We were in the line up at the grocery store, we both nodded to the woman working there as she is often assigned the accessible till. She is an older woman who speaks English well, though her accent, combined with the noise of the store, and I add reluctantly, my age means that I sometimes have to listen very carefully to hear what she is saying.
As she checked out our stuff I noticed that she had a locked display case holding for scratch and win lottery tickets. I am a sucker for an impulse buy so I asked her if I could have all four of the remaining tickets. She had to get a manager to come with a key, which she did, and the tickets were out and being scanned.
When we were done and the groceries were paid for, she picked up the tickets that I had asked for and … Well let’s start with what she didn’t do. She didn’t do what everyone else has ever done when I’ve been a victim of my impulses in the past, she didn’t just hand them to Joe. Now, I never really noticed, we are together, he’s closer to the cashier and handing them to him seemed natural. But, she didn’t do that.
What did she do differently?
She looked at me and said, “Is it OK for me to give these to him?”
She enunciated very carefully every word, she wanted my permission to give lottery tickets to the person I was with.
I thanked her for asking and said that it was fine to give them to him. She smiled, said, “I thought it would be,” and handed them to Joe.
She thought it would be acceptable to give them to Joe but even with that assumption she asked my permission first.
You might think that a small thing, maybe even to small to write about, but gosh it was big to me. I liked it. I liked being asked permission. I liked being put in the position of deciding what happened next.
So often I don’t notice when assumptions are made and Joe is automatically deemed the responder, the receiver, the prime mover. And this was one of those times.
Not again though.