Hear Me Out


October 20, 1997


I've had a hard day so far. I had to restrain myself from beating the crap out of a mother of three at the bagel place and I've run all over town trying to get all the errands done that are supposed to get done during the week but work gets in the way of. I guess you could say it's been a regular old Saturday.

First, let me say this. I have nothing against mothers. I have a mother myself and I have several very good friends that are either currently mothers or will be at any moment. But (and I believe this very stongly)having children does not mean you get to cut in line and then defend yourself by saying things like, "But I have three children." The fact that you let the sperm through has no baring on my life or commerce.

I was standing in line, with the little blue number ticket in my hand, looking at it every time they called a new number. I had 97 and they just called 85 but maybe, just maybe I was mistaken and I really have 86. I'd better look again just to make sure. Nope, still 97. It's amazing but I never trust that I can keep a simple two digit number in my head and God forbid they pass me up. That means I'd have to get a new ticket and the whole awful process starts over again.

So, there I am waiting to buy bagels for Leslie's teachers. Oh, did I forget to mention that I wasn't actually buying the bagels for me? That I was showered, dressed and out of the house at 8:30 in the morning on a Saturday because Leslie had some math teachers coming to the house. How odd. I thought I'd mentioned that. And don't forget that I don't mind it. No, I don't mind at all.

Anyway, I'm in line, they are well into the 90's and I keep looking at my 97. I don't want to get passed up. I'm also taking a look at the bagel selection and wondering why they don't have the sesame bagels out and maybe poppy seed would do just as well, except for that whole drug test thing I'd heard about. You remember, when companies started testing employees for drug use on and off duty. Anyone who had even thought about poppies, even in bagels and muffins, was fired because they could be total heroin junkies even though their last performance review basically said the company would go belly up without them. After a few hundred lives were ruined the testing companies came out and said that they'd forgotten to mention that some false positives might happen.

"96. 96. Anyone got 96?" A tall woman with very black hair, a subtle silver nose ring and a tight rainbow scarf holding her dread locks into place called out.

No one responded. I was next. I glanced at the number in my hand, and then back to her, ready to pounce and then I saw this woman walk to the counter. I knew she wasn't 96. She came in after me, I'd noticed her because she had three kids, all looking about the same age and of no particular gender. I did some basic reconnaissance on her before I rushed the counter. She didn't even have a number.

"Excuse me ma'am but I believe I was next." I smiled and turned toward the bagel babe to order my bakers dozen of assorted bagels and the two schmears for $10.45.

"I was here." The brood mare said, in a whinier voice than I imagined coming out of her.

The bagel maven just looked at us, waiting for us to sort it out. After all, for $5 an hour she's not paid for high level negotiation.

"What number do you have?" I had her now. I had, that's right, number 97. It's the law of the land, I was next and she was out of luck.

"Oh, your supposed to get a number? I didn't know." She smiled an aren't-I-cute-I'm-so-embarrassed smile and turned to back to give her order.

I had been wronged. I was furious. I slammed my number on the counter and said, "Look, everyone in here has a number. These people behind the counter keep calling numbers out. Hell, your kid here is pointing at the number dispenser. Give it up and get out of my way."

She was aghast and she backed up. Leslie says I'm more than a little frightening when I'm in these suburban setting and I start to go off. One time I was in the grocery store and this lady kept knocking into my cart. After she knocked my mild on the floor I yelled, "Lady, why in the hell do you have such a boner for my cart?" These people are simply not equipped to deal with confrontation.

"I'd like four plain, three poppy seed, two everything, two whole wheat and two raisin cinnamon. I'll take one low fat and one garlic and herb smear." The bagel babe was popping those little guys into a box and smiling the whole time. I'd stood up for the rights of the unencumbered and I'd won.

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Copyright 1997 by Laura Jiménez.

Updated 11/08/97
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