Saturday, August 15, 2009

Popcorn Girl

Waiting in the line up for popcorn, we were called over to a new till just openned. The woman calling us over is a harsh looking woman of little personality and cold unfriendliness. Joe has mentioned her a number of times as we frequent that movie theatre on a regular basis.

Now that I have the power chair I can help carry popcorn and drinks so I was in line with him. I'd never been served by her but Joe pointed her out every time. 'She's the kind of mean one,' he'd say. I'd nod. I watched her and never saw a smile but I also never saw anything much more than an efficient quick serve of treats and taking of money.

When she called us over I was really curious. Joe and I placed our order. She glanced at me a couple of times. Like she was sizing me up. She went and got the popcorn and poured the drink. As she was setting them out she looked at me again, I saw her make the decision in her head, "What movie are you going to see," she said.

That's not accurate the words poured out of her in a jumble. She had difficulty with breath control, a line of sweat formed on her brow, but the words were out. I smiled, I had figured she had calculated and put in in the 'safe to try speaking to' category and I was wonderously honoured, "We are going to see District 9, have you seen it?"

She took another breath and more words poured out. Something about a radio programme about the movie, something about suppositions about aliens, something about history. It didn't make a lot of sense but it was a lot of words. She looked as if she would collapse. I said, "Sounds like a great radio show," She looked grateful and said, "It was."

We left for the movie. I couldn't shake the feeling that something huge had just happened. Shyness is not a disability but it should be. I wonder how many people think that her cold service comes from a cold heart. I wonder how many don't notice that her desire to serve quickly and accurately demonstrates a kind of caring that words cannot, by themselves, demonstrate. I wondered what about me seemed to be less threatening - why she chose to try with me.

I think the wheelchair had something to do with it. That somehow she identified with those who have a bit of difficulty getting through life. That somehow, maybe, I would respond with kindness.

Joe said, "Wow, a smile really changes her face."

Welcome to the outside world, popcorn girl.


Kristin said...

I'm glad she chose to make the effort with someone like you who would respond with kindness.

Anonymous said...

not exactly a disability, but depending on the extent shyness can be considered mental illness (we call it social anxiety in the UK, not sure if you have the same term in Canada) Im sure that would have meant a lot to her, and encouraged her to try to overcome her shyness more in future

Anonymous said...

Wow. Yeah. I'm shy, and clinically depressed, and socially anxious, and introverted, and I've had a fair number of people describe me as cold/aloof/mean/snobbish. Thank you for being kind to her.

I think that if I saw you, I'd recognize that you were a safe person to talk to, as well.

Anonymous said...

I'm autistic, definitely a disability and people often think I am cold when I am just having difficulty speaking in a crowd.

Dave Hingsburger said...

PS We went over to the movies again today with Tessa, our next door neighbour and friend, and Popcorn Girl was taking tickets. She smiles, broadly, when she saw me and I made sure to stop and chat. She had lost her nerves and chatted almost easily. Tessa, having read the blog figured out what was going on and got a big smile as her ticket was taken. It was lovely.

jueb said...

it was you Dave, perhaps she could sense that you would be kind.

Isa said...

I know I'm late to the party but I found this post really touching.

I work for the customer service department at a bank, but I have bipolar disorder and an anxiety disorder, in addition to being shy and nerdly. When I'm depressed I become very withdrawn and have trouble identifying with other people. I try to make conversation and be friendly, but it's tough for me at the best of times and almost impossible at the worst. I always appreciate it when people talk to me instead of automatically assuming I'm cold or snobby.

Thanks for being friendly with Popcorn Girl. It can mean a lot for someone who's shy. :)

Jacob said...

Its true, you really can't know what's going on inside of someone like that PE

generic viagra said...

This makes them less provincial, and broadens their minds to the type of critical and lateral thinking needed in woman of little personality and cold unfriendliness.!!22dd