Wednesday, August 03, 2005

A and P

There's a short story by John Updike called "A&P" that seems to represent a recurring pattern in my life.

In it, Sammy (the 'hero') is a checker at an A&P grocery store in the middle of a little town where not much happens. It's late afternoon and three girls in bathing suits walk in, fresh from the beach. Sammy watches them out of the corner of his eye and ponders things.

They wander around and pick up a can of herrings and head to the check out. Sammy is just starting to help them when Lengel (the manager) walks over and lays into the girls for their inappropriate attire, saying that next time they need to have their shoulders covered. The scene gets uncomfortable and the air heavy with 'get these sluts out of here' vibes rippling off the manager. Sammy rings them up, hands them their change and then says to Lengel, "I quit."

There's a lot of layers to the story, but the gist is that at the end Sammy quit his job, the girls are gone and never knew he stood up for them, and Lengel is unchanged. Ever since I first read this story, I knew that I was Sammy. I will always believe that Lengel was wrong for embarrassing the girls. Maybe Sammy shouldn't have quit, but I respect him for doing it.

Anyway, this blog is my A&P and people stopping by is kind of cool. It's fun to chat and meet new people, to chew the fat and even to have some hearty debate. Most everyone seems pretty okay with that but lately there have been a couple of snarky comments and a tiff in the parking lot. I can't do much about what happens out in the parking lot, but I do have a say in what happens in my store. That said, anyone is welcome here and I don't care if you cover your shoulders, wear a two-piece bathing suit, or dance naked in the aisles.

Just keep in mind that I'm a Sammy and always will be...

Here's a link to John Updike's "A&P" for anyone interested. It's a quick read and worth a thought or two.


Miranda said...

You can be Sammy, but you're not allowed to quit!

Shawn said...

Most of my quitting is metaphorical these days... but it still gets me in trouble.