I didn’t leave the house that day to become the heroine at the dry cleaner. However, we all have our roles to play and that one was mine.
A few weeks ago, I found an amazing skirt at the Salvation Army store. All it needed was a fresh cleaning and pressing and it was perfect for an upcoming event that I had on my calendar. I took my purchase and dropped it and my winter coat at the cleaner.
I have a weekend ritual with my daughter. We go to the library so she can “pick out” books and then we run necessary errands. It’s fun, it gets us out of the house, and she tends to nap during the car ride. Plus, I love showing her the world, even if it’s fairly small at this point. She is too, so it all works.
The Saturday I became the heroine of the dry cleaner wasn’t any different than any other Saturday.
I parked, grabbed my daughter (carseat and all), and made my way into the cleaner. I used to recognize the employees and they knew me by name, but in recent months they’ve had some employee turnover and the woman at the counter was new to me.
“Hi!” I said, “how are you?”
She looked up and sad eyes stared back at me. She looked like a mixture of frazzle and tears. Whatever boulders this woman was carrying, they seemed to be breaking down right at that moment.
She replied that she was fine and I made a stupid joke about the weather (don’t ask me what it is, I have no recall there). Her eyes were clearer and she looked like the frazzle might have been wearing off as well.
When I go into the cleaner, I am prepared for it to be a ten to fifteen minute ordeal. Not just because I have a baby in a car seat but because they have a seemingly ancient credit card machine. So, I wait. And it’s never an issue, it just takes a minute for their machine to realize it’s 2018.
Then the divvy walked through the door.
He looked at the woman working, who was having the ritualistic struggle with credit card machine.
“What’s takin’ so long, ya just old and slow?” he asked, as he plopped his rather pungent girth into a chair near the door. “Great”, I thought, “he’s a git and he’s smelly. Lovely.”
The tears visibly found their way to the woman’s eyes and made a guest appearance while she continued to struggle with the machine.
Inwardly, I sighed. I wasn’t itching for a confrontation, but I thought I was about to make one.
Loud enough for the git to hear, I said, “why is it, do you think, that men think they need to say something? Always! And it’s usually about a woman’s age?” I turned and looked at him, “why do you think that is the case?”
The git didn’t say a word.
The woman cracked a meek smile.
“I know that you can’t say anything, you’re at work. But I can. He’s a jackass. And it’s true, when they have to wait, and wait on a woman, it’s always age isn’t it, like they know something or have anything remotely intelligent to say in the first dang place.”
I didn’t add that the ass plopped itself in the nearest chair instead of standing in line like any other human being.
The woman won the epic battle with the credit card machine and handed me my card. She gave me a shy smile and I knew we were thinking the same thing.
It wasn’t a “huge” jab but it was meaningful. The git shut his face and looked abashed.
There is an argument that feminism doesn’t need to exist any loner, but clearly it does. If we all said something when we saw something or took three seconds to help the life of another woman when we can… what could we accomplish?
I didn’t leave the house that day intending to be the heroine of the dry cleaner.
“Boys talk so much when they have nothing so say, and girls have plenty to say but no one to listen.” – My Girl 2