I try to be positive. Knowing firsthand the power of a compliment, I try to give them freely. I also try to smile a lot. I am not the woman in the grocery store who has steam coming out of her ears when shopping carts nearly collide. Rather, I’m the woman who walks down the aisle and makes eye contact with people and smiles at them—whether or not our carts crash. I talk to the people around me when I eat out at my regular steak place. I even let an older couple whom I see on occasion repeatedly call me Joan the other night without correcting them. I wave people ahead on the road, letting them sneak a left turn in traffic before I take my right, and if I get waved on I make sure I put my hand up in thanks and acknowledgment. I even put my hand up to say thanks after making a lane change in heavy traffic on the highway.
But I am also a teacher, a believer in the educable moment. Even at Lord and Taylor.
I had two coupons this afternoon—one specifically for $15 off any pair of shoes— when I made the pilgrimage to L&T. I browsed through the clearance racks, tried a few things on, but wasn’t really feeling it, so I decided to head upstairs to the shoe department. As I got on the escalator I got on several steps behind a woman I had seen in the woman’s department. Interestingly, I made the recognition because of her pretty pink sweater. She was not a full figured woman herself, but it didn’t faze me when I saw her at the clearance racks. More than anything I noticed her sweater.
As we made our ascent, she turned slightly to her husband, still on the first floor, who had turned his palms up and put his arms out as if to say, Where are you going? Why aren’t you down here looking?
In reply, she filled her cheeks with air and put her arms out in front of her abdomen, barely touching her fingertips— the universal sign of Santa Claus and, apparently in her world, Fatty. She was telling her hubbie she was inadvertently in the fat ladies department and needed to go upstairs.
Oh, yes, she did.
She caught my death stare when she turned around to respond to her whining child who was several steps behind me, wondering where she was going and why without him. She told him not to worry; she’d wait at the top.
As she waited to the side for her son, clearly preferring to run into petites, visibly uncomfortable, I made it to the top. I got off the escalator, turned to her, said “Bitch,” and walked on.
Oh, yes, I did.