Thursday, November 29, 2012

St. Peter's

ST. PETER'S GOLDEN ALE MINI KEG


I went into the liquour store to pick up some beer while Joe was in the line up at the grocery store. I saw this mini keg, from the UK, of St. Peter's Ale and, even though I had a shopping bag full of beer, I grabbed this as well. I thought it would be a great for Joe who likes St. Peters and wanted to surprise him with something unusual. I must have made quite the sight, a bag full of beer in one hand and a keg of beer in one arm, all while steering a power wheelchair.

I got into a lineup for a clerk who I really like.Over the years that we've come to the store we've got to know him and have chatted with him, and maybe flirted a bit - all in fun of course, so we always get into his line. As I waited I listened to the woman behind me going on, and on, and on, purposely loud, wanting me to hear, about people who misuse the system and waste benefit dollars on AL - CO - HOL. The woman she was talking to agreed and intimated that I was an alcoholic and probably spent my time sitting on my ass. I couldn't believe it. Neither could the clerk who heard the conversation, glanced at me and winked.

When it was my turn, I plunked my keg down, set the bag beside it rummaging to find one of each of the three kinds of beer that I'd chosen - Harp, Stella and Canadian. As he was scanning them he said, loudly, wanting to be heard. "So how was your lecture tour of the United Kingdom?" I told him that it had gone well. He asked if my books sold well while I was there. I told him that they had. He asked how it was to be back at work. I told him that it was good to be back at my desk.

There was silence behind me.

An almost profound silence.

26 comments:

Blog editor said...

Love it!
Jill

Anonymous said...

Bless the clerk. Don't you just love people who "get it" and team up with you to make a point???!!

Rather odd comments from women who were in a liquour store. I probably would have turned and said something nasty, like: "I wonder if you are as mean and ignorant when you are drunk." Or: "You must be buying your booze for your partner so they can stand to be around you." Yes, yes - not nice - but then, neither were they.

I tell ya - if ignorance is indeed bliss, then there must be a lot of blissful people out there.

Lilysea said...

Good on you, and good on the clerk! ^_^

Dave Hingsburger said...

I'm writing to make a comment on a blog that I wrote. I didn't know how to fit this in so I thought I'd do it here. The only problem with how this was handled is that I seem to be saying, and I didn't mean to, that this was all wrong because I do have a job. But if I didn't and I was on benefits - it's still no one's business to comment on how I spend my money. Assumptions are still assumptions - anyways, there now I've said that too.

Janelle said...

Sorry this happened to you, but goodness gracious, what a sweet ending!

I liked your extra comment too. This is entirely true, it's pretty sad that employment equals worth so often. I mean, really, many people don't even like their work, so it shouldn't be a factor in determing the value you'll place on someone.

My parents have five children and people always ask them what the kids are doing. They used to list us by professions, one manager, two nurses, a social worker, and then they'd stumble a bit with the youngest. While we're constantly astounded by how much she's learning, paid employment may never be in the cards for her. She once told us she's retired, so they used that for a bit, but it became awkward. So, my dad decided to ask her what she thought. She decided quite quickly what it is that she does and what it is that she felt should be said about that. They now proudly say they have one manager, two nurses, one social worker, and one superstar. We're all pretty envious of her, it's a sweet gig and she's really that awesome.

Andrea S. said...

Ditto to Janelle's first two paragraphs.

gimptude.com said...

I'm glad the clerk joined in, but I am always frustrated by the assumption that working=worth as you already pointed out in the comments. I wrote a post about it on tumblr here: http://sasha-smithy.tumblr.com/post/36297593616/when-people-tell-me-how-great-it-is-that-im-working

Apologies, if it's bad form to link things.

gimptude.com said...

I'm glad the clerk joined in, but I am always frustrated by the assumption that working=worth as you already pointed out in the comments. I wrote a post about it on tumblr here: http://sasha-smithy.tumblr.com/post/36297593616/when-people-tell-me-how-great-it-is-that-im-working

Apologies, if it's bad form to link things.

Andrea S. said...

Gimptude, thank you for providing your link -- I liked it (agreed with it) and feel it was perfectly on topic here.

liz said...

I love that clerk.

Nan said...

We always need allies!!! Hooray for allies! This work thing is certainly something parents who stay at home bang up against too. As a mom who stayed at home I got incredibly frustrated and angry at how little value was placed on what I did and even angrier at how I let it affect my sense of self. It was a chores, an absolute chores, to remind myself that what I was doing was valuable. And then we really need to remember that sometimes just what I am BEING (me, or anyone else) is valuable as well.

joanne said...

nice! I try to take the "high road" knowing that "justice" will eventually come to light....sounds like this was one of those moments. Enjoy the beer :)

Colleen said...

Dear Dave:

I love that clerk too!

But where do these women get off thinking that they can judge anyone like that? Judging and sterotyping are such dangerous activities. They lead to scapegoating, exclusion and even physical harm. Our society seems to have a high tolerance for this type of behaviour - it greatly concerns me.

On another note - it made me smile to think of you rolling along loaded to the hilt with beer. I am thinking now there is man who intends to kick back and enjoy himself!

Colleen

Anonymous said...

excellant

Shan said...

I think it's rude to judge anybody on how they spend their money, whether that person is funded or not. It's none of their damn business. Anyhow the government has auditors for just that purpose - I'm going to trust that they will do what they can to protect society from abuse of public funds, and I'm more worried about corporations than I am about the odd "welfare case" who buys a few beers.

Heaton said...

I like two things about this. First, that the clerk is a standup guy. Second, that you handled yourself with a lot more grace than I probably would. I suspect I would save something snarky, or (more likely) dwell on it for several hours and then come up with a zinger.

Well done on you, well done on your liquor ally!

Princeton Posse said...

Love it! Reminds me of a time when a lawyer called me and began asking questions. I said perhaps you should talk to my lawyer. There was stunned silence..."you have a lawyer?"

Kristine said...

Those are the moments when I wish I could read the other person's thought bubble. :)

I find myself frequently trying to insert my career early in a conversation with someone I've just met. It bothers me that I do it, because it's like I'm trying to prove my worth by my employment status, and in theory, I believe that's ridiculous. But I still do it. I can tell myself that it's just a way of sharing something I'm passionate about, but I know that's only partly true. I do it because people look at me differently when they realize I have a "meaningful" career. I wish I didn't care....

Cindy B. said...

Unrelated to your present post but remembering how you felt when your dog was sick, I thought of you when I read this tonight:

http://www.lettersofnote.com/2012/11/she-is-my-best-friend.html

Belinda said...

Cindi B, I loved the dog letter on Letters of Note and posted it to my FB page.

Webster said...

While I think how the clerk handled the situation was great, and made a good point to the nosy women behind you, you make a better point in your comment. It is no body's business how you spend your money. Whether the beer was for yourself or for gifts for the holidays, the money was yours to spend. If it was your dollars from the government, then it would mean cooler nights with the heat turned down. Again - your sacrifice to make. Nobody's business.

Anonymous said...

I use to be proud of my vocation. It was hard earned. It was not of great status but had effect on many, hopefully positive. I was educated and included. Due to an accident I am disabled. I am amazed at how much of my idenity has been loss with the loss of my job, license, abilities and interests. I have seen myself being devalued in society, but worse by those I know, and some I love. There is general sense that you don't contribute anymore. Sadly it is somewhat true. It would be nice to say I have found other avenues of abilities or untapped talents, but no. It is frustrating to have assumptions made that because I am on disability that I am not intelligent, or perhaps lazy, or lacking ambition. Been there and done that.

I also find there is a lot of judgement around the spending of the money I do get. Because I have to say "no" so often to things due to funds, when I say "yes" others feel they have a right to judge my activity or purchase. If it doesn't fit in their value system then I shouldn't be spending my limited funds on "this".

I am profoundly saddened that my life has been reduced to "living off the government". If I could take that one moment back, that one moment that changed my life forever, I would.

I can't.

Belinda said...

Wow, Anonymous, (the one just before this,) your voice is something you still have and it is deeply powerful. I don't know how it is going to be used, but I know that it will be.

Dave Hingsburger said...

Cindi B: thank you a thousand times for putting in the link, the letter moved me to ... well I'm still crying.

Cindy B. said...

Here's another dog letter - sad but sort of cute - I have always loved Bob Hope.

http://www.lettersofnote.com/2012/11/with-deepest-sympathy-fido.html

Belly (Liz McLennan) said...

I love that clerk. This moment. That silence.