This afternoon I went to a megastore that I hate shopping in but sometimes can’t avoid. The trip was to be quick as the only things on the shopping list were various fruits, lime juice, and packaged A-shirts that shall not be referred to as “wife beaters.”
The boyfriend and I cruised into the parking lot and I honed in on a spot. As I parked the car, some wild honking occurred behind me. I noticed a white car pulling in across the row but paid little attention. We walked indoors and I aimed directly for the men’s section to buy the packaged A-shirts, when the boyfriend noted that someone was following us. All I heard was a mutter mutter mutter teach him some respect.
“This is an interesting maneuver,” said the boyfriend, referring to my beeline shopping technique.
“Are you talking to me?” A little man with an Italian accent popped in front of us with his young son in tow. He was visibly pissed off and wild-eyed.
“I was not talking to you,” said the boyfriend.
The man walked off with his son and I went back to browsing the shirts for my size. But the man came back.
He approached the boyfriend, wound up like a spring. “Did you not see my turn signal on? I was waiting for that parking spot.”
“No, sir.” I said. “I did not see your parking spot.”
“Well, that’s just great.” He walked off again with his son. I reached for a package of shirts and he was back, again addressing the boyfriend. “You need to learn how to drive.”
“I did not see your turn signal,” I said. “I’m sorry, sir, but there’s nothing I can do about it now.” He looked like he wanted to hit the boyfriend and I debated calling for security or pointing out that aggression isn’t exactly the best way to teach another respect. Nor was his methodology a great model for his young son who stood behind him seeming quite embarassed.
“Oh you didn’t? Well. Well…” He turned around and stomped off again.
Before he returned. Again. To refer to us as crackerjack something or others.
“Go away, sir,” said the boyfriend.
He did eventually, but not before pacing about and mumbling to himself about how disrespectful and stupid we must be, since I so purposely aimed to single-handedly ruin his day by stealing a parking space. It immediately occurred to me that the man refused to address me, the real offender, because I was a woman and for whatever reason he wouldn’t have felt right showing such aggression to a woman. He was so angry he probably didn’t know what to say or do.
We went about our shopping half certain that the man would pop out of an aisle to kick our disrespectful asses, and I wondered whether or not he was having a bad day or really was a raging asshole with entitlement issues.
I paid for my groceries and we left, but not without checking my car for dents or key scrapes. Unfortunately, I will probably think about that man all damned day.