The Old Coot rediscovers the ‘Huffer’

A few articles back I remarked on the “Um” people. Those poor souls who are in line ahead of you at a counter in a place where you have to make selections, like in a deli or a donut shop. Um people draw a blank when the clerk asks what they would like, and respond with, “Um,” and then repeats it after each selection. When it’s time to pay and the clerks asks, “cash or credit,” a whole new series of Um’s accompany a search through pockets and/or purse. 

This article is about a Huffer, another phenomenon that emerges in lines. It’s one I’d forgotten about until brought to my attention by friends, Paul and Carol. They were at a pharmacy where they observed a “Huffer” in full bloom. They were at the “drop off a prescription” counter; the Huffer was at the “pick up a prescription” counter. The clerk was waiting on them; the Huffer was impatiently waiting her turn, as only a “Huffer” can; arms crossed and re-crossed, weight shifted from right to left with huffs coming from her pie hole each time she switched arms and legs. They said she sounded like a steam engine, idling in a train station.   

Paul and Carol’s turn was taking a little while since it was a complicated situation with a doctor from another state at their side trying to negotiate through the web of two different sets of state regulations. It just added steam to the Huffer at the other counter. The intensity of folding and unfolding her arms and the sideways back and forth pacing increased as each second passed; as did the frequency and volume of the huffing. 

Finally, their transaction was completed, and as they walked out of the prescription area, they were greeted with a goodbye Huff and then heard a portion of her comments to the poor clerk, “And they don’t even live here.” 

A line behavior experience like this is pure entertainment to me. (It doesn’t take much to entertain an old coot.) There is no reason to let something like this irritate you. When you find yourself huffing, puffing and um’ing, remember, someone is probably watching you and suppressing a chuckle.    

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