Most of the time the store I work at is filled with pretty cool people.  They are smart, opinionated, and interesting.  They bring their kids (who are adorable) and joke about their weekend.

But then there are the people who are cruel, and impatient, and rude.  Like today.

I was working at a register today when a man came through my line.  He didn’t acknowledge the fact I said hello, to start.  Then he entered his pin wrong.  When I told him that he needed to swipe his card again he looked at me as though I had uttered some sort of profanity.  He had a problem with one of the screens.  I tried to help him, and he yelled at me.  He left in a huff, and I tried to get on with my day, even trying to laugh him off as another grumpy old man.

The woman behind him didn’t see it that way.  She shook her head and angrily said that he shouldn’t have treated me that way.  She told me to hang in there.  And I started crying, because she was right.

I can not stand it when people speak cruelly to one another.  So often we do not think of how the words we say can hurt somebody, and too often when we are hurt we put up our protective armor, distancing ourselves from the problem.  Sometimes I wonder about the disconnection that plagues our 21st century lives.  While often I think it is due in part to the abundance of alternative communication outlets, like Facebook and text, I think the reason we disconnect in the first place is to make it easier to put on a brave face to the world.  The world makes it not okay to be sensitive and emotional, as though these are things that make you less of a person (something that I have always been plagued with).  So we try to make it hurt less.  We put up our walls and hang out in the fortress of our mind, rather than come right out and say when something is the matter.

The thing that has always bothered me is, does putting on a brave face really ever solve anything?  If no one ever raises the issue, whether it be impatience or injustice, does it really ever work itself out?  Perhaps it does some of the time, but not as often as I would like to think.

Or perhaps he was just a grumpy old man.