Woe Is She

January 16th, 2010 by Harrumpher Leave a reply »

alas.jpgOh, self-pity, how inviting you are.

Yesterday in the grocery, I was smile to glower with a splendid object lesson for us all. Facing my fellow shopper and fellow human, I was all too aware that in my weaker moments, I too can roll in the pleasures of feeling wronged.

The dour, dolorous dame did surprise me. Coming up to one of numerous open checkouts with only one person at the conveyor belt, I did notice the other woman and her cart. She clearly was not in line though, being perpendicular to the check-out chute, holding and examining goods in the displays between the two adjacent checkout stations. Plus, she has not approached the line much less put anything on the open half of the belt.

A few seconds after I took my unloading post, she pushed her cart into the side of mine. When she said, “Excuse me!” in a hostile tone, I assumed she was trying in a socially clumsy way to apologize.

Not on your life, rather my life. She had just received her slight, for which she may have a jones.

She then whipped back the cart, cut right behind my behind and muttered in very nasty tones that she had been in line. Continuing to be foolishly unaware of what was really happening, I said pleasantly that she was welcome to that spot in line, that I was in no hurry.

She’d have none of it. She wanted neither civil interaction, nor a resolution to her stated issue. She wanted to feel wronged. She wanted to feel sorry for herself. She wanted to blame someone else for something.

I should have known from her face. We don’t get so many frown lines so deeply gouged without considerable repetition. Here was a human who lived for disappointment and may even set up woeful circumstances. For these few, victimhood calls.

Up front, I am not the world’s  jolliest person. I am known to think ill of drivers who do not signal, children and adults who reach across the table instead of asking, and other intentional social criminals. Yet, this sad shopper appeared on the one hand to be about my age but on the other because of her overly practiced frowns, pursed lips and furrowed brow to be much, much older.

When I meet those so intent on suffering, I have to wonder what in her experience has led to such a love of self-pity. Was it the proverbial browbeating parents? Did she have relationship or career reversals early and often? Did she fall into fantasies that pathetic is noble or romantic?

Regardless, she is a good cautionary tales on the hoof. May we each age gracefully.

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