Friday, January 20, 2012

In Which I Become a Mean Old Lady

I bullied some young men tonight.

Verona Dining Collection in Antique Honey
I was shopping at one of my favorite stores, World Market in West Nashville... looking at absolutely everything in the store, most of which I can't afford (oh I WANT that dining room set!) Soon after I entered, I heard some horrible screeching that eventually coalesced into some sort of rough accordion. It was soon joined by another indecipherable instrument, and it Kept. On. Going. World Market tries to carry everything, apparently, including decorative rustic musical instruments.

Fifteen minutes of this went on. It was evident that the players were attempting to actually coax some kind of melody from the instruments, and they occasionally succeeded, but rarely in key or tune with each other. I caught a glimpse of them and saw they were some college-aged guys. I began to formulate crushing, cruel put-downs to make them stop... "Could you guys go be douches somewhere else?" was my favorite.

Surely they would stop. But they didn't, and finally when I was crossing an aisle-way I saw them standing in a group about to add a third instrument to the mix. I stood and glared at them, and one glanced up and saw me, and I called out, "Could you guys go be annoying somewhere else? I mean, you have been playing FOREVER!" The sudden feeling of Old Lady Power rushed through me, as I realized I. Did. Not. Care. What. They. Thought. It was intoxicating.

As I walked on, after a brief pause one of them called out, "but, uh, we're musicians, ma'am!" I snapped back, "Well, you need to practice more, but not here!" Another lady an aisle over caught my eye and nodded with satisfaction, and I smiled and shook my head.

But as I wandered on looking with elaborate unconcern at chair slipcovers and china I didn't need, I started considering what had happened. The boys had looked ABASHED. They had looked genuinely surprised. And they were obviously enthusiastic about trying to make these things play music. They were just overgrown boys. And I began to feel sorry. Elliott would have TOTALLY done the same thing. To an instrumentalist, an instrument MUST be attempted!

I began to worry that they would go back to school and tell the story of a fat old bitch in the store who had yelled at them and been insulting, and it would become an anecdote for years to come. I would never be identified, but my spirit would be scorned and vilified for years to come. I would apologize; I would go up and be contrite and say I understood their enthusiasm, that my nephew would have been trying the same thing, and that I was being mean.

But it was too late. They were gone, and I had been bitchy for my own satisfaction and the pleasure of a well-placed zinger. So to the three young men in World Market in West Nashville on a Friday night, I am sorry. You saw me take the next step in my Crazy Cat Lady/Spinster Aunt/Old Maid aging process, and it was into the Mean Old Lady stage. I would have preferred it be the Sassy Old Lady, or the Sharp as Nails Old Lady, but unfortunately I took the Cranky exit. You meant well, and you weren't actually being douchey.

And to the little boy bashing around two cheaply made fans that I said rebukingly to that he "could actually BREAK those things by waving them so hard!" I hope you will... no, actually, that kid was being a little brat. I WANT him to think twice before he messes with things that aren't toys in a home interior store.