Kalah Allen

Old man at the grocery store. You’re in line in front of me, buying 10 sacks of frozen vegetables. You haven’t seen the inside of a clothing store in a couple of decades. First you try to talk to me about the balloons at the check stand. Normally I’d humor you, but this morning I found out an old friend of mine had died. I’m upset, and I just want to buy my lunch and go back to work. I ignore you. But you don’t stop, and you sneak a peek at my cleavage. Then you mention the balloon comment to the cashier, and she’s polite, because it’s her livelihood, and she laughs a bit. But that isn’t enough. You look at me and say, “Why don’t you smile?” And then, I’m done. All the years I worked as a waitress and bartender, sucking up to every old man to possibly earn a dollar or two tip comes rushing back. They were always asking me to smile. To feign happiness. To enjoy having the pleasure of waiting on them. The jokes, the leers, the harassment, and all of the years of education I paid for on my own so that I’d NEVER have to smile at some dusty geezer again to survive. So I look at you and call you a fucking moron. You look surprised, but say nothing more.—Anonymous