I was waiting in line at the supermarket, clutching my carton of eggs and sandwiched between a little old codger with a basket full of food and a rather creepy looking tall guy who kept shoving his basket into my back, perhaps thinking that would make the line move faster. I sighed inside my head, thinking how nice it would be if the codger would let me go first, then sighed again, knowing that doesn’t happen here. Gentlemanly deference to a lady is not a part of traditional politesse. Also, this is a nation of people accustomed to waiting in line in an orderly fashion—for good reason. It is astonishing that so many people can coexist in such close proximity and still keep things functioning smoothly. (Most of the time. Basket-back-shover was pushing the limits of accepted behavior.)
I looked at my eggs as I tried to maneuver away from shovey-man, wondering if I really wanted them that much, when the codger turned to me and said, “You’ve only got one item. Why don’t you go first?” I was shocked but delighted. The check-out lady was just shocked.
Thank you, Codger-san. May the sun shine a little brighter on your side of the street.