Normally, I do not like having to use the “Widow Card” in my day to day life, but every now and then, when someone angers me or annoys me in just the right way, it seems like the absolute perfect time to pull it out, and make them feel like crap by hitting them hard with my reality. That happened the other day.
I was in my local grocery store here in Queens, New York, after getting off the train and then the bus, after a long day of teaching college courses. I stopped in the store on my walk home from the bus to pick up a container of the International Delight Hazelnut creamer that I use in my coffee. As I approached the shelf, there was one hazelnut left, as if left there just for me. I quickly grabbed it and held on. I had run out over a week ago, and so I hadn’t had a cup of coffee in a week, adding to my high stress and low tolerance for idiots level. Enter the idiot.
I picked up the other 2 items I needed, and then got into the 10 items or less lane and waited. There were 3 people in front of me. A woman got behind me in line who was, I’m guessing, at least 10 years younger than I am. She was probably in her late twenties or so. She was talking very loudly into her cell phone, and she was very annoyed with the person on the other end. “Stop calling meeeeeee!!!”, she whined into the phone, slamming it into her jacket pocket. “Oh My God! He is soooo annoying!!!” Now she was talking to me, apparently. I said nothing, not wanting to get involved in what passed for drama in her ridiculous life. Her phone rang again. “Whattt???”,she screamed again into the phone, her pink manicured nails tapping against it’s surface, and her heavy Long Island accent permeating the entire store. “You want the Hazelnut coffee creamer? I thought you said Irish Cream!” There was a pause, and then a huge sigh, and then, to me again: “Can you hold my place in line? My stupid husband has to have his friggin’ Hazelnut or life will end, and if I don’t get it, I’ll have to hear his bitching about it all friggin’ week!” I remained calm. “I’ll hold your place, but if this is what you’re looking for, I got the last one on the shelf”, I said to her, holding up my delicious creamer. Her eyes turned to daggers. “Oh My Gawwwd, you HAVE to give me that creamer! No, you don’t understand! If he doesn’t have his coffee in the morning, he will bug me all day long and I can’t take it!” “Bug you?”, I asked. “How so?” I was genuinely curious if her insanely over-dramatic tone was about something bigger than creamer. “By friggin’ talking to me nonstop and asking me about my day and what I’m going to do and where I’m having lunch and blah blah blah!” I felt like I was in The Twilight Zone with what she was saying, and the level of anger in her voice. “So you don’t want him asking about your day? That’s a bad thing for you?” At this point, the two people behind us both were nodding in agreement with me, and one woman was chuckling to herself at the insanity of this conversation. Then she said the thing that made me use my “Widow Card” in reply:
“Never mind!!! I’ll have to go to another store and miss my massage appointment so I can get his stupid creamer! He is just soooo annoying!!! He is off work today and all he wants to do is hang out together. I just saw him yesterday. I don’t wanna hang out! I need to get my pedicure done! You wouldn’t understand unless you’re married!”
And that was when I lost it. That was the moment that I went from calm and reasonable, to widow on a mission. “You’re right”, I said to this young woman, loud enough so that the people behind me could eavesdrop without straining. “I would not understand, because I am no longer married. I’m a widow. I was married for almost 5 years to the most amazing person I’ve ever met, and then one day, he got up for work and never came home, because he had a heart attack and died. So you’re right – I don’t understand why you think it’s “annoying” that your husband wants to spend time with you, or that something as tiny as hazelnut creamer is all it seems to take to make him happy. I don’t understand what you’re so angry about, when you have all the important things in life sitting right in front of you. I would give just about anything to be able to sit down with my husband again, and have a cup of coffee together. But I can’t do that ever again, so if you don’t mind, I’ll be taking this creamer, because something tells me that I might appreciate it a tiny bit more than you ever will.”
Yes, this actually happened. No, I am not making it up. When I left the store and started walking home, immediately the crying began. I cried hard, because I couldn’t believe the unfairness of what that woman has and what I don’t get to have anymore. She had zero remorse or understanding in her eyes, when I told her I was widowed. She actually almost rolled her eyes at me. The only thing she proved was that she has never known real love.