Back when I was young and clueless, I swore I'd never turn into a cranky middle-aged woman. Sure, I was powerless to stop the aging process, but crankiness was within my control. Right?
The day started in an ordinary-enough way. I went to my exercise place for a workout. There, a robot voice orders exercisers to move from one station to the next. I progressed along until I came up to a woman who ignored the robot. Head down, she pumped her arms in a way that signaled she wasn't about to quit her machine. Fine. Rather than stand behind her and tap my foot, I moved to the station beyond her. Half a minute later, she got off her machine, saw I was where she wanted to go, and turned flustered and fluttery. "Oh!" she said, dismayed. "I guess I'll have to move this way," thus casting me as The Villain and herself as Miss Adaptable.
Really, lady? I thought. What the hell?!
Did I say the above? No. Those of us raised in the offer-it-up-to-God school of accepting slings and arrows, sigh a lot.
Next I went to a new grocery store to buy its baked-in-house, whole-wheat pita bread. The bakery department was out of whole-wheat, so I picked up a package of the regular. Did I sigh? Reader, you would have thought I had an upper respiratory-tract infection.
At the register, the clerk rattled off the standard, "Did you find everything you were looking for," and that innocent if rote remark unleashed my inner crank.
"I came here for your whole-wheat pita bread, but you didn't have any. I had to take regular." The sawmill-like whine in my voice registered, and I huffed at the injustice of a store without whole-wheat pita.
The young man's eyes widened, and he took a step backward. Supermarkets train clerks to ask customers if they found but what were looking for but fail to teach them to handle any response that isn't "Yes."
The clerk's surprise was laced with something that looked like fear. What's more, his teenage, clueless self probably hated whole wheat and thought I'd lucked out to get the regular.
Did I make the clerk pay for the store's failure to train him? Please! I'm not completely unreasonable. Yet.
Once home, I discovered one of my daughters had used a white, lace trimmed guest towel to remove eye make-up. (I'm aware lace-trimmed guest towels scream middle-aged. So?) Said daughter had already departed for her own house and didn't see me stomp around for five minutes. (The stomping made up for the machine I had to skip at the exercise place but I didn't appreciate that fact at the time.) After much stomping and soaking of the towel in OxiClean, I composed a thoughtful email that may have mentioned respect for things bought with parents' hard-earned cash. I may have signed off with, "Why can't I have anything nice for myself?" Yeah, yeah, cue the violins.
My inner crank is resting now, but she's ready to emerge when needed.
This post is a cautionary tale. If you don't hog exercise machines, keep whole grains close at hand, and remember guest towels exist only to dry the tips of spanking-clean fingers, you'll never have to encounter my crankyboots self. Then again, I'm open to being irked in other ways.
Tell me I'm not alone in scaring the kid at the register. What brings out your inner crank?