Whole Foods Freezing

The other day I walk into the charming, farmer’s market style produce section of Whole Foods, thinking of what my wife might need for a work gathering in a few days. I think of firewood, then, as any savvy Oregonian might, I think of the weather forecast. Aha! I pull out my trusty iPhone to check the weather app for the weekend! As I do this, I half-consciously slide between fruit baskets and boxes, getting partially out of the shopper traffic flow.

“Excuse me,” I hear, sounding annoyed and on my back. “Get off your phone!” the voice utters as a tall woman brisks past me with the straight-ahead mixed look of fear and pride.

Holy shit, I think. Okay, I’m frozen in words, as I stand there holding my phone, reluctantly feeling embarrassed, ashamed, and aggravated. The woman walks off before I can gather my overly-analyzed non-violent response. I continue to over-consider if I should approach her, while I also consider how this blog post might appear, depending on my choice. I decide it feels forced to approach her and address something so insignificant, so I make it a practice of seeing a hard truth, even if it’s delivered with contempt. The World 1, Me 0!

I realize now that most of my shame and embarrassment were about my lack of ability to respond in the moment. I froze up and went into my head, terrified that I had both been in the way and been on my phone. It’s a more amplified version of the self-doubt that I experience right now, even writing about this. Is this so insignificant and pathetic? Well, the interaction and its context may have been, and my intention to move towards fear and into assertive truthful moments seems very significant-at least for me. In my experience, these are the moments of choice where we can glean the nuggets of personal truth-however uncomfortable that may be-and gain some personal power. I look forward to my next opportunity with this part of myself, and will be more considerate of my public phone use while I’m at it.