i love christmas.
i like the lead up to it, tho' it can get a little stressful.
parking lots seem to the be the thing, at this time of year, for bringing out the worst in people .
a few years ago, after christmas shopping, a little old lady told me to "go and f*** myself" when my backing out of a space required her to also back up.
by ooh, maybe TWO FEET!
causing me to respond with, 'oh merry christmas to you too.'
which in turn prompted her to yell back at me.
what i said up there.
don't make me repeat it.
it was quite traumatic.
she looked like mother theresa.
she sounded like tony soprano.
some people behave as if THEIR mission is priority.
what could YOU possibly have to do that could be as important?
it's christmas and "i gotta get all MY stuff done."
yesterday, everytime i went down the aisle in the store i would meet the same person coming the other way.
she would be just a little too far over towards the middle.
so for a couple of aisles she'd be browsing the shelf and her cart was abandoned in the middle.
meaning i had to maneuver around her.
which i did.
in the third aisle i was met by a row of boxes, contents waiting to be unpacked and shelved.
so i had to go around them.
guess who was turning the corner onto the aisle?
i could feel her displeasure.
don't get me wrong i know the rule about giving way to oncoming traffic if you are behind a parked vehicle.
oh aye, i know the rules of the road.
but she wasn't in view when i made my move.
so what's her problem?
i proceeded to the checkout.
you-know-who comes up behind me.
her cart would nudge forwards as i was unloading on to the belt.
once it touched the back of my legs.
i didn't react.
body language says a lot tho' doesn't it?
so if she could read the back of my shoulders and the set of my neck, she'd know!
back off missus!
wouldn't you know it, the clerk had to change a till roll or change her cash draw or something.
i'm used to it.
whichever checkout lane i get into, it's a certainty that this will happen.
so i am resigned.
no use getting bent out of shape.
our friend behind me made a loud "tutting" noise.
so i turned around, by way of commiserating.
only to see her eyeing my amount of goods on the belt.
she cannot put down the large items she had started to unload in anticipation of the belt moving.
now she's stuck.
and in her world, again, it's my fault.
i even said, 'sorry'.
i don't know why.
she ignored me.
i left the store.
as i pushed my cart out i saw someone i know who was coming in and we exchanged the briefest of greetings in the doorway.
which gave our friend time to catch me up.
and time to mow me down because i'm in her way.
at that moment the automatic door didn't open right on cue, as she tried to overtake me and exit first.
i was on the way out too but she couldn't wait.
i stepped aside and let her go.
i'm in the parking lot putting my shopping cart away.
our friend has to wait for me so she can do the same.
i can feel the heat coming off her now.
we don't even need to make eye contact.
i start to hum 'we wish you a merry christmas.' as i pass her and walk to my car.
i'm leaving the parking lot.
there's a bit of gridlock as the cars wait for the light at the exit to change to green.
i have my signal on to turn right and join the line.
guess who's on my left?
she looks right at me.
and moves forward to fill up the gap so i can't get out!
at this point do i open my window and curse at her?
do we exit our vehicles to confront each other and roll around the ground in a frenzy of anger and frustration?
blood and snot flying.
do we each ram our vehicles into the other's?
you have to know it did more than merely cross my mind.
for a second our eyes lock.
then, for both of us, a light goes on.
and, at the exact same time, we recognize each other.
we both go to the same church. (!)
she gives me a weak smile and i sort of shrug my shoulders as we both silently acknowledge our mutual situation.
sort of , 'phew! what a busy day eh?'
'isn't christmas shopping just the pits?'
you know the kind of thing you would say to a fellow church goer.
and i'm thinking.
'ooh what a bitch."
and she was probably thinking,
'ooh what a cow."
i love christmas.
it's all about peace, harmony and loving your fellow man.
now get out of my way.