I’d say I’m pretty harmless looking, and I know I’m tall.
Nearly everywhere I go, the confluence of those two facts leads to diminutive women asking me to get things off of high shelves for them.
It’s always women. A guy— especially a short guy— would never ask for that kind of help.
Anyway, at the grocery store today, twice in less than five minutes, tiny women asked me to reach up to the back of the top shelf.
One was the typical transaction— I was standing nearby and a grandmotherly type asked me to grab a bag of coffee.
Done and done with a smile.
The other instance was a little more strange. I was walking past an aisle when this miniature Edie Falco sounding woman yelled “HEY!”
I looked up, making eye contact.
Now, I’m always willing to help anyone, anytime, especially with something so silly and easy as grabbing something off a shelf, but I’m getting the vibe here like this woman did me a favor by calling me over to be her stock boy.
She continued to yammer as I reached way back to get the thing she needed— cocktail sauce.
As I handed it to her, the word SHRIMP jumped off the label at me in giant glowing letters.
“I wouldn’t dare mention the irony,” I said, after what felt like an hour of internal deliberation— but it couldn’t have been more than a second.
“What,” she said, curt and dismissive, clearly annoyed and certainly not sure what I meant— maybe not even sure what irony is.
“Just that you couldn’t reach shrimp sauce,” I said.
“Ohh, yeah,” she said, trailing off too absorbed in her own thought to say anything else, and off to find her next victim.
I’m not sure she even realized I called her a shrimp, and I’m not necessarily proud that I did, but sometimes you have to step outside of your comfort zone for the sake of humanity.