In Line at CVS

Talbots carries a particular type of top that I like to wear. It has three-quarter length sleeves and a cross-over bodice with a V-neck. They are a nice fit and flattering for my shape. The only problem with them is that the V-neck is a little to loosey-goosey for my comfort, so I use a safety pin on the inside of the shirt to hold the fabric closed where I want it.

This morning as I was getting dressed for work, I grabbed one of said favorite go-to tops, and while I was tossing it over my head and getting the safety pin straightened out, I thought to myself that maybe today I should wear the safety pin on the outside of the shirt. I didn’t, and promptly forgot about it.

And it didn’t matter.

During my lunch hour I ran to CVS to pick up a Valentine’s Day card. It was a high traffic day in the greeting card aisle, and there was quite a line at the checkout. One cashier had a customer who was being difficult, so she had to call for the manager. The other had to run back to the pharmacy to do something special for her customer, so it was taking longer than usual, and there were about eight of us in line.

While I advanced to being first in line, the store manager set the original clerk up at the register in the photo pick up area and she called over the next customer in line. That was  me, so I stepped over to that register. As I did so, I spotted a woman in non-western dress and with her head covered in a (beautiful, by the way) hijab. She had a small child and an infant in a stroller with her. She looked confused as she hesitantly tried to advance, as I stepped up to the counter. I didn’t mean to be rude, really I didn’t.

She waited patiently for me to make my purchase, and tried to advance again as I left the line. It would have been fine, except there were now  even more people who had already queued up, so she would have been cutting them off. I turned to her and smiled.

“The line is here.” I said, almost in a whisper. I pointed to the people who had been waiting.

“Even for photo pick-up?” She pointed to the sign over the register.

“Yes. Usually this register is just for photo pick up, but when the line gets long, they open up all the registers for any purchase.”

The clerk was a little less generous. “Yeah, you still have to get in line.” Her voice had edged toward tart.

“Thank you, I didn’t understand,” she replied.

“I know, it can be confusing.” I repeated how the line works and what can  make it shift, and she nodded her understanding. She’ll know next time.

By now I had complimented her on her beautiful baby, and asked the little boy if the baby was his brother or his sister.

“He’s my baby brother, and his name is Omar.” He was very proud of his brand new sibling. By now we had an audience.


“He’s very handsome, and you know what? I have a friend name Omar!” My exclamation, which I made sure was loud enough for everyone to hear, brought a light of surprise to the woman’s face, and I could almost feel her relax.

Omar’s wife makes falafal like nobody’s business, and if you want to know where to get some just ask me, and I’ll tell you where their shop is.

We bid each other a good day as she guided the stroller to the end of the line and I left the store. As I was getting into my car I remembered the safety pin hidden on the inside of my top and chuckled.

I wish the woman well, and I hope to see her again sometime. Maybe she’ll recognize the middle aged white haired woman who has a friend named Omar. We can greet each other with a bit of familiarity and enjoy a moment or two of sharing the planet.