Captive Audience

Sunday, July 24, 2022

Some guy checking out through my register line yesterday told me that America is about to have a civil war. My carefully neutral response encouraged that true Trumpian to continue. He went on about feelings of dissatisfaction among the righteous. He gave their (and his) reasons for an upcoming social uprising.

Over the last twenty years, I’ve worked part-time as a front-line employee in large retail operations. First in Costco and now in WinCo. In my role, I’ve been victimized by angry people needing listeners. They, in turn, anger me for having to listen and pack it in. My employment demands remaining polite and non-disagreeable. We’re selling products.

Customers needing to speak aren’t concerned that I might disagree and assume I’m sympathetic. Truthfully, these individuals make my insides boil, and with a choice, I’d avoid them totally.

That fellow speaking of an oncoming civil war was the first I’ve heard on the topic. I’m aware of references in newspapers to a potential uprising of dissatisfied Americans. Those people are the extremes, although most Americans are dissatisfied in various ways.

I’d be a more comfortable American if our economic and social situations could remain more stable. Constant fluctuations keep citizens nervous and on edge. We’re not helped by leaders who struggle, seemingly unable to manage adverse conditions affecting most citizens.

We try to cope by packing it in, doing our best to remain silent, and keeping opinions to ourselves. A segment that refuses to cope, or simply can’t, works at recruiting others to its cause. One way is to treat workers in roles like mine as a captive audience and to rattle on about opinions their forced listeners may find disagreeable.

I try to escape such unwanted attention without saying, “Shut up!” Easiest is making myself slip into a fantasy, where suddenly I’m disappearing.

Dear Friends: Being opinionated is okay, but not over-slipping and offensive. Diana

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