Wednesday, March 18, 2020

How To Cut Slack

“Excuse me,” the voice says behind me in the grocery store, but in that way that clearly means, “Get out of my way, idiot.”

I’m somewhat of a big dude, tall anyway, and I’ve always been a bit self-conscious of my size, so without thinking I take a step closer to the produce to let her pass (even though there was plenty of room), and she does without making eye contact or acknowledging me in any other way.

It’s right afterwards, of course, that one’s politeness passes and one is left with that sense of having been pushed around, when the resentment rises and one begins rehearsing all manner of scathing replies, each more devastating than the last, none of them sufficient to cool your umbrage.

But then I look around: at the empty shelves, at the stock people furiously restocking, the tension in everyone’s shoulders and the worry in their eyes, the six feet everyone is trying to keep from everyone else; and I take a deep breath, then another, and try to give that lady the benefit of the doubt.

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