As I watched the Super Bowl teams running all over the field as though they owned the place, it brought to mind something that occurred recently.
My stepson and his wife live close to Atlanta, and they were in a grocery store shopping for a few items. They walked to the express lane, but it was occupied by a guy with a shopping cart full of groceries.
He was a big guy, decked out in fancy street clothes, and seemed oblivious to the people with fewer than 15 items lined up behind him.
My kids took their few things to another lane. As it turned out, they left the store just ahead of Rude Man (let’s call him “Rudy”).
But they weren’t ahead for long. Rudy’s cart was bowling people aside as he shoved his way out of the store — worthy of any Super Bowl play — and he strolled out to the parking lot.
He strode toward a large German luxury sedan that was parked in a handicap space, and they thought, “If he rams that car, it will be the loser in that match-up.”
He didn’t hit the car, though. He hit the button on his key fob and “wee-weeped” the door locks open before he got to that handicap space. Rudy stowed his groceries inside the car and sped away.
(I didn’t ask whether Rudy left his shopping cart in the middle of the parking lot without putting it away, but I’m pretty sure how they would have answered.)
As the car left, my stepson suddenly remembered where he had seen Rudy before: on the football field. Rudy is a professional football player who makes tens of millions of dollars a year.
NFL athletes are used to barging down the field, but my kids said he didn’t have to do that in the supermarket – abusing the express lane, pushing folks aside, parking in the handicap space.
I asked them to take pity on him. Even with all that money and prestige, he was having to buy his own groceries, and that task is enough to exasperate my wife, too. You never know how people are going to react to their circumstances.
The other night, for instance, my daughter called me at work and wanted me to take her and her toddler to the emergency room because the girl had gotten sick fast and my daughter felt too shaken up to drive. I drove much faster to her house than I normally do on the highway, and I hoped I didn’t run into any blue lights that would shine on me at midnight, even after I explained my hurry. I’m sure the police have heard every excuse by now, some of them twice.
The point is, we never know what’s going on in other people’s heads. For instance, I’m sure the woman who stopped at the red light earlier that same day, then turned left in front of me – left! – had some reason that would make sense if she had the opportunity to give it.
As for Rudy, I prefer to think his maid was busy washing his sports car and so he had offered to do the shopping for her.
Yeah, that’s it.