Monday, January 4, 2010

Sweet Music And One Girl With A Tone

What is sweet music to my ears?

The words - "Back to school".

The sounds of silence.

But also the sounds of one cute little dude babbling and chattering...

I had an interesting experience on Friday, and not in a good way.

Let me precede this post by saying, while I am not one who voluntarily seeks out confrontation, if someone messes with me ..... well, then, they have messed with the wrong person.

There are bullies and just plain rude people in this world who are very good at sniffing out vulnerable weak people to prey on. They like to pick a fight or cause a commotion that ultimately puts someone else down, just so they themselves can feel bigger and stronger. Those people are typically overcompensating for a lot of insecurity.

I am not a weak or vulnerable person, but apparently I was in the wrong place at the right wrong time.

At my local grocery store, there is an aisle specifically housing ONLY kosher products. This supermarket caters to a community of kosher keeping people and they are very accommodating. (Of course, every other aisle in the store has some kosher products as well, but this aisle is very specific food items).

At one end of this aisle is a wire rack that has bread, cakes and cookies from a local bakery I will call B.S. Next to that rack is another rack of breads, cookies and cakes from other local various kosher bakeries in the community.

I typically do not purchase any foods from these racks because I would rather get my baked goods fresh from the actual bakeries. However, when the yummy supermarket brand of non-dairy chocolate chip cookies were not available, I decided to pull a container of cookies from the B.S. rack.

So I was standing in front of the rack with my cart in front of me, and yes, the rack was blocked completely by my cart and myself. I just placed a container of cookies in my cart and was standing there for another second or two to see if I wanted anything else when a girl came up behind me in haste and was obviously interested in something on the rack. Even before she said excuse me, I realized I wanted nothing more and should move away to make room for someone else.

She came up right behind me and while saying excuse me, she was already reaching across the length of me and my cart close to the rack to get some bread. I would have liked to move away for her, but because she chose to stand behind me and not wait even one second, and there was an elderly man in front of me at the next rack of baked goods, I was actually blocked in. At that moment, the bread slipped from the tip of her fingers and fell between the rack and my cart (because it was too far from her in the first place and maybe she should have let me back out BEFORE she tried to get her bread). The man moved and I inched my way forward and she had to grab the bag of bread as it was falling to the floor and then I hear her say in a very obnoxious, loud, condescending tone,


She went on with this statement as she walked away, down an aisle full of people. At which point, I only had time to yell back - "You could learn some patience and respect."

When I realized that she was getting far, I stopped, because I am not ONE for causing a scene.

Now - this girl was petite, but her face did not look so young. I estimate she was anywhere between the ages of 18 and 23. This is certainly an age that I would not expect such rude behavior.

I did not know this girl (In our community, many times you know almost everyone. If not personally, at least what family they are from.) I don't even know if she is from my community, or just visiting. At that point, I was letting the incident go (that is what Mrs. M. taught me - to forget it and move on). And I just continued slowly down the aisle focusing on my shopping. But when I got closer to the end of the aisle, she was there and it looked like she was with someone I just decided to assume was her mother. And so - I then thought to myself,

Self - if you let this go completely, she will think her behavior is okay. And at her age, it most certainly is not. If I say something in a productive way, it may be a learning experience for her and open her eyes to how she is perceived by others. I also thought, if I behaved that way at her age and my mother knew - I would have tongue lashing via me madre.

In fact - I digress for a moment to shed some light on my mother. I had a weekend party in my house for my class to celebrate our 8th grade graduation. My mother took it upon herself to give us a bit of a lecture, because she knew we had been a factious class. She told us that it was very important that we all acted kindly to one another NOW because we have no idea how our lives would intertwine in the future, and how we may become related through marriages, or share office space... And if we had a history of contention it would make it hard to have a peaceful relationship in the future. She then left the house to be somewhere, and as soon as the door shut, twenty something 13 and 14 year olds erupted in laughter. We joked about how my brother would marry that friend and that friends mom would become someone else's mother-in-law. I mean, who can think that far ahead in life?

Well guess what???

Just a few years later, after quite a few of my classmates married, they would stop my mom in the street and say,
Mrs. S. - "So and so and I both married brothers and now we are sisters-in-law and I remember that speech you gave... So and so and I have become cousins. So and so and I have started a business together..."

Yes, my mom is bright, and insightful, and sometimes...... dare I even say it ..... RIGHT!

So, as I thought of my mother in that moment at the grocery store, I decided to go a different route.

I walked right up to the woman I assumed was this poor, misguided, young adult's mother, and I asked,

"Is that your daughter?"

(can of worms now open...)

"Well, I don't know how you raise your daughter, but you may want to teach her about not being rude, and disrespectful..."

Daughter hears me and walks over and, I am not making this up -

she starts apologizing...


and here is the big


she is using the same obnoxious tone that she used before when she was walking away from me with her nasty comments.


At which point I interrupted her and said,
A) "Don't waive your finger in my face."
B) "Are your needs more important than anyone else's including an elderly man standing in front of me that you apparently want me to run over so you can get your bread?"


c) It really does not matter if you saw him or not, because if someone is moving too slow for your taste and you are not getting your bread quick enough - bite your tongue and keep it to yourself. On top of that you need to learn, patience, and respect - because you have no idea how your behavior could come back to you and take you down so hard. When you realize you are about to date the boy of the woman you were just rude to, or you realize you are about to be interviewed for a job by the stranger you just insulted. Grow up.

At this time ( due to my talent for "reading" people very well) I learned a few things.

The obvious - her apologizing meant that she knew her behavior was inappropriate.

She has a mother who is one of those, naive, lets her kids walk all over her, has no idea how to discipline, weak woman. I don't know her background from beans - but I would even dare guess that she comes from a family of critical parents and may even have a husband with a temper, and she just TOOK IT all her life. It was the way she just stood there while she could obviously HEAR the tone her daughter was using to someone older. And how she said nothing as her daughter literally got in my face and waived her fingers under my nose. (My mother would have been on me before the first words came out of my mouth).

Second, a husband with a temper or a critical husband (or a divorce) could also explain the very ill, rude behavior her daughter possessed.

(Of course, much of the aforementioned is TOTAL speculation on my part)

I just can't imagine, that a girl that age would be that rude and ill mannered to a complete stranger in such a public place, if there was NO back story. Of course, it does not excuse it. This daughter is very self-absorbed and only concerned with her needs. Those are traits that will certainly inhibit her from having a productive relationship or marriage of her own, if she does not grow out of it. I certainly would not set this girl up with anyone if I was asked and that is one way your behavior can affect where your life moves next.

I actually wished them a Good Sabbath (which was to begin in a few hours) and walked away. I have no idea if they spoke about it after that, but it certainly did not seem like her mother said anything to her, in the supermarket.

I mostly let it go after that. But I was still so boggled by a girl that age being so outright rude. And I still wondered if saying anything would actually be productive, or if I should have just left it completely alone. I guess I just went with my first instinct, which I felt fine about because it was not impulsive on my part, as some time lapsed between the incident and when I saw her at the end of the aisle.

I also spoke to my 7 year old and 6 year old about the incident, so they could learn that this sort of behavior is never appropriate. But when I looked at my 7 and 6 year old, I truly believed that even at their young ages, they would never act that way - especially to someone older than them.

It is still boggling my mind. I almost hope she had/has some serious brain injury to explain the situation, because I just can not wrap my head around it. Am I over thinking this? Do many people out there encounter girls around that age who are just so outright rude (Frum or not)? I have never encountered this before, so it was surprising for me. Ooh - I could also maybe justify SOME of it if I found out she was from N.Y. (No offense to my N.Y. readers).

Did I make the right decision in my actions???

5 have shown Orah a little love:

Anonymous said...

I think you did the right thing by saying something to her. I don't think it will change her obnoxious behavior but at least you gave her some food for thought. I bet that you are not even the first person to tell her that her behavior was rude.
I hate bullies or young people w/ attitude. I had a few encounters w/ them on the basketball court. They are punks who dont have any respect but when I scored on them, I shut their A$$'s up!! And dammit, that felt goooooood!
- Miss S.

Rayli said...

whoa! I am not gonna mess with you.

Melissa E. said...

I know just how you felt. I constantly have to keep biting my tongue around other peoples kids (especially teenagers). Most of the time I suceed, but every once in awhile I have to speak up. Maybe it is the teacher in me. . .

I think all of the neighbor kids around my house think I'm "that mean lady." That's because my yard is on the corner lot and they all play in our yard. I'm okay with the little kids playing catch, but when the big kids (junior high age) start hitting each other with sticks, I open the window and yell with my big teacher voice.

I think you did the right thing. I'm sure the mother was embarrassed, but she needs to know how disrespectfully her daughter was behaving.

Shosh said...

note to self: Do not mess with Orah said...

My sensibilities are the same. I appreciate your style and applaud your response.

I actually have not run into that directly. I must say that I can be impulsive when people are rude (because I get so frustrated and want to blow off steam. Therefore I cannot even open my mouth as I don't trust myself not to be rude in return.

Good for you.