“I pledge allegiance to myself
To me, myself and I”
All About Me – Drowning Pool
Does anyone else out there get the distinct impression that, as far as most people go, it’s all about them?
Seriously, in the past few days, I’ve noticed—more than normal, and believe me, normal is bad enough—that so many people don’t give a flying shit, a rat’s ass, a good goddamn, or even a lowly crap about anyone else other than themselves.
It’s Monday morning as I write this, but this is what I’ve seen only since Saturday.
First, I’m at a four-way stop. I do my usual, drive up to the stop sign and stop. Because, you know, that’s what you’re supposed to do at a four-way stop. Then I watch some kid, looks maybe seventeen, with someone who could be his mother in the passenger seat. He approaches the stop sign.
I see him look at me, look at his own stop sign. I see this. And I also see him, with absolutely no slowing down, blow through the stop sign, making a right to drive right by me. I also see him smiling and the mother figure actually laughing as I yell, “Nice stop, asshole!” Laughing. Yeah, because that’s funny as hell, right?
Between Saturday and Sunday I count around eight people driving—well, three of them were driving, the other five were more approximating driving than anything, sliding all over the road as though Ray Charles was at the wheel—as they carried on their obviously Highly Important Phone Conversations. Obviously more important that all the lives they endangered and the $155 fine they were never going to get.
Okay, sorry, that was an insult to the late, great Ray Charles. That man could easily have driven better than these dicks.
You wouldn’t think I’d meet an all about me moron walking my dog, would you? Yeah well, you’d be wrong.
I walk my dog every morning and every night. I can’t tell you how often I’ve experienced this scenario, and I again experienced it Saturday evening.
We’re walking along the sidewalk, me listening to an audiobook, my dog scanning every tree and telephone pole to mark (as though he hasn’t had the chance to mark that particular one in any of the eight years of trips) and some asshole in a car goes zooming by and then cuts into a driveway in front of me. Now, I’ll concede the point that they likely didn’t see me initially, but everyone of them does see me as they sit in their car, firmly parked right over the sidewalk. I know this because I stare at that driver as I approach, making it very obvious that I’m damn near ready to crawl right over their goddam pedestrian-blocking vehicle. And in every case, including Saturday evening, I see the driver turn their head and look directly at me.
At this point, they have three choices. First, they can back the car up four feet. I’ve had a couple do that. Second, they can sit there like the moron they are and mouth an embarrassed “sorry!” as I give them the stink-eye on the way by. At least they acknowledge me. Finally, they can look the other way and pretend I don’t exist. If they aren’t looking at me, I can’t see them and we never acknowledge each other. Sorry, that one just doesn’t fly for me. And that’s what Saturday’s driver chose to do. So I chose to do what I feel is necessary in those circumstances. I cut around the front of the car—so they can watch me—and I thump my left hand roughly and firmly on the hood of their car. Sometimes I get a lackluster, half-hearted “sorry” then, but more often I don’t. To finish with a flourish, as I cut back down the driver’s side, I’ll flip them off.
On Sunday, I took the Wife to see the last Twilight movie. Don’t judge. God knows she’s sat through enough of my movies, like the Lord of the Rings trilogy and all those superhero movies with all the dude in spandex. So I could go sit through some lovelorn bloodless vampires for a couple of hours.
Now, much as I don’t care about the movies or the story, I know the Wife truly does. So, obviously I want her experience to be a good one. And I’ve never understood the person that drops $25 – 35 between the ticket and the popcorn and the drink, only to go in, sit down, then talk through the entire friggin’ movie. Why the hell do people do that?
So when the group of teens sat down directly behind us, I had a feeling. When the movie was playing less than fifteen minutes and they’d already tossed out some comments, I got more and more pissed. I know how excited the Wife was for this movie and I didn’t want some pimply-faced, popcorn-eating high schooler ruining it for her. When a phone rang on screen and one of the quick wits behind me shouted, “hello!!” I knew I was done. With the next comment, I turned and, doing my best to be both polite (only for the Wife’s sake) and show my annoyance, and said, “All right guys, enough. Dial it back.” That earned me a nervous squeeze on the leg from the Wife.
To their credit, they shut up until the last minutes of the movie, when it really didn’t matter anymore. Which is good, because the next time I turned around, all the polite was going to be gone.
Finally, there’s the one that absolutely pisses me off. On Saturday, I went into the local No Frills. I grabbed exactly five items, then headed for the 8 items or less aisle. The woman in front of me was just finishing loading up her thirteen items. I put the little separator thingie behind her items and set my five items down. Then this absolutely harried woman came up behind me, grabbed the other separator, plunked it down behind my things, then loaded item after item after item onto the belt. I couldn’t help it. I laughed out loud and finished it off with a “Jesus!”
The woman looked at me, looked at her load of groceries, then said to the cashier with an aren’t I silly giggle, “I might have a bit more than the eight item limit.” To which the cashier said that it was okay.
Why? Why is it okay? Why, when there’s a clearly marked sign that says, in effect, THIS LINE IS FOR PEOPLE WITH VERY FEW ITEMS AND IS DESIGNED TO GET THEIR ASSES OUT FASTER THAN THE REST OF YOU THAT HAVE NINE MORE AISLES TO CHOOSE FROM, SO IF YOU HAVE NINE OR MORE ITEMS GET YOUR SORRY ASS OVER TO ONE OF THE OTHER DAMN AISLES, why is it okay that this stupid counting-challenged asshole blocks up the aisle? Why is it not okay for the cashier to tell her to have some common courtesy…or hell, some uncommon courtesy and get her items to another aisle?
Regardless, that’s not what happened here. Instead, she said it was okay. Unable to shut my stupid mouth, I said, “Yeah, it’s obviously okay, because everyone breaks that limit.”
The woman looked at my five items and said, “Well, you’re playing by the rules.”
And I said, “I didn’t think you’d notice. I didn’t think you could count, because you’re not even close to the limit.” At this point, I notice a small smirk on the cashier’s face as she runs my five items through, but I’m still pissed with her.
The woman, by this time, is now looking back at her items. I figure she’s trying to count them now. I figure I’ll help her out as I finish paying for my stuff.
“You have twenty-six items. In an eight items or less line.”
She stared at me disbelievingly. “You counted my items?”
I lean in slightly toward her. “I always count,” I say, pointing to the 8 items or less sign. “Always.” Then I turn, grab my stuff, and leave.
Wouldn’t the world be a much nicer place if, just once in a while, everyone followed the do unto others ideal?
Even just once in a while?
By the way, just after that, I went into another store, and someone with two handfuls of bags came my way. I held the door open for them. They didn’t even look at me, much less thank me.
Sometimes I weep for humanity. Sometimes I think the Mayans may just be right.