Have you noticed that people who religiously abide by the Rules of the Road when they’re on an expressway lose all sense of “space” when they’re driving a shopping cart, or trying to snag a parking space?
How hard is it to stay to one side? Obviously, very.
I can’t tell you how often I encounter a shopper who strolls down the very center of the grocery store aisle, stopping when a product catches his or her eye. Because these folks are smack dab in the middle of the narrow aisle, there isn’t enough room on either side to pass. It’s the same in the parking lot. Folks stop in the very center of the aisle to wait for a plum spot, when there’s a perfectly good parking space just three spots down. And when they walk to the store from their cars, they do so down the middle of the parking aisle. I drive a big van. It’s old, but very quiet. These folks don’t know I’m behind them as they amble down the center-way. I can’t get around them and it would be rude to honk my horn. So I wait.
Okay, I hear you… you’re thinking I’m making a mountain out of a molehill, don’t you? Maybe I am. Except … this happens constantly. And if you’re in a hurry, as I usually am, the never-ending game of “obstacle course” gets frustrating pretty fast.
The other evening I was grocery shopping with my husband and one of our daughters. About halfway through our jaunt, we encountered a woman taking inventory of her cart. Problem was, she decided to do so right at the mouth of the baking aisle. She’d stopped mid-turn, which meant her cart was twisted so it stood sideways, completely obstructing the way in. Kate Moss wouldn’t have been able to wiggle past her to get to the bagged sugar (not that she would want to, of course. I doubt any skinny supermodels know what sugar is).
The three of us, however, take up a whole lot more room than a skinny supermodel would, and that day I desperately needed a bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips. (For a recipe, not for personal consumption. Yeah. And if you believe that…) When the woman finally noticed the three of us standing there, she made a face of disgust and grumbled about us interrupting her. But at least she moved.
I completely understand folks wanting to double check their lists. I completely understand when people take time deciding between Ragu or Prego. There are flavors to consider and ounces to measure. I get it. But maybe it wouldn’t hurt if that shopper allowed enough space around himself or herself to allow others to maneuver while they made these weighty decisions.
It’s not just a matter of convenience. I find it’s a matter of courtesy—of being aware of those around us. And although I’ve been guilty of forgetting too, I think that if we all tried a little harder to remain aware that we’re not alone—to remember that we share space in this world—we would all get along a little bit better.
Oh, and don’t get me started about people who forget to step aside when they alight from an escalator or out of a revolving door!! Ack!
And what's annoying YOU today?
Julie Hyzy is the Barry and Anthony award-winning author of the White House Chef Mysteries. Her latest book, EGGSECUTIVE ORDERS, is now available. Check out Julie's web site. Julie also blogs on The Mystery Writers Kitchen, giving lots of yummy recipies. Julie's also got a new series on the horizon, The Manor of Murder Mysteries. The first book, Grace Under Pressure, will be available on June 1st, 2010.