Shopping for Indignation: Systems and People

This morning, I stopped at the grocery store on my way home from the Y. (Note: NO, this is not just a subtle way to broadcast the fact that I GOT UP AND WORKED OUT AT 5:30 THIS MORNING. I'm beyond that.) I picked up the handful of items I wanted and went to the Express Line. ⁣

Uh oh. There were at least 10 people standing in the line that snaked around the shelves, and their sad, hopeless faces telegraphed that they were on a voyage of the damned. The only other open lane had two waiting carts stacked so high it appeared to be a preparation for an imminent nuclear winter. ⁣

I waited about three minutes, and the Express (!) cashier was still ringing up the same person. Based on my crack math skills, at that rate it would take 30 minutes. ⁣

I sighed. Not today, Satan. I stepped out of line, dropped my perishables into the nearest cold case and left the other stuff on a shelf and headed out the door. Something clearly was systemically wrong here. ⁣

On the way to my car, I saw a woman rushing in from the parking lot wearing a shirt and badge that identified her as an employee of the grocery store. And it occurred to me that she could be a missing cashier. ⁣

And then it occurred to me that maybe it wasn't something systemically wrong. Maybe it was something personally wrong, for a very specific, vulnerable, struggling fellow human. A sick child, or a flat tire, or a late bus. ⁣

So I gathered my righteous indignation back in to save it for another day, when it's more appropriate. And wondered if that day would ever really come. ⁣

I kinda hope not.⁣