Sunday, March 30, 2008

Between "Asshole" and "Unaware"

When I first moved out here, my mother spent a weekend with me helping me set up and settle in. There wasn't a huge range of stores to choose from for essentials, so we ended up at a local Target for bed linens and bathroom supplies. We pulled out of the parking spot and drove to the end of the row to turn on to the street and head back. In the process, two people tried to skip the stop sign in the other two directions at the intersection and cut us off entirely--or possibly injure us and spike their car insurance rates. I made an under-the-breath comment about the whole me-me-me attitude that has taken the world by storm and the fact that everywhere you go on the road, someone is trying to jump in front of you just to get wherever they're going two minutes sooner.

My mother's reply--"Well, they don't know they're being jerks."

My response--"That is absolutely ridiculous."

OF COURSE we know when we're being assholes. That's why we sheepishly avoid making eye-contact when we sail by someone we think is traveling at a speed that is just a hair too slow for us.

There are times when people do stupid things they don't know are inconsiderate. Take the guy who rushes to get one step in front of you when you're both walking into a local supermarket (that he knows he did). Then, as soon as he makes it past the threshold of the automatic doors....he stops. He stops to look at his shopping list, he stops to browse through a circular he just picked up. He just stops. A minute ago, he was so aware of you he was trying to beat you out. After his mission was accomplished, he has commenced blocking everyone's ability to enter the store after him.

The worst was the other day in the local fabric store. Since the calendar, at least, says that we are leaving the winter season (although evidence of that is hard to find outside), I decided to look through the sale fabric to see if there was anything interesting. I get to the back wall, and there is a larger woman there talking on her electric-pink Motorola Razor cell phone. She gabbed about soccer practice, meeting for lunch, etc. It appeared that we were just looking for the same thing in the rows of bolts. I followed the perimeter of the rows along the wall and around the corner. Two minutes later, I could hear her again....she was literaly tracing my path through the aisles, mindlessly, and still talking. I looked back at her and said "Please don't follow me if you're going to be talking on that phone." She apparently missed this request. And, to make it worse, it became clear to me that she wasn't looking for anything in particular. She was browsing randomly and tracing my path in the store in the process. I decided to look around on the other side of the store. I went into the least-traversed aisle there on purpose, and lo and behold, two minutes later, Guess-Who was there again, gabbing away with a glint of metallic pink at her ear. I gave her a look--a look that made an impression given the taken-aback expression I saw from her in response. I walked right by her, said "Absolutely ridiculous" loud enough to ensure she could hear it, and returned to the side of the store I was originally intersted in. I was not bothered again.

Good News: The neighbors across the hall are moving out due to a techinicality on their lease (a rather big one). The smell in the 2 by 4 foot space between our doors has exponentially improved.

8 comments:

Jean-Luc Picard said...

Somebody is going to get some smelly neighbours!

booda baby said...

I was hoping you'd come up with The Quintessential Shut-Them Up line, but - sigh - that's what I say to cell phone natterers, too. I really want a serious smack down.

I wouldn't mind if they were talking to a real person. but they are totally fucking with MY shopping atmosphere and vibe and experience.

M@ said...

"After his mission was accomplished, he has commenced blocking everyone's ability to enter the store after him."

That's when I tap him on the shoulder and tell him to move his ass. A Middle Eastern dude got behind me in line at the grocery store yesterday. I had a basket and he had a cart. He bumped my basket with his cart and at first I just switched it to my other hand but then I looked at him. He avoided eye contact....

So I took his cart and I shoved it to the side. That elicited an apology from him.

But, yes, he was just going to avoid eye contact....

Then I got into an argument w/ the store manager who refused to give me the discount b/c the computer wasn't picking up my phone number.

Do not get me started on grocery store "club" cards.

M@ said...

Your mother's assertion that people know not what they do (sounds like Jesus, doesn't it?) is a psychological coping mechanism that many of us arrive at after replaying a scene in our head, after processing the disturbance.

It's comforting to think that something is not personal and that you were not "wronged."

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gagknee said...

so many angry people up there in the northeast. come, spring, come.

Bridget said...

I loved this post! Loved it. My favorite ahole move is when someone pulls out in front of me when there is not a single vehicle in sight behind me. Apparently waiting the extra two seconds for me to drive by is a ridiculous idea. Instead, pulling out in front of me causing my brake pedal to make hard fast friends with the floor of my truck is much more exciting. Like a fn deer.

anonymous jones said...

Well the thing that annoys me most in the world is fitted sheets. They sell those in Target, too. Just thought I'd share.