I was in the grocery store – a local Co-op no less. The cashier and I say hi, I hand the bag I brought to the bagger and say hi to her, too. What happened next totally caught me by surprise.
The bagger says: “This is really gross. This bag has mold in it. Um, as a courtesy, bring a different bag next time.”
I look in the bag and at the bottom there is, indeed, a 1 inch round dried old mold mark. I had no idea as I don’t usually examine the bottom of my grocery bags.
She proceeds to show the cashier. “Isn’t it gross?” she asks in a flattened tone of entitlement.
I have never prepared myself for, nor expected, patronization in a grocery store. As the whole situation started to congeal, the fire in me started to rise. I hadn’t bought much so the packaging of my items in the disgusting bag I brought happened quickly.
I said goodbye to the cashier and turned to the bagger. “Take care” she said in a serious tone. I laughed at her. It was either that or say what was on my mind. I opted to take the high road – I called her manager.
I told the manager what had happened, without embellishment. I then suggested she could use some coaching on what real courtesy is.
So there are a couple of things about this situation I want to say.
First of all, I cannot stand when people say stupid things as if they are not stupid. It makes me crazy. “As a courtesy…” implies I was being discourteous which, of course, is impossible as I had no idea the offending substance even existed.
Secondly, I vented to a couple of friends who both suggested this young woman was a gift to me, that there was clearly something I could learn about myself from this.
People, let me be very clear on this: some things are worth being pissed off about and are valid to be pissed off about without the need to analyze out of existence because of some imagination about how “enlightened” people behave.
I’m a deeply heart-centered chick. I trust myself. And I have a lot of fire. I don’t need to examine my inner self to find out what the deeper meaning of my pissed-off-ed-ness is. The woman was snooty and patronizing. Do I think she is a bad person? No. I don’t even know her. Do I wish her ill? Again, no. Is her behavior acceptable? No. Because it was unfair and oblivious.
We have the right and the responsibility to call out unfairness. If I internalize her behavior and make it about my lesson, then she gets to continue being a condescending bitch to people. That’s not good for anyone, including her.
Too often people question their hearts with their heads and then use analysis to neutralize what the heart feels. I trust my heart. And I don’t judge it. It’s not cool for people to be power trippy and lame. We’re a community. It’s part of the deal that we are affected by, and affect, each other.
If the bagger woman ever learns anything, whatever, that’s her path and not my job. What is my job is to not neutralize my heart because of some idea I have about how I should behave as some conscious person. I had every right to pissed because how she behaved is part of a deeper imbalance in the world that is, simply put, lame.
I don’t take on every single thing. I take on what is put in my heart to take on. I don’t always like it, but I trust it.
I think the world is as messed up as it is because people shut down their hearts. Who with an open heart can walk by a starving animal or a homeless person or some other injustice and not do something? It can’t be done!
I don’t believe that others are always a gift for us. I believe that sometimes we are a gift for others. An open heart will reveal which it is at any given moment. Today maybe I was that bagger’s gift.
Listen to your heart. Trust yourself. Don’t make the fire of justice in you disappear because you are trying to neutralize yourself into some idea you have about what a spiritual person should look like.