We had a couple of packages that we had to mail off so we got in the line at the post office. As we got closer we noticed that there were signs up at each wicket and in other strategic positions. The signs indicated that it was CASH ONLY because their debit and credit lines were down. We quickly checked our cash, found that between us we'd definitely have enough. The fellow in front of us, looked at the signs and looked anxious. Really anxious. We figured that, probably, he was worried that he didn't have enough money.
When he got up to the wicket, he spoke briefly to the woman, and then slammed his fist down on the counter. Everyone jumped. Everyone tensed. The fellow at the wicket had his head bowed, his eyes screwed shut and even so it was possible to see that tears were making their way out.
"That's what happens when you are so fucking stupid you can't read!" he said. Then he turned on his heel and strode out of the store.
He left behind him the scent of self loathing and self hatred.
He left behind him a line up of people who would have helped.
He left behind him people behind the counter and in the line up that wished, somehow, they could have known what he needed.
He hadn't asked.
He'd taken the chance that the signs said something about something that didn't matter.
One of the most important skill that you need to learn is how to navigate a world when you don't have all the skills or abilities needed.
When we came out of the post office we saw him sitting in his car. He had clearly waited until he was calm in order to drive away. He started his car just as we were passing in front of him. I didn't know what to do but I did it anyways. I looked, I caught his eye. I waved. Friendly like. He looked a bit startled and then, after a pause, waved back.
I didn't want him to think that I thought what he thought I thought.
Because I didn't.