Who’s next?


whos nextAt my favorite fresh market (The Boys in Delray Beach) yesterday, I filled up on my usual collection of fruits and veggies and then took my mini-cart through the mini-aisles (the aisles are tight to fit more stuff, but it leads to some serious traffic jams) to the fish counter.

I was delighted that they had my little “tubs” of whitefish.  Smoked whitefish, if you’re not already a lover, is a wonderful tasting white meat (duh) usually sold as a whole fish.  You spend a considerable amount of time picking the delectable fish off the little pointy bones.

My “tubs” are small plastic containers of already separated whitefish meat.  Yeah, a little more expensive but oh-so “ready to eat”.  For me, it’s worth it.

There were quite a few people in “line” at the counter.  Really, just mingling, because The Boys doesn’t use numbers.  I waited out the few people in front of me, chatting with the guys behind the counter.

When my time came to answer the “Who’s next?”, I raised my hand and waved.  The guy who should have been helping me was standing farther away and a man directly in front of him said he was next.  Despite support from some other customers, I let the man get served first.

While I am generally a cheerful guy and hard to anger, it does make me shake my head why people act that way.  In this instance, the man knew I was there before him, we had even made eye contact and exchanged the obligatory shrug at waiting in the deli.  Yet, with no hesitation, he jumped at the chance to get ahead of me.

I assume he knew what he did, for he never turned his head once during the time he was being served, not even when the deli server moved down towards me to select a section of salmon.  Guilty?  Perhaps, but then, why do it in the first place?

I liken that to actions like bemoaning the “huge wait” in line (usually only a few minutes, not the passing of a season) or the person who beeps a car that didn’t take off like a drag strip racer (do they still have those?) when the light turned green.

Where has all this urgency come from?  Is gaining one earlier spot in the deli line or an extra car length at the next red light worth the death of civility?

People always talk about how stressed they are and how so many people are so nasty.  I don’t get that as much.  I smile and chat with people and hold the door open for someone even if it means “losing” a spot in line.  It’s a lot easier on my nerves.

So, I don’t get all twisted up when a person jumps me like yesterday.  For me, I’d rather be happy.  When the next call of “Who’s Next?” came up, three people pointed at me and the deli guy laughed.  When I told him how easy my request was (“I just want one of those tubs”) he laughed again and thanked me for being so polite.

It’s really easy.  Any of you could do it, too.

Who’s next?

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