Saturday, August 09, 2008

All Out

At the airport, as we were preparing to leave, I was standing in line to get my boarding pass. Linus was strapped to my back, kicking me in the kidneys, strangling me with one hand and ripping my hair out with the other. I'm digging through the carry-on I have over my shoulder even though it weighs at least 30 pounds, when I feel a tap on my shoulder.

"Can I cut in front of you?" says the woman behind me who has just cut the rest of the line to reach the spot behind me.

I just stared at her, unable to respond. She explained, "I just have to ask a question about my son. It won't take long."

I continued to stare recalling the scene I just witnessed. It involved a line dividing strap that came loose and snapped her in the back. The person who accidentally released it with a bump of a bag was apologizing profusely as she was carrying on about how badly it has hurt her. A strap I might add that wouldn't have hit her if she hadn't squeezed in that spot in order to bypass the others waiting in line.

She repeats her question a little louder this time, "Can I cut in front of you?"

I looked at her and in a fashion very much unlike myself, replied, "No. We've been waiting in line and I'm next."

My reasoning was simple. I was ready to move. Linus was ready to move. I wanted to get my boarding passes, dump my checked luggage, and move on to the next leg of our journey.

Perhaps if I hadn't just witnessed her rudeness to all the other waiting people, or perhaps if Linus hadn't been kicking me in the kidneys, or perhaps if I wasn't feeling empty of generosity, I probably would have said yes. But I didn't. I said no. She asked, didn't she?

I'd like to say this story ends here. She patiently waited her turn while I attained my boarding pass, but it doesn't. Somehow you knew it didn't.

She proceeds to rant at me. "How very generous of you. You are just so kind. My son is over there in the other line and I just need to know if we need to be in this line. I've waited in line too you know. You are just all kindness, aren't you?"

Ignoring her the best I could, I prepared to move as my turn approached. Out of the corner of my eye, I see she's gone around to the exit area and is speaking with the agent at the counter. I inhale deeply and wait. Honestly, it doesn't take more than a couple of minutes so I just wait. But instead of letting it go at that, she then walks by me and sneers, "I didn't need you anyway."

Let me tell you, I did not regret my decision one bit. A person like that deserves none of my kindness or my patience. I have limited reserves of both of those these days, and she deserved none of them.


Lesha said...

I was once in the line at the supermarket to check out, alone with G, who was audibly fussy and getting fussier. I was next in line and this older woman comes up to me and asks if she can cut in front of me, she only had a few things to check out. I didn't have that full of a basket either, and really in baby time, I saw even that short amount of delay being just enough time for G to explode. So I said no. She got a bit pissy with me, but hey, I've got my own issues and she was able bodied enough to stand in line. I think she figured just because she was old(er) I'd oblige. But I figured as a woman she's likely enough to have kids and would have realized I needed to get out of there too.


I don't think there's anything wrong with thinking of yourself before others sometimes. Good for you.

Coco said...

good for you Abby. Sometimes I think that people don't notice the 20 lbs appendage kicking and fussing and driving us crazy. Can we get a break too.

Chelsea + Jonathan said...

Jonathan and I were discussing this situation and we decided that next time you should try the Harvey Karp (I think that's his name... happy baby guy) approach and show this lady that you understand what she's going through. You know - get down on the floor and say something like, "You want to go NOW NOW NOW you no wait you go NOW." Then tell her to get back in line and she will! It's magical! :)

canape said...

I'm impressed that you didn't trip her as she walked by.

Heidi said...

You go girl! I struggle with this very issue. I like to think I'm "being nice" but more often than not I'm angry with myself minutes later for giving in to someone more assertive or not saying what I really felt. (For example, do I ever return food at a restaurant...regardless of how cold the food or screwed up the order...No!) I commend you for speaking your mind. And after just returning from 2 consectutive trips, I am convinced that there is no place on earth more annoying than an airport!

WaBilly said...

Abercrombie and FE-ATCH. I was struggling with Lily the other day as we were going in the Time Warner Cable Store, with stroller and fussy baby and such. And as I opened the door, two way adult people (not together) approached the door, did not hold it for me, and barged past to get ahead of me in line. Floored me. I'd never. Anyway - I've developed an imagninary scenario for this kind of thing to replay in my head which makes me feel better/less homicidal - that the folks are just busy, and I have no idea what's going on in their lives. Maybe they cut me off and are speeding because they have to "get to the hospital fast to deliver a baby," "have to pee really really bad," "sick kid in the car," "catch a flight" etc etc. It helps - a little.

Octamom said...

Oh.Wow.--and good for you!!!


Susie said...

It's amazing to me how some people think that they are more important than everyone else. To ask to cut is one thing but to then chastise you for saying "no" is beyond rude. Let's hope that Karma delayed her plane.