Thursday, January 19, 2006

Back off the golden delicious, whippersnapper

Oh, it was a bit tense in the produce section yesterday. But I don't understand why. I was minding my own business, innocently picking out apples, and cherishing the time spent with my new best friend, the iPod Nano.

Then an old woman shot me a withering look of disapproval, one of those "This country is going straight to hell, and it's because of young punks like you" looks.

What did I do? I didn't have my earphones jacked up to full volume. I wasn't speaking to anyone, so I wasn't talking loud enough to hear my voice over the music. I very seriously doubt I was singing.

I may have been bopping my head a little bit or tapping my feet, but I do that whenever the right pop song is playing over the grocery store loudspeakers. I wasn't flailing around, like those silhouettes in the iPod TV ads. I wasn't juggling apples.

What the hell was this lady's problem? Did my cart cut her off in the aisle? Was I somehow preventing her or blocking her from a particular item she wanted to see? Did I take the exact apples she wanted? Does she harbor disdain toward anyone long-haired and bearded - in other words, the hippies? Maybe she mistook me for someone who won all her money at the bingo parlor. ("B-68, bee-YOTCH! Hand those chips over, Clara! Who's the man?!")

So I handled the matter as any other mature young man would. I made a face back at her. Nothing outrageous. No tongue sticking out, or other obscene gesture. Just a frown, similar to the one she gave me.

With one simple look, I stood up for myself, and the oppression that young people suffer from the elderly, man. Just like Will Smith in Men in Black II, I looked at her, pointed, and said, "Old and busted." Then I pointed back at myself, "New hotness." All of that in one look. My face is very expressive.

The only thing I can think of is that the earphones bothered her. Why does this kid (and I'm hardly a kid anymore) have to listen to music while he shops? Remember the old days, when people actually interacted with each other, and didn't tune the world out? Or maybe she thought I looked like a poseur, someone trying to look cool while grocery shopping. (And I'd resent that. I don't have to try, okay?)

I really should've asked her what her problem was. It's probably silly, but that look bothered me. One people, one produce section, one grocery store, one society, Clara. Let's share it.