I was in the supermarket five minutes from my mum’s place and when I reached up to pick up a block of wrapped cheese, another one further along fell off the shelf and hit a woman next to me on the upper arm.
I immediately apologised profusely and when the woman didn’t say anything, but just looked at me with a fussy sour expression, I apologised again.
She then made a kind of ‘humph’ noise and ostentatiously rubbed her arm, looking very aggrieved.
‘I’m very sorry,’ I said again, ‘I didn’t do it on purpose…’
Still, she looked cross and affronted.
I found her reaction extraordinary as it wasn’t really my fault. It wasn’t like I’d roughly reached over her and grabbed it from where she was standing. The cheese had been stupidly overstacked on the shelf and a small movement on the end where I was had caused the packet to fall off on her side.
Had it been me, I would have laughed and said ‘Don’t worry about it, dangerous places, supermarkets…’ or some such.
Instead she continued to look at me like one of those mean-faced ginger cats, rubbing her arm. I began to feel annoyed. Her reaction was so out of proportion.
‘I didn’t do it on purpose,’ I repeated, ‘but I’m sorry if it hurt you.’
‘Well, I’m just worried about my mother-of-the-bride dress tonight,’ she said, in outraged tones.
I was so surprised I asked her to repeat it to make sure I’d heard her right and yes, on a Thursday afternoon she was worrying about her mother-of-the-bride dress. For that night. Really?
I’d had enough, so I said sorry one last time and walked off, beginning to feel furious. Mean retorts jumped into my head.