When I was younger saying that I was going over to 'the regular' meant going to a particular pub. Now, 'the regular' refers to the pharmacy. I'm signed up for that automated system that has my phone ringing constantly. A charming female voice comes on the line: 'A member of this household has a prescription that is ready for pick up. If you believe you have received this message in error, please press one.' I think, maybe by the frequency of the calls that she might be hot for me. So, I was over at the 'regular'.
My drug store is hooked into the 'airmiles' programme and I always toot around the store to see what purchases will get me bonus points. I had just noticed that if you buy two big chocolate bars flavoured with hot chili flakes, you get 10 bonus points. Beyond being shocked that these didn't sell well at Christmas - I headed to pick them up. I know someone who will love them. As it turned out there were some Christmas wreaths, also on sale, that were blocking my way. I couldn't get quite close enough.
A young man, well dressed and beautifully groomed, saw that I couldn't get into where I wanted to go and simply offered to reach something for me. I smiled graciously, I felt like a dowager queen upon my motorized throne being assisted by an able young knight. (I get a bit of a buzz when my blood sugar is low.) I accepted the chocolate bars and plopped them into my bag. I was on my way.
As I was about to leave the store I noticed said knight with his fair MaMa. Now there was a lady that knew how to dress. Her whole style cost a lot. But her clothes whispered rather than shouted, class. She had a lovely black cane hung over her arm. It looked sturdy. It looked like it was carved for her by artisans in Sweden. Or Denmark. Or somewhere where expensive artisans ply their trade for rich North Americans. She walked with a decided limp, or I guess when you are rich it would be called an 'idiosyncratic gait'.
She pointed to something and asked her boy to get it for her, it was out of her reach. Not because of disability but because of height. His shoulders slumped as if the weight of the world had been placed on them, as if he lived his life in servitude. His lip curled in resentment. He reached for it and handed it to her brusquely.
Wait a minute.
This was the same guy, my knight in shining Armani, who had so graciously offered to get my chocolate bar with flecks of mint. The one that was right beside the chocolate bar with flecks of pepper. Oh, hell, and the ones that had a hint of orange. I bought them all. Shut up. I have lots of friends who eat chocolate. Anyways, this guy offered kindly and even sweetly. Now he's being asked kindly by his MaMa and he's showing annoyance.
At work I chat with a number of people who have difficulty with speech. I know how to wait and feel no pressure to rush the interchange along. When I talk with my mother on the phone who's speech was affected by stroke, I have to work much harder to be patient. This young man with the Gucci, Gucci, Goo smile had not a second thought about offering to help someone as he passed by ... but his own mother's needs caused annoyance. Me, too, I do the same.
Why is that?