I am a snob.
It pains me to admit it. It really does. If someone called me a snob to my face, I'd be offended. I pride myself on treating people with kindness and respect, sometimes when they don't even deserve it. I try very hard to instill that same kindness in my children, as well.
But this last weekend, I was a snob, and there's no sugar-coating that.
It all began with a trip to my local Wal-Mart, to pick up a loaf of bread. Normally, this would be an in-and-out sort of trip, but since this was a kid-free weekend, I decided to browse around a bit. We've got a huge Super Wal-Mart and I didn't have much else on the agenda for the afternoon, anyway.
I walked in the door, and was greeted by singing. Loud, loud, singing. Was there a choir group performing? In Wal-Mart?
As I got through the entrance, the cause became clear. There was a group of girls, ranging from early to late teen, and one older woman, who I supposed was a mother of one or more of those girls, and they were waiting in a very long checkout line, singing "Sweet Home Alabama" at the top of their lungs and with an extreme amount of self-importance, much to the chagrin of everyone else in line.
This was about as redneck as you could get without firing off a gun or spitting out your Skoal at a NASCAR race - a bunch of camouflage and John Deere logo wearing girls, some with tramp-stamp tattoos, singing "Sweet Home Alabama" in a Wal-Mart. I rolled my eyes and shook my head and kept on walking, pushing my cart before me.
I made my way through the grocery section, and by the time I'd looped out back to the main thoroughfare, they'd stopped, either because they got bored with it, or because someone had the nerve to ask them to stop, I don't know which.
I started to head to the back of the store, when the mother of said group suddenly pushed through the racks of junior sleepwear and walked right up to me.
"Hey," she said. "Can you do us a favor? Can you come record us doing something?" She held her phone out to me.
I stood like a deer in headlights for a moment. Oh, no. She and the girls were going to do it again. They thought they were being so cool singing in the middle of a busy Wal-Mart, and they wanted me to record it for them.
"I'm sorry," I said apologetically. "I'm on a timetable here and I'm in a bit of a hurry." I gave her an apologetic smile, turned my cart and rushed off.
I heard her ask a couple of other people as I hid a few aisles over, and she wasn't getting any takers. Eventually, they gave up, I guess, but not before she ran into me again, as I was leisurely sorting through the $5 DVD bin. I got beet red when she looked at me, I know I did.
But I couldn't do it.
I couldn't stand there, in the middle of a busy Wal-Mart, where my friends and neighbors might see me, holding a phone and recording a bunch of redneck women screeching "Sweet Home Alabama" at the top of their lungs. I would have been too embarrassed for anyone to have seen me do it.
I realize what a complete snob that makes me. When I was a teenager, I can't tell you how many times my friends and I broke into song in a public place. Granted, it was never "Sweet Home Alabama", but did that make it any less annoying to the people around us?
And to make it worse, if they'd been singing "The Lonely Goatherd" song from The Sound of Music or something equally goofy and nerdy, I'd have probably done it for them. I would have thought it was funny. I probably would have suggested we move outside so they didn't bug anybody, but I would have done it.
I just didn't want to be seen enabling a bunch of rednecks who clearly wanted to be posted to "People of Wal-Mart" for some reason.
My Daddy is from Arkansas, but he would have backed me on this one. He would have frowned on anybody making a damn fool of themselves in public - and not just the redneck ones.
But me - well, I guess I'm a snob.
And realizing that, I still wouldn't go back and do it.
Have you ever been stuck in an embarrassing situation like that? Did you feel bad for trying to weasel out of it?
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