Thursday, August 7, 2008

A Letter To All the Old People

Dear Old People,

Yeah, I called you old. I don't give a crap if you're offended. I have encountered some of the nastiest, inconsiderate, mean spirited, dimwitted, and completely clueless old people in the past few days and I'm writing to all of you because I'm PISSED.

In actuality, I'd like to start with two old people SCREAMING at each other, about a month and half back, in the Shop-Rite parking lot. You two scared the shit out of me and made me afraid to be old. Want to know why? You were arguing over whether or not one of you was too close to the other and was inhibiting the opening of the car trunk. I really thought that you, old man, in the Honda civic covered with "I support Bush" stickers and "75th airborne" emblems was going whip out a piece and shoot you, old lady, with the Honda CR-V and plenty of room to open your back door and load your groceries. Luckily, the handicapped parking spot that you, old man, did NOT have a tag or plate for opened up before you had the opportunity reach under your seat and teach old lady a lesson.

I'm definitely dumping my Honda before I hit 65.

Now, let's move to the lady in the Wal-Mart. (Yeah, I shop at Wal-Mart. Yeah, I know it's bad. But their notebooks were a nickel each!! I have a year's worth of lessons to write!!) Lady, you caught me at the wrong time. I had just been standing in line behind to two most inconsiderate teenage boys ever. The first one would not shut his friggin' trap about his American Express gift card that he got for graduation and the second was buying gum. Yeah, gum. Just gum. Um, EXPRESS LANE, HELLO!?!?! But that wasn't the worst of it. The worst of it wasn't even when gum-boy decided that he couldn't decide on which flavor his girlfriend would like the most and changed his selection 6 times. Nope, that wasn't the worst of it that primed me for you. The worst of it was that dumb and dumber would not move their sorry asses up so that I could take all of the nickel notebooks and new lunchbags off my 3 year old son, who was squished in the "large" part of the cart, and put them on the belt. And would you, old lady in the Wal-Mart, like to know why I couldn't put them on the belt? I mean besides the fact that they were in my way. Because gum-boy kept moving his pack of gum- the selection of the second- back towards the end of the belt so there was NO ROOM for my crap!

And then you appeared.

Amex and Gum-boy paid and I started to be rung up by the ever so friendly cashier who apparently does not know the word "hello". Why exactly did I check off on the credit card machine that she was friendly?!?! I had loaded all my stuff and placed the divider after my things so that whomever followed could load their crap after me. I saw you approach and I braced myself. See, old people like my kids. They love the fact that my daughter has carrot-red hair and that my son is just so darn cute. They smile at them. They talk to them. They ask their names. (That's the old people ask my kids, not vice versa.) Usually it's a pleasant experience that ends with my kids waving goodbye and smiling nicely at some very kind elderly man or woman or both. Not today. You approached. Gave me and my kids the once over and I don't know what you decided but it clearly was not to be friendly or nice. I think maybe you gave my daughter, with no shoes on- cuz that's how we roll in Wal-Mart, the once over and a brief smile. But that's it. Then you loaded your crap. I really did not care, I needed to get out of Wal-Mart.

I noticed you had quite the full cart. Not surprising, considering how inexpensive and diverse Wal-Mart can be. You had cleaning supplies, some tissues, I think maybe even a few clothing items, definitely socks. And painting canvases. How nice. You've acquired a hobby. I imagined you painting bowls of fruit or your dog, Pugsly (my own name creation for your annoying yappy dog) or maybe even some landscape from your backyard. You loaded on two or three canvases before your husband or your partner or maybe your sugar daddy came over and told you he was almost done at customer service. WTH?!?! You don't walk away from customer service until you're done!! Whatever! I turned my attention to my own stuff. I had to pay. I swiped. I pushed my pin in. The "lovely" cashier handed me one of my bags and I walked over to place it on top of three year old son and then returned to my spot in front of the credit card machine because MY transaction was NOT finished. I still had bags to grab and I think I even needed to still push enter. BUT you were in my way! I nudged my cart a bit to get in there but you held your ground. I moved my cart more and eeked my way in to finish MY transaction. The cashier haphazardly handed me my receipt and one of my last bags. I gestured to the bag of binders that she neglected to give me and just as she handed it to me you pushed me.

Oh yes you did!

You pushed me out of YOUR way and proceeded to check off something on the credit card machine. I hope you weren't saying the cashier greeted you because she most certainly did NOT. But yeah you pushed me. You pushed me into my cart. You pushed me out of your way. And when I looked at you for an 'excuse me' or an 'oh, I'm so sorry' I got nothing. You didn't even look at me. I believe I said to you, "Unbelievable" and walked away. I was so angry at you, inconsiderate-fruit bow painting-sock wearing-cleaning product buying-sugar daddy loving old lady, that I nearly rammed my cart into another mom with a new baby. See the havoc that you cause when you just don't give a crap when you're at Wal-Mart buying your fruit bowl canvases?

I forgot about you as best as I could, old lady in the Wal-Mart, but know that you drove me to drink my first soda in over a month! You are responsible for knocking me off the soda wagon!! I was doing so great and then you pushed me off the edge into diet soda oblivion. Bitch.

Now, for you, Speedy, at the Burger King. You think that Bluetooth makes me think you're not as old as you really are?!? Oh no! I see you. I saw you at the counter as I threw away the plethora of garbage from a lunch date out with my children and my mother. I saw you prepping your coffee in your cardboard cup carrier. I saw you scurrying about getting your Splenda and half-n-half. I thought I was prepared for you.

I was so wrong.

You're short, Speedy. Maybe you decided to let loose today and didn't wear your glasses and that's why you didn't see my son- who is really only a few inches shorter than you. Maybe you were focused on keeping the coffees steady so that you could get to your Buick and give them to your massive dog that you had locked in there with no windows down. Maybe you just didn't give a shit.

I'm going with option C.

I'm trying really hard to teach my kid to be responsible and polite and clean up after himself. Maybe you don't have kids. I don't know. Honestly, after today, I really don't care. I was trying to teach my son how to clean up after himself and throw away his empty cup before we got into my car. Which, lucky for me, was parked right next to your Buick that took up TWO spaces because you parked OVER the lines! My son is only 3.5 years old. He has not mastered the garbage cans that have doors on them so it takes him a moment or two. Clearly, you were in a rush. That was evidenced by your near sprint through the Burger King from the counter to the back door. But was it really necessary for you squeeze behind my son only to have to wait for me to get out of your way so you could get through the door?

Oh, it was.

After you plowed by my boy you decided that I was nothing more than your door-person and there for your convenience. I mean really, that's why you wear the Bluetooth, hands free and all, so that your hands are free to hold your cupholder full of coffees and your ugly white purse on your wrist. Right? I've been taught to respect my elders so I held the door for you. It didn't matter that my kid got his hand stuck in the door of the garbage can and cried out in pain as you made your way past me through your open doorway. You never stopped. Oh, wait, yes you did.
You stopped when you got to your car and proceeded to sit there for more than 5 minutes. Clearly In. A. Rush.

How do I know it was more than 5 minutes?

Because that's how long it took me and my mother to load my two kids into the car, buckle them, explain to my three year old that I just tossed his "happy meal" toy and then pacify him with the promise of a new toy at the supermarket. AND then I pulled out of my parking spot, making sure not to go near either one of your parking spots, and left the Burger King with a sour taste for Icee Lemonade and old people in my mouth.

I won't even go into the old guy in the Gold two-door Saturn coupe today who cut me off on the approach to the highway and then decided, "Oh, wait! I need to be on the far RIGHT, not far LEFT!" Stay in the middle next time or I'm ramming you!

Old people, I KNOW you are not representative of the entire elderly population. I have elderly people in my life that I love dearly and I know would never, ever, be as inconsiderate and nasty as you all have been. You happened into my life on the wrong days. You pushed the wrong buttons and you did the wrong things.

Maybe it's been me. Maybe I'm over sensitive these days. Summer is winding down and I'll be back at work. I should take comfort in the fact that I'll be working during the day when you all get on the bus and head to the supermarket and wander the aisles aimlessly taking far longer than you should inspecting a can of SPAM. I should remember that you have lived lives and experienced things that I possibly cannot dream of ever seeing and for that you deserve great respect. I should realize that while I am in the beginnings and middle of my adult life and life with a family, you are coming to the end of yours and for that you deserve compassion and consideration.

Old people, and not just the nasty few I've encountered lately, you do deserve respect and compassion and consideration. You deserve to get to inspect that can of SPAM or talking about whether you should get the Triscuits or the Ritz crackers for as long as you please. You have much to teach me and offer me. You have some fabulous stories and great jokes. You have incredible lessons and wonderful words of wisdom and love.

But the few old people that I've encountered lately have just screwed all the good old people over.

You were rude. Inconsiderate. Disrespectful. Nasty. Poor role models. And just down right mean.

I hate that I have this sour taste in my mouth. I hate that I actually said to my mother today, "God, the old people I've been around lately have been such jerks!" I hate that I actually wanted to say nasty words to almost every old person I encountered in these past few days. I hate that you made me feel that way.

Old people you need to be nice.

I know, someday I'll be old, too. But I'll remember you. (I hope) And I'll remember how you were nasty to me to my kids. I'll remember how you pushed me aside and plowed me down. I'll remember how you yelled at one another.

And I'll do my damnedest not to be like you.

With Kind Regards,

Mountain Momma
The lady with the two kids who glares at old people who are not related to her


Helen E.M. Wright said...

Did you feel better after writing this?

I felt your pain!

design by