The Line- Manners, Accents & More
There is a neighborhood supermarket that is populated by what can be described as an eclectic potpourri of people and personalities. It includes Israelis, Armenians, Persians, Blacks, Whites, Jews of all stripes and people I couldn’t begin to categorize, not that I’d label people.
I am not a fan of labels unless it is the plain wrap. I am sure that many of you have noticed that when you go to pick up a bottle of drug XYZ there are always two brands, the namebrand and the storebrand. Aside from fancy packaging the only significant difference I have noticed is the $3.98 difference in price between the two.
Have you ever noticed that among there are multiple accents among the English speakers (American, UK, Irish, Australians) until they start singing. Almost without exception those accents disappear when people sing. I don’t know why that is but I do know that I find that to be pretty cool.
But back to the market. One of the reasons that this market attracts such a diverse collection of people is that it offers a decent selection of ethnic foods/spices which is something that I find to be attractive. I love walking into a place that smells a little bit like Machane Yehuda.
Now I should mention that this particular market that I am referring to is not an open air market, but it has that kind of feel to it.
One of the other things that it has in spades is a large number of people who are unfamiliar with the concept of a line, or maybe I am not as familiar with their concept of a line.
I am not daunted or intimidated by having people push carts into me or bump me so that they can squeeze the Charmin. At my size it takes a larger person to make me notice that I am being pushed or bumped. But what I do notice are the people who place three or four items on the belt by the cashier and then take off to go acquire more items.
Their idea is to use the canned peas and two soda bottles to save their place while they shop. I can appreciate their desire to make the most of their time and avoid waiting for the person in front of them to pay. After all half of the yahoos in line don’t bother to take out their wallet until they are actually at the register. Why prepare to pay it is only time.
But the thing is that I consider my time to be valuable too and I am not willing to allow people to use anything besides a human body to hold their place in line, not on line, in line. Some people have been miffed with my unwillingness to allow them to use this little tactic.
Just last week a woman muttered something beneath her breath that sounded an awful lot like Ben Zonah. You should have seen the look on her face when I repeated her words in English and then swore back in Hebrew. I hadn’t expected to respond this way, but I was overtired and I just reacted.
That raises a tangential point about Los Angeles, I love the diversity here. There is something so cosmopolitan, so worldly about it. It is nice to walk outside and not be stuck in a cookie cutter world.
Anyway, I am rambling now so I’ll just end this here. Much more to come tomorrow.
Lailah tov from LA, I am out for now.