Secret Pop

Sep 14, 2006

Severance of the Link Between Affluence and Good Behavior

I was walking back to my car after a visit to the gym this afternoon, and I nearly placed my walking foot down upon a used Winnie the Pooh diaper discarded haphazardly beside my driver's side door. My assumption is that these Winnie the Pooh diapers cost more than your average disposable diaper, and they certainly cost more than cloth diapers, which is what I assume poor people and environmentalists use. So I concluded that the person who left this obscene parcel beside my door has the money to spend on fancy diapers and also appears to have the money to operate a vehicle in these pricey times. Conclusion: They're rich. And yet they haven't been raised to participate in the longstanding social contract to not leave your or your family's evacuations in a public parking lot where fitness enthusiasts and fans of submarine sandwiches might be too trusting to look down and might accidentally tread on them. This proves my just-formed theory that being wealthy doesn't make you polite.

Nor does being fat and/or a fitness enthusiast, apparently. I concluded this only moments before the almost-diaper-stepping-on incident, because I had gone into a store to buy mineral water and other sundries. And there was only one checkstand open, and there was a loaded cart in the aisle but no person attached to it. The cashier was about to move it out of the way when the guy came back and said he had to get just one more thing, and she tried to protest, but he was too busy yammering into his phone in another language. So I'm right behind him, and a big fat lady is behind me. And she's wearing gym clothes, just like I am, so I assume she's just come from the gym, just like I have. Unless it's just a workout for her to get from the car to the store. So another checkstand opens, and the cashier says she can help the lady behind me, and I totally make eye contact with her and expect her to say, "She's next." But she doesn't. She just begins shifting her weight and her cart towards the other aisle. So I say, "I was next." And the fat lady looks at me again. And smiles. And keeps going. And she completes her transaction and leaves the store before I've even gotten to unload my purchases, because the phone guy is very busy and can't seem to decide which of the fifty credit cards in his wallet to use. I hate that. I hate it when you are relying on the decency of another person to prevent your having to stand up for yourself and justice. Had our roles been reversed and I had been the one behind her in line (but not necessarily so fat or unattractive), I would absolutely have insisted that she go before me. And not because I want an award. I just can't bear to look someone in the eye and have us both know that one of us is a shithead, and it's me.

The upside of this story is that the cashier appears to have been flustered by all of this, too, because she only charged me for one of the cases of Pellegrino in my cart. Hooray, free sixteen dollars worth of water! And also, hooray, impromptu social experiment. If I am ever rich or very fat, I will probably not discard soiled diapers or piggishly assume someone else's rightful place in line. But I have a feeling my behavior won't be enough to be statistically significant.

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