There Are Real, Live People Everywhere.
So I went to Target.
Target always costs me more money and time than I expect, but I love it. I got Halloween cookies, detergent, six bottles of hand soap, four giant bottles of shampoo (save $5 when you buy four!) and two bonus undershirts in my jumbo pack of youth classic white crew necks.
In my travels, I got behind a woman on her cell phone. She was pushing slowly and talking loudly:
“You are totally freaking out right now! Don’t freak out. This is totally not what I thought you would do. You have no reason to do this! You can’t say that. Seriously, no! Stop freaking out!”
She turned left into the clothing section as I was trying to pass her.
“Sorry,” I mumbled meekly as she rolled her eyes at me, as if I were causing her angst.
In the checkout line, I was third in line behind a different woman on her cell phone. She was buying, among other things, organic cookies. She seemed to have no idea that there were any other humans within earshot:
“No, he has to deal with it! He’s never going to get anyone’s respect unless he deals. I mean, he’s got to raise those kids, you know? And it’s his problem. He’s the one who wanted a divorce, and now he has to live with it. I know! So if he doesn’t start taking some responsibility, he’s going to end up in worse shape than he is right now!”
She talked non-stop. She went on and on and on. As she took her receipt, the cashier tried desperately to tell the woman about a survey she could take.
“My name is at the bottom of the receipt!” the cashier said cheerily. The woman never stopped talking, not for one second. Finally, she checked out.
I stepped up to the register, my phone still safely in my pocket, where it had been for the entire trip.
The cashier and I had an actual face-to-face conversation. We discussed dipping different things in chocolate, which all sounded delicious. The cashier suggested that cheese dipping was also good – but not for cereals, or oatmeal.
“Oh, and not for pancakes!” I agreed. “Breakfast foods should not be dipped in cheese.”
“But they do work with chocolate!” she said.
I had a lot of stuff, so we had plenty of time to talk.
Meanwhile, the woman behind me, who had a large supply of 100-calorie pretzel packs, was fuming on her cell phone.
“This is just not going to fly. I will be there on Friday and everything had better be done by then. No, you tell him that there are no more excuses! It’s been way too long already!”
Then she rudely hung up, and dove right back into the phone with her face, checking messages. She never looked up at the cashier, even as she pushed her cart forward.
I guess this is nothing new in our techno-world, but it seems sad to me that no one can be bothered to get off the phone long enough to smile at, or chat with, the cashier – or anyone else in the store.
Or the world.
Even at Target, and even when you’re not paying attention to your surroundings, there are real, live people everywhere.