Life in the Fast Lane

LIFE IN THE FAST LANE – The Good, The Bad and the Neurotic at the grocery store. Second time in the Earth Fare Grocery Store since being hired back two days ago. The guy I talked to on the phone at 8 a.m. said that the front end manager would be here at 3 p.m., so I could talk with him about my schedule, but he’s not working today. Second day in a row that happened. I’m unimportant.

James and Patte

My buddy James and wife Patte

The first person I encounter as I walk in the store is a highly valued long-term friend. Very good luck. I know he is glad to see me, as I am glad to see him. But he has had too many consecutive overlong days at work and he doesn’t show it that he’s happy. Stinker – what part of this does he think is not about me?

Across the front end, I see the assistant store manager, but I can’t remember his name after a year of working with him. I bet he doesn’t remember my name either. This sucks. I ask this sweet young cashier who I worked with a year ago, in a real low voice, what his name is. “I don’t know.” “You have worked with the assistant manager for the last year and you don’t know his name! You have no political skills, girl! I am political. I don’t want to go up to him and say ‘What was your name?'” She says, “If I was born in the middle ages, I would be a court jester and have no political skills.” The most totally charming thing I heard all day.

The second sweetest thing was the innocent young guy in produce, who I had worked with for a year, who got instantly enthused about me coming back and said, “It will be good to hear your voice.” He thinks I’m loud.

The butcher who we really like each other and he always loved to tease me by calling me Mojo and claiming I’m fast with the ladies – which by my track record I clearly am not. But at this moment he’s busy cutting meat and never looks in my direction. Communication is like that.


My customer Bobby

The customer who lights up about me coming back and says “Every time I fill out that customer service survey, for the last year, I say ‘I miss John Madden'”.

The customer I genuinely like and know from outside the store – we have done political canvassing together, but I can’t remember her name. I can’t bear to ask her. I avoid her.

The old friend who I encounter at two points in the store and works really hard at not seeing me. Paranoia? With another person it could be. I sent her an email a couple of months asking ‘What’s wrong?” and she said she’s not ready to talk about it. I’d like to try to fix it, but it feels more right to “give her space.”

Communication. Human relations. The life of the Highly Sensitive Person. On steroids in the crowded, intense grocery store. Am I ready to go back into it? I embrace it. I love it. On a good day, I’m a master. On a bad day, one or two nice things still happen.

2 thoughts on “Life in the Fast Lane

  1. Thanks, Steve. I really know you are rooting for me – as, honestly so many people. I feel very lucky this way. Our store manager is rooting for me big-time – that’s feeling very good.


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