Yesterday on a website I frequent, someone asked the following question:
Anyone ever get into a verbal or physical altercation with another customer while shopping or standing in line?
To which I replied: This seems like an odd question to me, as it happens to me more often than not. Either Long Island has more than it's share of idiots, or I'm an asshole.
Immediately a couple of instances - all blogged - came to mind. And then I started going through my archives and saw just how many times this has happened to me. Now I'm wondering if I really am an asshole or if all these stories are just a combination of my lack of patience with idiots, my being-anywhere-outside-my-home anxiety and my intense dislike for most of humanity. Which, when combined, pretty much make me an asshole.
But it's not my fault I'm that way. Really. I'm sure there was a time when I was pleasant and smiling and courteous to strangers. I'm sure if I dig back a few years (more like twenty) in my mental archives, I can remember when I had more patience, when I didn't let the abject rudeness and surliness of complete strangers bother me.
It all takes a toll, eventually. The places I've worked in up until now afforded me a hefty daily dose of dealing with the public. I reached my saturation level and decided at some point that I would no longer stand there and let random strangers walk all over me. I would fight back. I would no longer hold in my frustration or silently mumble insults or curses when I should be saying them out loud. I don't know exactly when this happened, but I'm pretty sure it was right around the time I realized that standing up for yourself does not make you a bad person, despite what other, dominant people would have you think.
But is it all really necessary? Could I just have ignored the rude woman in Target?
The rude men in the restaurant
? The food hoarder at Price Club?
The waitress who hit on my husband?
Would I have been better off just walking away from all those situations without saying a word or doing anything that could later be construed as evil? No. I don't think so. To do so would be enabling the idiots of the world. If you let some loud, annoying woman get away with terrible behavior, you're giving her the signal that it's ok to do that. And who wants to be an enabler to that kind of person? Not me. If some day the world is overrun by the bitchy and the rude, you won't have me to blame? Why? Because I know how to be an asshole when the situation calls for it.
Sometimes you just have to embrace your inner obnoxiousness in order to combat someone else's. How else will we balance the good and evil in the world?
What have I learned here? That yes, I can be a real asshole. But I'm doing it for your
benefit, buddy. So either join me or thank me.