One of my deepest fears may be coming true. I am becoming a crotchety old woman.
I have for a while sensed that I had the potential. There have been signs, after all - the "shhhh" I gave to a group of teenagers talking during a movie, honking my car horn and flashing my meanest meany look when someone pulled out in front of me. And then there it was, the big one.
I refused to pull up.
As most anyone who knows me well will tell you, I do not like confrontation. For years I have been polite, understanding, probably even smiled, gosh darn it, when asked those dreaded four words by the fast food restaurant worker at the drive thru window - "Can you pull up?" I didn't like it, but I did it. No questions asked. Even though there were times I was in a hurry... felt abandoned... even forgotten.
Blame it on the heat, but I wasn't going to take it anymore.
"Can you pull up?" the seemingly perfectly nice woman asked after she slid open the glass window and handed me my change. I looked in the rear view mirror. No one else was there. I looked back at her, then back in my rear view mirror.
"But no one is behind me," I said, surprised, myself, at the words coming out of my mouth. How bold I had become. How daring.
My stomach hurt. My face became flushed. I was... I was... I was going to do it.
"No, thank you. I'd rather not," I said. "I'll wait here."
She gave me a little "hmmfph" and shut the window.
Who was this person sitting in the driver's seat of my car? It certainly wasn't the old me, the no-by-all-means-jump-ahead-of-me-in-this-long-line-because-I-don't-want-to-cause-a-scene me, the "that's fine you put mayo on my hamburger even though I asked for no mayo... I'll just wipe it off" me. That me had left the building. Enter the "I'll wait here" me.
Basking in my rebel without a cause glory, I hardly noticed the glass window sliding open again. This time a man appeared.
"Ma'am, we ask that you please pull up until your order is ready. Just right up there," he said and pointed toward the front of the building, out of the drive-thru line where other non-existent cars of the moment could pass through. I looked in my rearview mirror, then at him. That's when I noticed the first girl I had talked with standing behind him. Oh no she didn't... she went and told the manager on me. I had become the difficult woman who wouldn't pull up.
"I'm fine," I said. "As you can see there is no one behind me."
The smile never left his face but his glare spoke volumes - this man didn't like me very much. He whispered something to the girl - the tattle tale - behind him and she handed him my drink.
"You can enjoy your drink while you pull up," he said. I looked in the rear view mirror. Still, no one.
"Thank you," I said, taking my drink. "But I'll enjoy it right here." Reluctantly, he closed the window.
Hooray! I had made my point. I was a new woman... I was independent... I was free of pulling forward... I was.... I was... a little nervous, actually. What would they do now? Call the police? File a Refusal to Pull Up report? Was standing my ground against the law? Oh, Lord... I can't afford to go to jail. I have teenagers. Who would they ignore if I wasn't around? I don't look good in orange... Maybe I should just pull up. Maybe...
That very second the window slid open and the tattle tale girl handed me my bag. She didn't smile, didn't even look me in the eye. I smiled at her, though, and said, "At least you didn't have to walk outside in this heat," and let out a little laugh.
She didn't think I was funny.
I'm sorry tattle tale girl. I'm sorry manager. But there's a new girl in town. Call me crotchety. But please don't call the police.
I don't look good in orange.
Contact columnist Mandy Flynn at flyn1862bellsouth.net.