This started out as a snark piece, the kind that chronicles life's woes, of which sometimes there are plenty. It was supposed to be about a deli that I buy ready-made foods at once in a blue moon, or once in a Purim, depending. It was supposed to be about their cashier, a pierced and tattooed twenty something year-old with hands designed for text messaging. And text she did. She texted before, during and after my sale. She texted while the receipt spat out of the cash register and was so busy that I reached over, pulled it off the machine myself and signed it while the messages kept coming and going.
Being incensed and aware that one's chutzpah mode can go into overdrive the longer one is a member of the human race, I marched back into the deli to give the manager a piece of my mind. I pulled her aside and railed and complained. I talked about the indignity of it all while I'm sure she waited for steam to come out of my ears in the seconds before closing. Then I told the cashier what I'd told the manager and she asked me if I wanted to step outside. Me, a pepper-spray carrying adult with a few months of defense training to my name before I dropped/flunked out, me whose attempts at meditation and yoga had obviously upped and gone AWOL by this point. I gulped and declined, and the cashier stuck a tattooed hand in my face and waved bye-bye.
Safely ensconced at home, I called the manager to vent some more, especially about the waving off part.
"I know, I know," she said, "and when you left, I gave her a piece of my mind. I looked at the videotape in my office, and I saw you were waiting, but I don't know what to do about her. I can't fire her. I just can't. Her father died when she was little and her mother went to live with a man a few weeks ago and walked out of her life. She is the same age as my son, and I wouldn't be able to sleep at night if I let her go because she has nowhere to go. She has no one, so I have to do the right thing and help her."
I suggested the girl go for counseling to at least have a place to vent and gave her the name of someone I used to work with at school. Later on, I woke up in the middle of the night and cried.