This isn’t the woman I encountered recently at Walgreens while receiving my third COVID shot. That woman was fuller-figured and had black hair. But she could easily have been her sister or maybe even a top-secret clone.
Our encounter was brief, but memorable.
I was second in line when I met Her. We were dutifully observing the “six-feet-apart” signs still on the floor, despite Florida’s reckless loosening of restrictions. I turned my head for an instant, and She cut in front of me.
“Excuse me,” I said, “the line continues behind me.”
She muttered “oh” and moved back.
I checked in and the pharmacist instructed me to sit down. I’d be notified when my turn came.
Alas, being “notified” involved hearing the word “next,” not my actual name. I was reading a gruesome Stephen King scene on my e-book and reacted two seconds too late. The injector technician didn’t care. He let Her slip in through the door and closed it firmly behind her.
“Holy shit!” I said, out loud I’m pretty sure. I complained to the pharmacist and she muttered in the general direction of the injector technician, but to no avail. He didn’t kick Her out and he didn’t usher me in. Even though this could have happened in another country, it seemed very American. Grab what you can and the hell with others.
“Drastic measures are needed,” I thought and marched to the little door. I made an annoying racket on the glass with my star ruby ring. Seconds later. the injector technician opened the door.
“This woman just cut in front of me!” I said. “Again!” Normally I am as peaceful as a porcupine lumbering my way into the brush. But rile me up, and you’ll see my quills stand on end.
The offender frowned but did not dispute my account. She promptly retreated. I got my shot and exited the little room.
I couldn’t resist pushing my tiny triumph and leaned close to Her. “Nice try,” I said loudly.
She looked up, possibly annoyed, but how would I know? She was masked and I didn’t linger. What more could I say?
As I visited the bathroom, I realized that She had probably never heard such words from a guy. Most likely She was used to quite the opposite. Perhaps long ago She discovered her beauty could be weaponized to get her way in social situations. Beauty as superpower. I don’t blame her, really, life’s tough. People tend to use what they’ve got, morality and propriety be damned. But this time She tried it on the wrong guy. Fifty years ago, it might’ve worked. I just might have let Her cut in and flirted shamelessly. But now that I’m in my 70s, I brook no such nonsense. Brazen tactics employed by the stunningly beautiful fall flat with me. As Warren Zevon sang,
The shit that used to work Don't work now.
There’s an epilogue. After I left the bathroom, I realized I’d forgotten to pick up my Gas-X. While I was rustling through the poorly organized shelves, She walked up to me.
She locked eyes two feet from me, “Have a nice day!” she hollered close to my left ear.
But at least she was polite.