• Bridge Ladies

    Bridge Ladies When I set out to learn about my mother's bridge club, the Jewish octogenarians behind the matching outfits and accessories, I never expected to fall in love with them. This is the story of the ladies, their game, their gen, and the ragged path that led me back to my mother.
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My Clothes My Hair My Face

I was getting groceries today at Fairway, a big supermarket on the upper west side of NYC. It’s sort of sprawling and chaotic. I didn’t realize that there was a line for the check out. A woman called out Ma’am. Then louder her voice a wall of sublime irritation. I immediately apologized and turned to find the line. Reader, this should have been sufficient, but she stared me down. I apologized again but she couldn’t let it go and said, What are you blind? On the walk back to my apartment, my honor challenged, I replayed the scene and thought of all the witty rejoinders I might have leveled at the women in the pink mohair beret and oatmeal vest.

I hate when that happens.

11 Responses

  1. “What are you blind?”

    “Why, yes, pretty lady, I am. For instance, I can’t see the ugly vest and beret you’re wearing. Thank you for your help. Have a nice day.”

  2. I don’t know a word for her behavior, but it sounds like a case of l’esprit d’escalier. I’ve always loved that expression and thought it would make a great title for a book of short stories (like 50 ways to lose your lover).

  3. Like you, I always find myself thinking after the fact of all the smooth comebacks I might’ve said. This behavior is similar to road rage. Shopping center rage? IDK. Good manners and decency seem to have gone by the wayside. Patience too. It’s not as if you intentionally broke the line.

    I was at Walmart the other day, going quickly down an aisle. A lady was standing with her back to me speaking to her husband in the aisle I was about to cross. (think T intersection, and I’m the upper part of the T, she’s standing at the end of the vertical line) I could tell she was about to turn, so I abruptly stopped. She spun around and still hit my cart. She apologized, and I said, “Oh, no problem, it’s fine.” I started to go on, but her expression changed. She stiffened and her features went flat. I sort of smiled said, “Are you okay?”

    She fixated on me with some ungodly inhuman look, and with as much rudeness as she could muster, she said, Yes. I’m surprised she didn’t flit her hand in the air and wave me on like some sort of plebian. 🙄

  4. Someone like that isn’t really worth your/our time. But in ypur head you can say: By the way, I’m a writer always on the lookout for interesting characters to put in them. OR maybe tell her you’d like her chicken. Another topic without a proper segue: Have you read Simon Simek’s book, Finding your Why? A very good distraction from whatever you’re doing.

  5. Is there a word for it? Maybe “Afterwit” – wisdom that comes after the event. But in your case, ‘wisdom’ seems inappropriate. So, I’d just make one up: “Postsonse” as in ‘post response’ or ‘too late to say’.

  6. My grown ass son sighs when a noisy sports car drives by and then he says, “I’m sorry about your small penis.” What’s the female equivalent, I wonder. “It’s a pity you feel powerless., Shweetheart.”

  7. Look Pinky McOatmeal, there’s no need to be such a douche bag about it… or as we used to say when we were kids–take a picture. It lasts longer!)

  8. It must be an effect from the phase of the moon: yesterday, I honked my car horn at the teen driving the car in front of me who had stopped, 75 feet from the green light, to ogle some HS students. The light changed to red and the drivers behind me were also becoming irate. He actually opened his car door and shouted “What? you have to be somewhere?” Had he been wearing a pink beret, I might have laughed. Instead, I yelled “Yeah: unlike some people, I have to get to work!” He slammed his door and fled into on-coming traffic, barely missing a collision. I felt vindicated.

  9. Have you all seen the tee shirt that says, “Be nice to me or you’ll be in my next novel”? Perhaps the answer is to wear that every day until it becomes crusty and falls off.

  10. I grew up one block away from Fairway in the 1950’s. When walking from West End Avenue towards Broadway I feared the Welfare Hotel with the pimps and drug addicts trying to lure me towards their life. Fairway at that time was a ma and pa store where the owner would help my mom with her groceries.
    In 1986, after a successful career in Switzerland as a Ballerina with Balanchine’s Geneva and Zürich ballet, I came back home. My sister asked me to meet her in the coffee aisle.
    at Fairway, but when I got to the 2 story maze I was lost and astonished by Fairway’s growth. Thirty minutes later I finally found her.

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