I was in the supermarket again yesterday and something new happened in the checkout. I was in the "self-checkout" lane, which means I have to scan the stuff myself and bag it -- often the quicker option if you only had a few items, as I did. A man and his wife got into line behind me, and immediately the man pushed past me to stand at the end of the checkout (near the bagging area). He was apparently waiting to bag his order, for when his wife came through, but he kept hovering around me and my items, which bugged me.
I like my personal space. I don't think it's entirely unreasonable to expect to have a bit of space to yourself while I'm trying to complete this transaction. An "excuse me" would have been nice as he squirmed by. And his hovering wouldn't have bothered me near as much if he and his wife not suddenly having a conversation with each other over me, yelling since I kept getting in the way. Twice, I thought this lady was talking to me -- it was distracting.
In the past, I would have just been uncomfortable in this situation -- a result of my hermit-like antisocial tendencies. But I'm starting to realize that I can shed my shyness, interact with people, try to make light of the situation and feel better about the whole thing.
So I meandered down to the bagging area and said to the guy "Hey, you're just standing around. I thought you were going to bag my order." This is one of those cases where the joke didn't go over too well. I tried to smile a friendly smile to show that I was, in fact, joking, and that I was harmless. He mumbled something like "Oh, uh, no" to me.
At that point, the checkout lane robot voice for some reason decided that I had requested assistance and was calling over the manager. Sensing that this would cause a delay, the man's wife switched to another lane and called her husband to her heel.
Hey, life is improv. The audience sometimes wants its money back.
By the way, when I talk to people, I often get folks mumbling back at me. Is that a bad sign?