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Isolated Lines August 6, 2010

Posted by sarahsfate in Thoughts on People.

Have you ever noticed how you stand in a grocery line? You are waiting in line with a half dozen other shoppers and instead of feeling as though the six or seven of you are part of a group…you feel alone. Isolated. Noticed — as though the others are staring at you and judging your right to be there. You shuffle your feet. You look at your watch. You check the items in your grocery cart as though you do not already know what you have selected.

You look at the magazines, glance at the row of chewing gum choices, or at an unseemly speck of dirt on the floor.

You feel their eyes on you. You did not get dressed up today, did you? Just put on some sweat pants and a t-shirt and went to the store. And you are wearing flip flops, which only serve to present your non-pedicured toes. Your hair is pulled in a lazy knot at the back of your head (if you are a girl) or you did not bother putting gel in before you left (if  you’re a guy). People are staring, you are certain of it.

I wonder if everyone standing in the line is doing the same thing. All picking themselves apart in some great agony of belonging there…in a grocery line.

You know, sensibly (because you are a sensible person) that no one is staring at the back of your head and they do not notice your toes. In fact, what they are probably thinking is how the people behind them are judging them.

Everyone is quiet in line as though in the library and then someone will say something, finally, about the heat outside, the abnormally cold air conditioner inside or why the store only has four cashiers working during back-to-school sales. And everyone in line breathes a sigh of relief, to be granted favor by conversation, and everyone jumps into the conversation — exclaiming about whatever  subject was brought up.

And suddenly, instead of being half a dozen isolated individuals, everyone becomes a group. One group.



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