Yesterday, I made a trip to the grocery store for provisions. This is a local chain, privately owned by decent people who really do try with customer service and generally succeed (they have the hardest working managers I’ve ever seen). I went to that particular store because of the six or seven food stores closest to home, it has the best produce, meat and the widest variety of, um, libations (although, I didn’t actually buy any, even if I do get carded there on a regular basis) at reasonable prices. We characterize it as the “hippie” grocery store largely because that location has the best garlic. This particular store happens to be in one of the more civilized and fairly affluent neighborhoods close to the city line, in an area dominated by leftist professor types, and patronized by a quite diverse group of people. In other words, it is NOT the ‘hood. (That’s actually seven blocks from home, and a true cultural experience.)
Upon arrival, after scoring a really good parking spot, I got out of the car and started walking toward the front door, when a well over six foot tall man with very fair skin, ginger red hair and going about 350 pounds, wearing earphones, glasses and almost grunge clothes, carrying four or five grocery sacks walked out followed by what can only be called a posse: a cop, about four managers, the head checker and more all of whom were men (several ladies walked out the door, but behind the guys and didn’t follow once in the parking lot). The hulking man turned around and threw two of the bags of groceries at the posse yelling, “It was express lane, man, express lane.” He turned and walked between some cars, the posse closing in, “It was express lane.”
This dude was clearly agitated and it was getting worse. The laws of physics say it was going to take several people to take this guy down if that was necessary. Having been taught that manners dictate gawking is impolite, I went into the store where I encountered two of the better checkers, a couple of older African-American ladies, who were watching the happenings outside through a window and the whole story came out while they were gabbing: “He was in the express lane and suddenly started yelling and cussing at her. Then he started yelling at other people. He left and then he came back and he was yelling and cussing at her and then he took a swing…oh, look, he took a swing again.” (Eavesdropping may not be polite either, but it’s one of the best and most efficient ways of getting information.)
What actually happened, for me, is a mystery, but might well have something to do with having too many items to honestly go through the express lane. Most of us just give people with too many items in their baskets in the express lane dirty looks. We don’t go off on the checker, bagger or anyone else and certainly don’t take swings at people.
Every now and then, we all run into whackjobs like the hulking dude – borderline violent with a short fuse. These individuals have always existed and will always exist. And, frankly, without sheer size, women can be helpless against such men. That there were several men, albeit in a group, demonstrating that such behavior will not be tolerated says that the natural order of things remains and that male protectiveness, even in the workplace, will surface when necessary.
Scenes like the one I saw yesterday are one of the many reasons why feminists are out of their minds when they say we women don’t need men. Guys who only understand brute force and use it to get their way can only be controlled by brute force and fear instilled from other men. There is no reasoning involved. Women are not hardwired to deal with men in that manner. Men either are or learned to be that way during development. In this city, where so many of us went to single sex high schools, we girls learned cattiness, but the guys obviously learned something else when it came to social discourse. Something that we women don’t always understand.
Once I was done with my shopping and checked out, on the surface everything seemed back to normal. There were smiles on the checkers faces. As usual, any and every employee at the front of the store was helping to bag groceries. There was no extra police presence, even though the cop’s Crown Vic was still outside. The spilled cottage cheese was even gone from the parking lot. But there was something in the air, an extra vigilance. If that sort of incident is possible in a sleepy neighborhood where the worst disturbances are usually loud parties at one in the morning, it could happen anywhere. Thank Heaven for the natural instincts of men. Without them we women would be toast.
Please, remember that this sort of protectiveness never goes out of style and is greatly appreciated.
P.s. The feminists can stuff it.