Today I was minding my own beeswax in the line at the gas station chicken store, a 44 oz Diet Coke in my left hand, and a plastic bag containing a cardboard box containing fried chicken looped over the same forearm. The reason for my wait was the inconvenient convenience store behavior of customers who dared patronize Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's favorite establishment at the same time as she.
The newest cashier dude was trying to explain a lottery procedure to two old ladies who had already paid for their purchases. After they finally exited, two young dudes took their place. I swear one of them was a student of Mrs. HM about four years ago, a transfer to play a sport, clever enough to pass with minimal effort. He was absent more than he was there, so he may not have recognized me. However, he DID seem to be avoiding my gaze. Usually I give them a curt greeting, just so they know that I know who they are.
The guy the anonymous pupil was with got some gas, some PowerBall tickets, and started quizzing Cashier Dude on recent winners on various scratch-off tickets. THEN he pulled out his checkbook. I can't with these people! I just can't!
While I was treading chicken fumes in line, two ladies and a loud girl came in. Loud Girl was, perhaps, 9 years old. The first thing out of her mouth, LOUDLY, was "My sister thinks you're cute!" I thought she was talking to Anonymous Pupil, because he was the best-looking guy in the store. He did not respond. Didn't glance left, nor right. Loud Girl went down the next aisle with the ladies. They pulled a cup and ran ONE fountain soda. "Gotta get Grandma's soda." I don't even know if one of them was Grandma. And I surely don't know why it took three of them to get one soda. They stood close behind me, perhaps waiting for the chicken tender. The two ladies carried on with each other. "She's going to get us thrown out of here!" And, "Yeah. I don't know why she has to be so loud all the time."
Anyhoo...they were behind me. Loud Girl flitted around, loudly, and darted past me to grab a plastic spoon with a pen taped to it from a holder on the counter. They use that for scratching scratchers that novices don't know enough to have ready, showing the bar code to be scanned for the winning amount. Or for customers to use to write checks. That guy at the counter ahead of me was using the one from the active register.
Then Loud Girl turned into one of those cats that has to someplace else immediately. She tore around me like a non-champion barrel racer, and hit my bagged chicken box, making it swing to and fro, shaking my arm, agitating my 44 oz Diet Coke.
"Oh. I'm sorry."
She stopped and turned to look at me. Morphing from cracked-out cat into a headlight-mesmerized deer. I did not reply. That's what happens when you are allowed to get away with nonsense, and not have your butt swatted from an early age, or get escorted back to the car with a firm grip on your wrist, for misbehaving in public places: somebody gets their chicken rattled and their magical elixir shaken.
I gave her the teacher stink-eye. In case you are not an education insider, let the record show that this look is NOT accompanied by a smile.
Loud Girl continued out of the store, and came back shortly, a bit more subdued, and took a different route to get back to her insouciant minders.
No. It's not cute when you let your offspring run amuck. Good luck in five years.