I was standing at the till of our neighborhood Scandinavian store. (I live in Minneapolis, where we have such things.) The cashier was ringing up my purchase when the cash register ran out of receipt tape.
“This will take just a second,” she said, and began to put a new roll in.
It didn't take just a second. She fiddled and fiddled with it, and the tape just would not go in.
“What's wrong with me today?” she said. “I've done this hundreds of t—“
She stopped. Her squinched features relaxed into understanding. In an undertone, more to herself than to me, she said: “The nisse.”