She is in a very long, very slow-moving check-out line at the fabric, etc. store. On one side is a display of candy. On the other side, rows of inexpensive and useless sewing gadgets, toys, and decorations — the kind of things one thinks one needs until one gets home and realizes what a waste of money they are. To avoid temptation, She studies her fellow shoppers.
A woman a few people behind her left the line, after asking someone to hold her place, scurried off, only to return shortly thereafter. After doing this two more times, the woman announced to no one in particular that she was looking for her friend, that she had gone up and down the aisles calling her name, and that she was worried because her friend had stomach problems.
Upon hearing this, She was tempted to ask the woman if she had checked the ladies’ room, but instead She asked, “Do you have a cell phone?”
The woman slapped her forehead with the palm of her hand.
“Of course,” the woman said, “Why didn’t I think of that? That’s what happens when you get old.”
“Tell me about it,” She said. “I’m older than you.”
“No, you’re not,” said the woman.
“I’ll bet I am,” She said.
“You’re not,” the woman insisted.
She realized that they were sounding like a couple of six-year olds, so She just smiled sweetly, more than ready to end the discussion. And that would have been the end of it had not someone in the line challenged each of them to give their ages. It turns out that She was nine years older than the other woman, who said, “You don’t look that old,” as though this had been a contest and the opponent had won by cheating.
She was tempted to show her driver’s license to prove She was honest, but instead shrugged her shoulders and smiled. The woman in front of her turned and said, “I think it’s just wonderful that at your age you can still sew.”
She knows it was meant as a compliment.
It didn’t really feel like one.
Resolved for the new year and forever: the next time She is in any long line, She will keep her mouth shut.
No good deed ever goes unpunished.