Maybe the stupid slag didn’t “mean” anything by it. Maybe it was “harmless” in its own way. And yet, of course it wasn’t. Of course everything about her forcefully ripping two of the same dresses and a Britney Spears shirt from the rack just as I was trying to reach for them was completely calculated and aggressive. Who the fuck did she think she was? Someone with the privileged position of being able to leave garments hanging around in a public clothing store and assume she could pick them back up at any time without someone else being interested? And then, naturally, I was horrified that I actually was interested. That I shared similar tastes with someone so cunty.
On any other day, perhaps I would have let this microaggression slide. Simply looked the other way, turned a blind eye, etc. But the “little” bitch caught me at the worst possible moment. I had just come from yet another extremely degrading interview inside the very shopping mall that had taken me into the depths of its bowels via the seduction of buying more shit I didn’t need in order to console myself. Had I gotten the job as a cashier at Pomme de Pain, I probably would have gone even more “hog wild” on purchasing frivolous ditties, telling myself I would have money to burn now. So maybe it was a good thing, in its own way, that I didn’t even rank on the qualification Richter scale to be a cashier. Something, apparently, you had to be really stupid to be deemed “capable” of. Because, honestly, every cashier I ever encountered seemed to barely be walking upright. Yet there was all this talk of treating the worker with justness and respect. I found that difficult to do when they couldn’t even perform the most rudimentary aspects of their job description. Forget about service with a smile. That was a 1950s/early 1960s notion at this juncture. But the fact that it was even unreasonable to expect baseline-level service was just another indicator of how much the twenty-first century was held together by spit and glue, at best. And so was my patience in that instant when the asshole who shall subsequently be referred to as Entitled Bitch literally snatched the items I had placed my hand on from me.
Entitled Bitch didn’t know who she was dealing with. I had become someone else in the course of those hours of forced time spent in the mall. Malls being a “sensation” that had caught on in Europe only more recently, so that it felt like being in the America of the 80s or 90s. Or even the 00s, if we’re really pushing it. So yeah, the “novelty” had worn off for me long ago, and I didn’t realize that, by moving to Europe, I would suddenly be faced with the consumer “culture” of the U.S.’ erstwhile “golden age” of capitalism. It was just a little bit sadder to witness here, where things were supposed to be “different.” Better, somehow. The people were supposed to be “above” materialism. But that didn’t track after the infection of American consumer “culture” into the continent long before the fall of the Berlin Wall. All of this is to say that I was extremely moody… and generally disappointed by everything, including my inability to transcend into a fully functioning expatriate. I was more like a bum on the periphery of everything, never quite joining in on being a “real” member of this country’s society. So again, Entitled Bitch had no idea who she was dealing with.
I reckon that’s why the expression on her face was one of extreme shock when she was suddenly whipped around by the shoulder and punched directly in her smug mouth by yours truly. The surprise and blunt force of the act prompted her to fall backward as she dropped the clothes she felt she was entitled to just because, I don’t know, she was young and not white. I know that sounds “bad” or whatever, but the truth of the matter is, me being a white lady is what made her feel she had the right to bulldoze me. It was becoming an increasingly normal “phenomenon”—this idea of white women as pushovers who could now effortlessly be put in their place with the single utterance of the derogatory use of “Karen.” Plus, the way the youth of the present carries on, they wield their age like some kind of “I’m better than you in every way” superpower. It was never like that “in my day.” Not that I’m even “old” by objective standards, just Gen Z ones. Meaning that basically anyone over twenty is “elderly” and “out of touch.”
I never remember it being that way in my adolescence. I don’t have a recollection of ageism being so rampant among my own generation when they were in their teen years. The irony being that Gen Z likes to market itself as some endlessly “woke” and “open” sect of humanity when, in fact, all they do is condemn everyone older than they are. Are they not aware that ageism is as bad as any other kind of discriminatory “ism”? Or that they, too, will soon be “old”? These were the questions that plagued me and, I guess, the questions that prompted me to knock Entitled Bitch out before picking the clothes up—one garment being, as mentioned, a dress and another a shirt with Britney Spears’ image on it (as if this Entitled Bitch was even well-versed enough in Brit’s oeuvre to be worthy of wearing the top).
Although there was a lot of hubbub in the wake of “the incident,” I knew I could count on the reality that nobody would really do much of anything to reprimand me for my “callous action.” But no, it was Entitled Bitch who had been callous. The biggest shithead of all. An emblematic shithead, as it were. For she thought that her mircoaggression would go unchecked, as it probably always did whenever she saw fit to fell a white woman, knowing goddamn well that most white bias were too passive to react. That they were afraid of being accused of racism and would rather remain silent about any “perceived” slight than actually do something about it, lest their “racism” be documented for the black hole of social media (just another manner in which American behavior had infiltrated Europe). Well, Entitled Bitch hadn’t banked on my reaction, and she was currently still on the floor in a total fugue state as a result. She truly couldn’t believe 1) a white putain would fight back and 2) would have a strong enough right hook to lay her out. Thus, the lone advantage of constantly being underestimated.
Feeling especially confident in the wake of reclaiming my agency, I then committed the most white girl exploit of all by concealing the garments in my purse and walking right out of the store without so much as even a glance backward. Only then did I feel a brief pang of guilt, for I knew Entitled Bitch would never be able to get away with this signature white girl crime. It was a guilt that quickly evaporated when I arrived at my ramshackle of an abode and tried on the clothes in front of my cracked full-length mirror. After burning off the security tags with my trusty lighter, obviously. Maybe I would even wear this dress to the next fruitless interview…