Tuesday, May 6, 2008

It Would Be Funny If I Wasn't So Hungry


Feeling pretty magnanimous today, so when I'm leaving the elevator lobby, see a woman coming in, hold the door for her, and she breezes by without so much as acknowledging my existence, I think, "Maybe she has a lot on her mind. Big meeting with the boss. Sick kids at home. Who knows?" I let it go.

Minutes later, I'm standing in line at Subway. It's lunchtime and there are several office parks around, so the line is all the way out the door. If you've been to Subway, you know that when you get to the counter, there's a long sneeze shield allowing you to see all the ingredients so you can choose what you want on your sandwich. At this particular one, there's a little card on the inside of the lower right-hand corner showing the various types of bread they offer.

A couple of people in front of me is a woman. Attractive, successful-looking in her camel-colored business suit, chatting with a couple of associates. I hear her place her order: "6-inch turkey, please." The person behind the counter says, "What kind of bread?" There is a pause. "What kind of bread?" There seems to be some delay.

It takes a few seconds for me to reallize that the woman is wordlessly pointing at the bread she wants on the little card while staring in wide-eyed total lack of understanding of the fact that she is not communicating her desire to the person trying to make the sandwich.

As mentioned, I'm feeling generous today, so my first thought is "Maybe she's illiterate." I've read, after all, that people who are functionally illiterate manage to get by very well and successfully hide the fact that they can't read. It occurs to me, though, that these people develop skills. If she was illiterate, she'd just say "white" or "wheat" and no one would be any the wiser. Also, an illiterate person would have no trouble at all realizing that the person behind the counter can't even see that she's pointing at something, much less which bread selection she's indicating.

Fortunately, some level of awareness finally dawned, she mumbled something about what she wanted, and life went on. It usually does.

SAQ: Marianas Trench

No comments:

Add to Technorati Favorites