So there I was, 14 years old, an awkward teenager, standing in a very long line up in London Drugs waiting to make a purchase. I was still so shy in those days (stop laughing...I was! I was a girl who not only hung onto the "apron strings" as long as possible I had them sewn into the palm of my hand!) and being alone in a busy crowded store was enough to make me want to hurl.
I was minding my own business, waiting patiently when all of a sudden THWACK I get hit with something a little hard and kinda squishy in the back of my legs and I hear "Hurry Up! Get Moving! Get outta my way!". Expecting to see another teenager, maybe a very busy Mom or a bratty little kid I turned around. What I was met with is a sight I will never forget. There, standing behind me, was a 4'5" granny, with grey hair, cute glasses and what should have been a sweet face, in her hand the weapon a 3 pack of wrapping paper. If she hadn't just assulted me I would have thought she was Mrs. Clause out doing some last minute shopping. Let me tell you, if she was Mrs. Clause, Santa must've done something really rotten to put her panties into that kind of a twist. And she continued to complain and beat on the backs of my legs until our line up reached the till.
It was only probably 5 minutes but it seemed like a century and I was on the verge of tears. For those of you who know me well you will know that I get tears for a multitude of reasons. That day those tears were not only frustration, fear and embarassement, they were anger. What was wrong with the world? Didn't she know that Christmas time is supposed to be about peace and good will toward man (Translate: Man, woman, child, dog, bug, flea...you get my drift. BE NICE!)? And what was I supposed to do with her? I mean I couldn't very well do what I wanted to - people don't look to kindly on you when you drift a 100 year old woman with your Christmas purchases, one of which was a ratchet set for my Dad, even if she was a mean old crow.
So since I had to hold my boiling temper I took a deep breath and took it. Maybe I was the only nice person who'd let her beat on them, I dunno. I finally got my turn and before the lady at the cash register served me she leaned around me, looked at the female version of a very old Tony Soprano and said, "Ma'm I'm not going to serve you right now, you need to go to the back of the line. What you just did was unexceptable." And left it at that, she rang through my purchase, wished me a Merry Christmas and I was on my way. I was still angery, and man did I give my Mom an earful when we met up but I felt a little better, at least she got hers.
That's a story I tell often around Christmas time. I remember very well that lady's face, the cashier and the emotions. I don't remember what I bought that day or what clothes I was wearing but I do remember that I learned something too. I'd like to say I learned something profound like ultimate forgiveness - I'm almost there, if I were to run into her today I'd probably only scowl, back then I'd have kicked her in the shin, stepped on her foot and thrown her wrapping paper into a puddle ( I said back then, lots has changed you know!). I'd also like to say that that experience made me a better person, in the whole scheme of things I don't think that changed my life. What I did learn is that when I'm old, and grumpy and I feel as though the world's bit me in the bum, I'm gonna pour myself a nice hot mug of NeoCitran, with a shot of Nyquil, turn on Dr.Phil the geriatric version and stay home. Nobody needs to be subjected to that - can you imagine, me, old, misserable, sportin' my ever famous 'Tude?
Hope that made you laugh, in the midst of the Christmas Chaos, there has to be a little humour.