Her naiveté is enticing. She sees each day with new promise, never remembering yesterday’s problems. Her face holds no guile. Many of the customers come into the store because of her rather than any real need to purchase cellular products. She gives a genuine smile and personal greeting to each customer she assists.
Sitting next to her unflappable happiness day after long, dreary day, makes me want to shoot myself. When the customers walk toward me, I often dip my head down in hopes they get into her line. I can’t deal with the problems, the squeaky wheels of the stridently voiced old ladies, or the chirpy, dirty school girls.
The end of the workday is near. I can’t wait to get home, but first, I have to wait on the rest of the customers. Next to me, I hear the high-pitched tones of Ashley’s voice as she says, “Welcome to Cell World, how may I help you?” I look at my next customer hoping eye contact will suffice as my greeting. The blue-haired lady steps forward, handing me her cell phone and states, “This phone isn’t working.” I take the phone, turn it on without any problem. “What’s wrong with it? I ask. “It turns on without any problems.” My voice sounds surly in my ears. I attempt to smile to soften my tone.
The lady cocks her head slightly to the left as she tries to hear me more clearly. “Well, I know it turns on, but I can’t seem to call out. I dial the number but it doesn’t do anything.” I look at the phone in my hand, tapping the screen to pull up the dial pad. I key in my personal cell number, press send then hold the phone up to my ear. There is not a connection. “Have you purchased a cell phone plan?” I ask. She looks at me, a puzzled look on her face, “What do you mean? I bought the phone, was I supposed to purchase something else?” Silently I chant my mantra, “Breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out.” Here at the end of the day my patience is non-existent. I practically yell at the lady, “You have to have a cell phone plan or the phone won’t connect to the network.” She glances at Ashley and then looks back at me, “Why can’t you sound as sweet as she sounds?”
Slowly, deliberately, every move perfectly calculated, I stand to my full height of 5’2”. I’m a full head shorter than the awe-inspiring Ashley and almost eye-to-eye with the blue-haired lady. I push my stool beneath the counter and walk out of the store. I do not look back. I walk to my beaten truck, reaching my hand into the open window because the window will not roll up, grab the door handle and open the door. The seat springs jab me in the leg as I begin to bang my head against the steering column.