Saturday, October 23, 2010


I spent a couple Sundays ago feeling like a little kid – mainly because people kept scolding me. At any moment, I thought I’d be given a time-out or be put on punishment.

The day began when I went to a Native-American powwow in Allenstown. Just as I arrived, the Aztec fire dancers were about to perform. Their costumes were so ornate and beautiful, I just had to get a photo of them. The trouble was, I couldn’t get close enough to take a good shot because the dancers were standing inside a big circular fenced-in area.

Finally, I just stepped inside the fence and snapped a photo.

One of the dancers turned to glare at me. “No cameras inside the circle!” she snapped, causing several people in the crowd to turn and stare at me. I felt the color rush to my cheeks as I backed away.

A few minutes later, another guy made the same mistake of stepping inside the circle to take a photo. At the time, one of the dancers was making an announcement over a microphone. Without thinking, she shouted at the guy not to take photos within the circle, and her voice blasted through all of the speakers.

All I can say is my own feelings of embarrassment paled in comparison to this poor guy’s humiliation. He look so flustered, the woman actually walked over to him later and apologized for embarrassing him.

After the powwow, I ran a few errands, one of which involved going to a drive-up ATM I hadn’t used before. This ATM wasn’t anything like the one I was accustomed to using at my own bank, which takes your card and doesn’t spit it out until the transaction is complete.

I drove up to the ATM and shoved my card into the slot. Nothing happened. So I waited. Nothing came up on the screen. So I waited some more. Meanwhile, a car pulled up behind me. I removed my card from the machine and inserted it again.

As I sat there waiting, the guy behind me tooted his horn. I wasn’t sure what he wanted me to do, so I ignored him. He tooted again and made some kind of pulling and pushing motion with his hand. I had no idea what he wanted…and I was pretty sure I didn’t want to find out.

Finally, he got out of his car, walked up to my car and said in a voice that didn’t hide his obvious irritation, “You have to insert your card and then take it right out again!”

I just stared at him.

“Take the card out of the machine, put it in again, leave it there a second, and then take it out,” he said.

Not wanting to further upset him, I did as he said. The screen finally asked for my PIN.

“Oops! Sorry about that!” I said, smiling sheepishly. “I’ve never used this machine before!” The man frowned at me and slammed back into his car.

I was beginning to think that everyone within a 10-mile radius had gotten up on the wrong side of the bed that morning.

Finally, I wanted some of this really great glass cleaner I can find only at R&R in Hooksett, so I decided to stop there before heading home. As I pulled into the parking lot, I looked at both my watch and the clock in my car. One said 4:51 and the other said 4:52. The store was closing at 5.

I dashed inside. The minute I set foot in the store, the clerk at the front counter shouted at me, “We’re closed!” The expression on her face made me feel as if I’d just committed a felony.

I looked at the clock on the wall behind her. It was at least five minutes fast. There also were customers still shopping. Seeing that I knew where the glass cleaner was, I ignored her and made a beeline for the aisle, half expecting her to come running after me and tackle me.

There were three customers ahead of me at the checkout when I headed up there about 10 seconds later with my glass cleaner. The whole time the clerk was ringing up their purchases, she kept muttering that she was tired, fed up and wanted to go home.

Somehow, the “have a nice day,” she mumbled at the close of each transaction sounded as if it could have used just a tad more sincerity.

I expected to get a real tongue lashing when I finally handed my glass cleaner to her, but she remained silent. Still, if looks could have killed, my husband probably would have been scattering my ashes before he went to bed that night.

“So, how did your day go?” my husband asked when I finally got home.

“An Aztec woman yelled at me, a guy at the ATM yelled at me, and the clerk in R&R yelled at me,” I said. “I’m really starting to get a complex!”

“That’s nice, dear. What’s for dinner?”