on Jane Friedman site:
Imagine you’re standing in the express line at your favorite grocery store.
On your way inside, you bypassed the cart corral. Now, as you wait at the tail end of a longish line, you’re regretting it. Here you are: juggling a frozen pizza, a cucumber, and a package of paper napkins. Tucked under one arm is a weighty glass bottle of Merlot and under the other, a bottle of red wine vinaigrette.
Overhead, the fluorescent lights flicker. The line isn’t moving, and you are weary. You close your eyes for maybe a second, and when you open them again, a whip-thin, tattooed man has slipped in line ahead of you, a jar of pickles pressed to his chest. The young woman queued up behind you hisses over your shoulder:
“So, are you going to let that go?” Her question is loud enough for bystanders to hear.
The interloper’s back stiffens. He cocks his head and makes an odd clicking noise with his tongue that sounds menacing.
“What the hell is wrong with you?” asks the strident young woman. Is she addressing you or the interloper? From the front of the line, half a dozen faces swivel in your direction. You feel yourself blushing. If there’s anything you hate, it’s for someone to make a scene, especially when you are forced to be part of it.