Posts Tagged Shopping

About Face!

Excuse my logic but death stares don’t always mean what you think.  In these troubled times, people from all walks of life are finding themselves beset by problems, sometimes overwhelming ones.  As such, may people whose lives haven’t turned out the way they had dreamed as youngsters will often give off negative vibes.  They may appear angry, tired, sad, disappointed or just downright evil.  Yet I am here to tell you that you should give these forlorn souls a second chance. 

Here are some examples of people whose paths I’ve crossed whose faces belied the soul that was within.

Some years ago, my daughters were in a local softball league.  One of their teammates, a tall lanky girl and quite a good player had a father who would come to almost all of the games. He was a worker for the local parks department so would usually show up in his work clothes.  This you will see later may have factored into his demeanor.  This father always wore a look of utter unhappiness.  As each game of the season was played I would find myself always keeping a distance from this man and praying that he wouldn’t approach me.  Then on one fateful day, he arrived for the game, a little late and walked over to the first base line and stood right next to me.  I could feel my heart palpitating.  About midway through the game, my daughter made a good defensive play in the field.  This man and I had never yet exchanged a single solitary word in all of the previous games.  “Is that your daughter?” he asked.  “She’s good.”

I turned and faced him.  His face had morphed into something completely different than I had ever seen.  He was smiling.  No, it wasn’t a gigantic ear to ear job but it was a smile nevertheless.  We struck up a conversation.  In the ensuing games, we always stood side by side. He turned out to be a really nice guy. I suspect, though I never asked him that he had to work very hard. Remember I mentioned that he always showed up to the games in work clothes.  I believe by the time he got to those late afternoon games he was probably exhausted and as such found it difficult to smile. I haven’t seen this man now in more than a decade but I will never forget him and how wrong my first impression was.

Then there was this woman who worked at an area Dunkin Donuts.  Her name was Ruth but soon after we had encountered her several times, my wife and I had appropriately (so we thought) nicknamed her “Ruthless.”

A typical exchange at the ordering counter would go something like this.  I would ask Ruth for an everything bagel with butter. She would scowl at me and ask in a screechy, cackling, witch-like voice “Do you want it plain or do you want it toasted?”  Now I am in and was back then in relatively good physical shape.  Up to that point in time I had endured my fair share of fights with other guys and usually emerged victorious.  Yet I can tell you unequivocally that Ruth frightened the hell out of me.  It got so that I would send my wife in to order figuring that she wouldn’t attack another woman but might be prone to attack me.

Time passed and we noticed Ruth no longer worked at the Dunkin Donuts. One day we were in a parking lot near that business and we heard someone calling to us. It was Ruth.  She approached us with a radiant smile.  We had never seen her smile before.  She told us how happy she was to no longer work at the Dunkin Donuts because people always treated her shabbily due to the fact that she was a white American working for people from India and some bigoted customers accused her of being some kind of traitor.  She was so gracious to us when she met us in the parking lot that we couldn’t believe it was the same person who had terrified us during so many morning coffee runs.

While on the topic of angry looking woman, there was another woman who always dropped her children off at the grammar school that my children attended.   To say her face could stop a clock was putting it mildly.  I think her expression could have made time march backwards.  My wife and I both agreed that she was scary.  Yet years later we had occasion to sit at a table with her at a school function.  She was extremely personable, self effacing and quite open in describing her life.  When we told her that we had been scared of her she burst out laughing.  She turned out to be one of the loveliest people we ever met.

The last example I offer of the bad face/good guy variety is a man who lives across the street from a woman who I do some part time work for.  He used to always insult the woman’s dilapidated looking mailbox. Also on one occasion he gave me a bad impression when I was bragging to him about the wonderful chiropractor I go to.  He sarcastically observed that the best chiropractor was “staying healthy.”  In the ensuing months I always shied away from this man but then due to our close proximity it became inevitable that we interact.  When he would joke about the old mailbox I would joke back instead of taking it to heart.  Gradually a friendship was forged.  I have learned over time that he endured some tough times during his working years.  I have also learned that he is actually a very nice guy.

This you can’t judge a book by its cover phenomenon in reading peoples’ faces works both ways though.

We knew this young boy years ago who had a very attractive mother.  We liked the mother then and still do.  However one day, the boy uttered a line that I will never forget. We told him how beautiful his mother was and he quipped “Oh sure, but behind all that pretty makeup she can be a real terror!”  Right then I realized the truth to that line which was the title of a successful television show.  Kids really do say the darndest things.     



Copyright 2012; Greg S.









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Rude Awakenings

Excuse my logic but aren’t some forms of behavior rude and downright crass?  I have personally been on the receiving end of all the following types of gaffes in etiquette but have survived to tell the tale.

Listed for your entertainment are human foibles and rude behaviors that can best be described as (excuse the play on words) – “Rude-imentary”.


  • The person who is on the self checkout lane at the supermarket.  The sign says “15 items or less”.  They have a dozen bottles of Vitamin Water but count this as one item.  They have six containers of yogurt, all the same flavor so they count this as one item.  You get the picture.  In reality they are checking out 40 or 50 items but they’re in no rush and figure you shouldn’t be in a rush either.
  • People who during big snowstorms put garbage cans to mark their parking spot on the street.  This isn’t like when someone reserves a seat at the theater and the person it’s being reserved for will return in 10 or 15 minutes. The snowstorm people think they are entitled to have that parking space unoccupied the entire day while they are at work.  Newsflash to these people – you may own your house, but you don’t own the street!
  • How about dog owners who let their canine pee or poop on your property and don’t bother to clean up afterwards.  I once saw this guy allow his dog to poop on my parents’ front yard.  When I caught him in the act, he treated me as if I owed him an apology!

  • This one is my personal least favorite.  Someone you know has the cold or flu, invites you over and then doesn’t tell you about their illness until after you’ve come in close contact with them.
  • People who borrow things and think they don’t have to return them.  I have had a DVD of my favorite movie (“Swordfish”), other DVDs, a fishing net, and cash borrowed and never returned.  On top of this, I was dating a young lady years ago and she borrowed my car just to go to the corner store and buy some gum – so she claimed. She didn’t return the car for 3 days!
  • People who can best be described as “one uppers.”  Whenever you tell a story they have a story on a similar subject that tops yours.
  • People who say “I told you so.”  Need I expound on this one?
  • People who leave their cell phones on when attending religious services and then it rings and destroys everyone’s concentration.
  • Road Ragers.  You simply forget to put on your blinker.  We’re all human and make small mistakes. That fat head behind you blasts his horn, flashes you the finger and practically runs you off the road.  Then to top it all off when he passes you, you spot a United We Stand bumper sticker on his car. 
  • Airheaded people who pull up to the exact change lane at the toll, and then take five minutes trying to find money they should have had counted before arriving at the toll.
  • This last act of rudeness you may have never seen, however, I have.  I was sitting in a gynecology clinic waiting room while overseas. There were many pregnant women waiting to be seen.  In the middle of all of them is this man and he’s smoking a cigarette.  Maybe he mistook the pregnant women for obese women and thought he was at the fat farm!


Copyright 2011; Greg S.

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