Normally I speed through self check-out at Safeway. I know the procedures, I've memorized the numbers I need to enter and I learned long ago that I should only take small orders to these desks. I am not eager to take on self-check out in stores I don't know because I can be, oh, a little awkward when learning new things but at Safeway I know what I'm doing. You would want me to be behind me in line.
My proficiency in this one activity (everybody has at least one special talent - this is mine) makes me rather cranky at times. I don't have a lot of patience when people appear baffled or take too long or otherwise slow me down. Of course no one would know any of this because I still stand there, quietly, but I do rage inside..
Today, however, the tables turned. My check-out routine fell apart. I confused my Air Miles number with my parents' phone number and then, even when I had figured out the correct number, I didn't know how to backtrack and fix my mistake. Then when I looked for the card I wanted to use, I couldn't find it so chose to use another. I questioned the PIN for that card but managed to come up with the right one. All of this was for a two item order. That makes it more sad.
I was disappointed in myself as I stumbled through this experience.. Somehow, though, I was unaware that there were people behind me, waitng for a checkout line to open. And from what I saw, in one horrifying glance backwards, they were well aware of what I had been doing and the fact that I was slowing them down. I had become one of those people at whom I direct my rage.
In the grand scheme of things, none of this really matters. Nobody gets delayed in line that long and we should all relax and take a breath. For me, though, this experience reminded me that we're all humans, we're all fallible, we're all simply trying to buy our groceries and go home. We're all ok after all.
I will try to be more organized the next time I go to the self check-out line. And I will probably continue to avoid those lines in stores I don't know. I will also keep in mind that nobody is trying to torture me by getting confused about what type of tomatoes they're buying. There are a lot of different tomatoes out there. It could be confusing.