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An urban metaphor for...something?

Scene: Trader Joe’s in Manhattan, 12:00 pm today.

A man with a basket of groceries dodges and weaves through the line to beat all of the women with carts and children who are making their way to the front more slowly.

He isn’t exactly cutting, since the laden women aren’t precisely in line yet, but he isn’t exactly not cutting, since it is clear that the entire mass of people is heading towards the two lines and splitting up into them. The net result is that this guy (white guy in his 30s?) ends up ahead of people carrying or pushing bigger burdens. It pisses me off, but not enough to say anything. I end up right behind him in the left-hand line, with my (laden) cart. (Laden because I have selected a basket’s worth of groceries at TJ’s, but have the cart to hold two bags of groceries from Fairway purchased earlier and also a backpack, with provisions for the day from my morning run to camp drop-off in downtown Brooklyn. This guy has himself and a basket, so he easily sprinted ahead of me into the line.)

Then, the person who directs people to cashiers from the two lines accidentally sends three people in a row from the left line to the cashiers, so left, left, left, instead of the usual left, right, left. This has the net result of making the dude later to check out by one person. He misses ONE turn. (It’s true. She made a tiny mistake of almost no consequence to anyone present. At most, it sped the left line up by one person and slowed the right line down by one person. This happens on occasion. I usually get annoyed for a second or two and then remember that all people are humans who make mistakes and that any customer-facing job has got to be really hard and that this one, in particular, must be so boring, and so I am just grateful that anyone is doing this at all! Because the line definitely moves quicker with that person directing people!)

He angrily says to the Trader Joe’s employee, “Hey, you just sent three people from that line to check out and no one from this line!”

She ignores him, continuing to scan the checkout people for someone who is free to take a customer.

“Hey, I’m talking to you! You can at least acknowledge me when I’m talking to you.”

She continues to ignore him.

I have had enough. I say, “Lay off it, would you? No one is perfect, everyone makes mistakes, and I’m sure you’ll survive the wait.”

I make eye contact with a man in the left-hand line and say, “I think he’ll survive this, don’t you?” The man nods and agrees and rolls his eyes at the guy yelling at the Trader Joe’s employee.

He says to me, “She has to at least acknowledge that I’m talking to her!”

“No, she doesn’t,” I counter. “Not when you’re being aggressive for no reason at all.”

He sputters and stares at me for a few moments and then she directs him to the next check-out person.

I don't know if I gave him something to think about, but at least I got him to shut up. Yay?

I am directed to the next checkout person. As I walk by her, I tell the Trader Joe's employee, “You’re doing a wonderful job and he is a jerk.”

I’m mildly afraid that the guy will follow me or act aggressively towards me, but I never see him again (so far).

I am glad that my line was slowed down by one person, if only to stick it to the jerk who dodged and weaved through the mass of shoppers heading to the lines to beat everyone who had more to manage.

I think there might be a metaphor here for toxic masculinity, male aggression, unnecessary aggression in modern society, who bears the burdens in society, people (men?) who feel cheated out of something even though they are the cheaters, or the Nine Days, but I don’t know what it is!

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