrating hum of spectacular timing, instinct and agility played their hand and I struck my blow with grace and attitude; the perfect one-liner launched off the tongue with deft speed and accuracy.
It was uncouth, yes. Disgusting? Without a doubt. But I can’t say I’m embarrassed. I would, in fact, go so far as to say proud. A single action proved a point that even the most succinct tongue-lashing couldn’t have touched. I went the tiniest bit overboard, certainly, but there’s humor here, and I can’t help but laugh, a little to myself and a little out loud.
Don’t mess with me sister, because I’m a little bad ass.