Monday, April 14, 2008

An Unspoken Rule

On Saturday, I decided, against my better judgement, to go to the mall to buy shorts for the rapidly approaching Arizona heat. My body works best with American Eagle jeans/pants and I like to stick with what works. I parked, got Gracie loaded into her stroller, took an elevator upstairs, found the appropriate shorts inside American Eagle, tried them on, went up to the register to buy them, and noticed I didn't have my wallet. I put the pants on hold and decided I would never get back to that mall if I didn't go home and get my wallet that second, even though Gracie was tired and desperately needed a nap.

I strategically planned my parking the second time at the mall so I wouldn't have to take an elevator. I finally got to the store and waited patiently in line. Just then, a very pregnant woman walked up to me and started talking as she got in line behind me. She held up the shirt she was buying and read it to me: "Fun, Flat-broke and Fabulous." Not a shirt I would ever buy or think was a good purchase no matter how low the clearance. Plus, it was green with yellow letters. She then pointed out to me, "That's why it's funny is because it says flat-broke and fabulous, when it's usually rich and fabulous. I just had to get it because it's so funny." I'm thinking, Is she serious? And she keeps talking. "How old is your little girl?" "Two." "She's so cute. I love her hair. Does she get the natural curl from her mom or her dad?" "Her dad." "Oh, yeah. I'm having a little girl and on the ultrasound I can see that she has her dad's face." "Next in line." Thank goodness!

It's an unspoken rule that you do not talk to people you are waiting in line with. Especially if they do not seem interested in what you are saying and even more especially when you show them your purchase and explain to them why a shirt someone else wrote is so funny. Even more especially when the shirt refers to someones negative monetary status and you are pregnant. But most important: Don't talk to people you are waiting in line with.

My recent experience has made me aware that not everyone knows this and I felt it needed to be shared. There are several unspoken rules out there that I think help keep us sane. This one is especially important to me as it has kept me from having to make small talk with strangers and let me go about my day in peace when I need it.

Which unspoken rule is your favorite?

20 comments:

Riki Lee said...

At our office, there is only one stall in the ladies room, and it is a smaller bathroom anyway, so the unspoken rule is if the light is on and someone's in there, you go back to your office and wait or go down a level to the next bathroom instead of walking into the bathroom and waiting for the person to finish. Last week, a stranger broke the rule on me, and let me just say, UNCOMFORTABLE! Amen for unspoken rules.

Tia Langston said...

Ok, so I totally talk to people in line. But not all the time, and it's usually a one line comment, unless they seem interested in visiting and continue to speak to me. Ugh, I hope I'm not that annoying. And I guess I just keep quiet unless I think something is funny or out of place. Oh no, I am that green shirt lady!!!! Hopefully not that bad. Anyway, Mel I think the email address I have for you is super old. Will you send me an updated one. icetia@hotmail.com

Jessica Crozier said...

Here's my unspoken rule (broken twice by other people this weekend). If you're in line at the grocery and you have a cart load of stuff, and someone comes up behind you with only a few items, offer to let them go ahead! I was at a snooty grocery store on Sunday because it was the closest place to buy milk for the kiddos and I was waiting patiently in line, then they opened another one and a lady with a full cart whizzed by, and then another line opened and the same thing happened! Yes, I should've said something but I don't like to create a scene when it wasn't a big deal. It's just a big pet peeve of mine!

Kelsey said...

I actually don't mind when people talk to me in line. Then again, I'm sort of flattered when anyone at all talks to me. To be totally honest, I actually somewhat admire people who talk to strangers, because that's something I can never do. I can't even talk to people I know.

As far as unspoken rules are concerned. I think my unspoken rule would be keeping your eyes on the floor in the gym locker room. There's no need to be looking all around and I don't need anyone watching me undress.

Devin and Chelsey said...

I totally agree with you, I never talk to anyone in line. then you get stuck in akward conversation. AHHHH, oh and by the way, american eagle are the only pants/shorts that I can wear aswell. They always seem to fit perfect almost every time!

Tina said...

Well, I break your rule every time I go to a store!!! I talk to everyone... In fact, Steve says I'd talk to a fence post if it'd stand there and listen to me!!! If a person acted like they didn't want to talk, I wouldn't push it, but I find most people are fun and want to pass the time while waiting to check out... I guess I never thought about it as being a pain to anyone, but I'm not likely to change at this point in my life, either.

Anonymous said...

I only like to talk to people in line when I'm complaining about the store I'm in. I hate waiting in line to give my money away.
-Robby

Jim & Jami said...

I don't talk to people in line, if they talk to me first I will respond, but let me be on with my business.....

My unspoken rule is when going through a buffet, don't touch the food unless you plan on putting the item on your plate and eating it.....don't just touch all over it, and then leave it there for the next person to eat.....and use the tongs provided, not your fork, who knows if you licked your fork before you stuck it into that piece of fried chicken, then decided you didn't want it, and just left it there for the next person.....Okay Mel, I'm done, now I will get off my soap box.....

Amber said...

I've been known to talk to someone in line from time to time, but never push it. I might make one comment, but that's all unless the other person starts up a conversation. Usually it's another mom that I'm talking too. I do think the green shirt lady was over the top. Glad you got your shorts though!

I think one of my big unspoken rule pet peeves is PLEASE remove a stinky diaper to an outside trash can when at all possible. At least put the thing in a scented diaper disposal bag if you're going to leave it in the bathroom. I try to always carry a disposal bag, tie the diaper up in it, and dispose of it in an outside trash can as soon as possible. My aunt went in a dressing room the other day to try something on and couldn't even stay in there long enough because someone had left a stinky diaper in the dressing room! That is just ridiculous!

Karen said...

Boy if Gary heard this rule, he'd be quite confused! Gary is like Mom. He talks to everyone everywhere. In line is the perfect place because people can't escape him. And I kind of think that most people don't mind being spoken to as they are just standing there. The kids don't like it when he goes inside a store while we're waiting because we know that he is going to strike up a conversation with some complete stranger and keep us waiting while he makes new friends. I agree with Kelsey though. I can't do this and I'm a little bit taken by people who can.

emidinkl said...

I'm with you on American Eagle shorts. I hadn't worn shorts since 8th grade....UNTIL I discover AE. These legs were pretty white. Alright, the unspoken rule: NEVER ask a woman if she is pregnant or try to make guesses as to far along she is. EVER.
And in airplanes, when sitting next to someone you don't know, it is best to not hog the armrests. Especially if that someone you don't know is a pregnant woman sitting between two large men with bad breath and carryon luggage under MY, I mean her chair.
I'm just sayin...

Mrs. Bennett said...

I'm with Robby - I talk to people only if I'm complaining about the line, and if the cashier is really weird or mean, then sometimes I make some sarcastic remark. But if some stranger came up and talked to me and I was not in the mood, that would really bug me and I probably just wouldn't answer them. :)

Robin said...

I don't talk to people in line. Mostly people in line just talk to my kids. That's fine, keep them occupied I say. The reason I don't want to talk in line is that I'm so frazzled by my kids that I'll probably cry or yell. That's how I felt at Walmart yesterday.
My other favorite unspoken rule-Don't touch a pregnant lady's belly unless you are really good friends or you ask first! Weird people.

Amber said...

Ah, Robin. That's a good one. I can beat that though, when I was pregnant with my oldest, a coworkers daughter came by to go to lunch with her and actually laid her head on my stomach to talk to the baby! This is a total stranger! Yes, weird people, just because the belly is sticking out doesn't mean it's suddenly become public property!

MARIE said...

Mel, I agree with you 100%! I have all kinds of unspoken rule ideas but I just can't remember them now. I'm always coming home telling Bryan my story of the day and saying... "it's like an unspoken rule... You just don't do that". I wish I could remember what they were. Hm!

Lauren said...

Ok, so this isn't a typical unspoken rule, but here it is. People should never ask awkward questions...that are personal. So somebody at work today saw my engagement ring and said, "You are getting MARRIED?" "Yes." "Well, how OLD are you?" "20." "20?! You are pregnant huh?" "Umm, noooo."

Ridiculous!

Becky said...

I agree about touching a pregnant women's stomach! Just don't do it!
Also don't ask someone if they are pregnant unless you are really really sure. THis happened to my husband's mom once. "When are youd due?" they asked. "Oh! I'm not pregnant, I'm just fat" was her reply!

Jess & Josh said...

I am with Lauren on that one. I got engaged at 19 and married at 20. Alot of people thought it was because I was pregnant. I guess I have just kept the kid in for the past 3 years and hes just going to walk out. It feels good to proove people wrong sometimes.

I also agree with you Mel. I dont speak to people in line unless I am spoken to. Its just plain weird. If there is a kid/baby in the cart in line in front of me and he starts smiling at me I just say how cute the kid is and leave it at that.

My only unspoken rule is that in public bathrooms if you get some of your pee on the stupid toilet clean it off. Don't just leave it there for the next person to clean up. Its really disgusting!!

dean and chelle said...

I have to admit, sometimes I talk to people in line but that is very few and far between. I don't like it when creepy people talk to me. If someone looks respectable, then I will chat it up with them.

My unspoken rule/annoyance: 2 person families that take up an entire bench to themselves at church when clearly another 5 person family could fit in it with them but instead that 5 person family is forced to go sit in the overflow. Don't get me started.

The Queen said...

hehe, you are so funny!