In Walmart week last week, this lady had her cart squarely in the middle of the aisle, which meant I couldn’t quite squeeze mine around it. I didn’t make a fuss, didn’t frown, didn’t say anything to her. I brushed it the 2 inches needed to go around it, and she sniped at me in a deliberately loud voice, “well, SOMEONE’S having a bad day.”
I wasn’t having a bad day, I was rather in a good mood , but she assumed that because I didn’t smile at her, simply maneuvered my cart around hers and said nothing, that I had to be in a bad mood.
I am not as obtuse as some would believe. I could tell from her sarcastic tone that she meant to be ugly. She meant that I should feel some kind of shame for daring to go around her cart.
Normally I wouldn’t say anything, just let it go, but this time I did speak up. I went up to her and said, “excuse you. I wasn’t rude to you, I didn’t complain that you left your cart all the way in the middle of everything so that nobody could move in the same aisle. I didn’t say or do one single thing that warranted your side remark. Maybe next time you should consider that the reason someone doesn’t speak to you or smile at you is because they’re autistic, as I am, and not project your own negative assumptions on the situation.”
I was shaking when I walked away, but I’m glad I spoke up. It’s exhausting that some people feel entitled to say ugly things to another person because they don’t behave as we expect they should, with zero regard to the possibility that they may be completely ignorant of the reasons. These people, sadly, are usually women. Yes, I know guys can say mean things too, but it is the worst kept secret that girl on girl crime (forgive the expression) is rampant.
It is especially egregious when it’s neurotypical women against autistic women.
Stop it. We aren’t stupid, or oblivious to your catty shenanigans. It’s old, and we’re tired.
My mom always taught me, “just because you can doesn’t mean you should.” And for those of you who say it’s her right to free speech, that is entirely correct. But it doesn’t give her immunity from my calling out rudeness. I will respond. I will not be silenced anymore.