|I hate it when people tell me to smile (standard:non fiction, 873 words)|
|Author: kyspartan||Added: Mar 22 2002||Views/Reads: 2465/1||Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)|
|You're a mean one...Ms. Grinch|
The other day I was going through the line at the grocery store that I always go to. The checkout girl, whose nametag labeled her as “Mandi”, had to be all of 16 years old, and she was chatting away to the woman in front of me, who had her three-year-old daughter with her in the cart. Mandi was telling the woman all about her niece, who was also three years old and how she likes to baby-sit her because she just loves little children and blah blah blah blah. The little girl started acting up a little bit, repeatedly begging for some candy while her poor mother tried to unload her cart, settle down her daughter and at least pretend to be listening to the babble coming out of the overly talkative Kroger employee all at the same time. I felt sorry for the mom. I could tell that she was trying to be polite to Chatty Mandi, but that she really just wanted to pay for her groceries and get out of there before her daughter went ballistic. Listening to this exchange as I loaded my own groceries onto the conveyer belt behind the stressed out mom, I realized with dread that it would be my turn next to listen to Mandi. I don't consider myself an unfriendly person, but I am not one who usually chats it up with strangers unless I have to. I also don't walk around with a smile always on my face, unless I am truly pleased about something. On this day I was in a particularly foul mood, because my mother-in-law had called that morning to say she was coming for a visit in the afternoon, and wouldn't it be lovely if I would make some of those yummy ham and cheese hors d'oeuvres that she likes so much? The house was a mess, the kids all needed baths, my husband had to work so he couldn't help me, and to top it off I had to go to the grocery store. Stressed out mom paid, scuttled out of there, and it was my turn at bat. I busied myself with getting out my debit card and shuffling through my purse, trying to avoid conversation if at all possible, but I knew I wouldn't be that lucky. “So, how are you doing today?” I mumbled something resembling “Fine, thanks”, but I don't think she heard me because she was already going on about how she wasn't supposed to work today, but then Jim called in sick and so they asked her to work. But she really didn't mind because she was saving up money for a car and she didn't have any plans for today anyway and yadda yadda yadda. I must have had a sour expression on my face, because when she looked at me she stopped her diatribe in mid-stream, gave me a patronizing look and said, “Smile! It can't be all that bad.” Now, I hate it when people tell me what to do, and I especially hate it when someone tells me to smile. Don't tell me to cheer up. If I want to be miserable, I will be miserable. Maybe I'm not smiling because my cat just died, or a friend let me down, or my mother-in-law is coming for an unexpected visit. I am not your problem to fix. Some people just can't stand to see someone who doesn't look happy, and feel that it is their mission to fix everyone's problems. Well, most of the time I would rather be left alone, thank you very much, and I especially don't want words of advice from an overly talkative, annoying sixteen year old who has no idea what is going on in my life. I tried to think of something really sarcastic to say to her, because as I mentioned, I was in an extremely foul mood that day. But, nothing quickly came to mind, so I decided it would probably be best for everyone if I just dropped it, paid for my groceries, and went along my not-so-merry way. Besides, it probably wouldn't be very fair of me to take out my wrath on poor Mandi, who was after all just trying to be friendly and cheerful, and would probably cry if I told her how I really felt about her demand that I smile. So, I relented and gave her what she wanted: a smile. Granted, an insincere, closed mouth, smirky kind of smile, but a smile nonetheless. She smiled back at me as if to say, “See, that wasn't so hard”, handed me my receipt, told me to have a nice day, and then directed her attention to her next victim, an older gentleman in line behind me. As I made a run for it I could hear her resuming the same conversation she had with me, which he had undoubtedly already heard. “And how are you doing today, sir? Isn't it a beautiful day outside? I wasn't supposed to work today, but then Jim called in sick and so they asked me to work. I don't mind though. I'm saving up for a car and...” I wonder if she'll have to tell him to smile? Tweet
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