Over the holidays, I encountered my fair share of crabby people. Oh, the downturned mouths and surly outbursts, the irritated huffs and puffs, the drumming of impatient fingers!
Call me odd, but I found it refreshing. Finally, I thought, people are being straightforward about what they’re really feeling or needing. Oh sure, there were times when the crabbiness went too far, but on more occasions than not, it seemed legit.
Several days ago, for example, I was standing in line behind a man who was buying something for a woman. When he asked for a box, the person at the cash
register said they were all out. “But what about that one up on the shelf?” he kindly asked, pointing to a large display of pretty boxes. “They’re for display only,” the clerk snapped.
With a little more oomph, he asked again, mentioning that he really needed a box with this particular store’s name on it. The clerk wouldn’t budge. The man looked distraught. And then, to everyone’s surprise, a woman boldly stepped forward, grabbed the box from the shelf, set it on the counter and barked, “Oh, for Pete’s sake, give the poor man a box!”
Last week, I was in a sewing and craft store that was sorely understaffed. The maddeningly long and excruciatingly slow line made me want to scream, “Why don’t you have more staff at this time of year? It’s your busiest season!” But I didn’t have the crabby courage. No, I shook my head and mumbled snarky things under my breath, like the rest of the weary line-waiters.
Unfortunately – or perhaps, fortunately – the store felt hotter than a parade of Texas Santas. “Oh my gawd!” a red-faced woman finally shrieked. “Seriously? Only three cash registers open? Who’s the fruitcake in charge here?!”
When no one joined her in her meltdown, the woman, now frantically fanning herself with a sewing pattern, marched up to customer service and demanded more help. “I’m having a hot flash!” I heard her howling. And then, “You don’t want to be around me much longer. Please: GET! MORE! HELP!” Like magic, clerks appeared out of nowhere.
Now that the madness of the holidays is over, I’m sure tempers will cool down and conventional conduct will resume. In public, that is. Within in the confines of our homes, a new kind of crabbiness will undoubtedly surface. I’m talking, of course, about the ill winds of cabin fever.
I must confess I do not lack crabby courage when it comes to expressing myself during this tense time. “Seriously? No one is equipped to clean the litter box but me?!” Or: “Really? You couldn’t find the energy to toss the empty milk carton?!”
Page 2 of 2 - I, on the other hand, don’t seem to make anybody’s day but my own. Go figure.