Saturday, June 03, 2006
Since I am up at would be dark o'clock were it winter, a little posting is in order. In keeping with my early morning mood, I will regale my readership (yes, both of you) with a story of evil, high finance (the ubiquitous they, say it is the root of all evil), aggression and general crankitude.
I'm not going to lie to you. In the days following the end to my musical retirement, I was in a good mood, even an optimistic one. Anyway, shortly thereafter, we (me, myself, I, and my mom - the car was packed!) were driving home from an outing, feeling Pollyanaish rays of sunshine warm our benevolent little faces and talking about how generally good and kind most people are.
Because I owed her money and was too lazy to actually get out of the car, I decided to stop at the drive up ATM before going home. Under the circumstances, it seemed like the wisest course of action. Even though she looks sweet, my mother is not above hiring some silver haired goon from the senior center where she volunteers to break my knee caps (or at least feebly hit them with a cane), if I don't pay up on time.
So, we stopped. As was getting my money out, a BIG, black monster truck pulled up behind me. It was one of those huge, gas guzzling vehicles that I abhor. It had tinted windows and bedecked with flags, making it look like the first vehicle in the Presidential motorcade. If I had noticed him before he started screaming something mostly intelligible, but recognizably peppered with obscenities, I would have wondered when the band was going to show up to play Hail to the Chief . As it was, I only noticed him as I was putting my ATM card away.
At first, I thought he was impatient at having to wait, which annoyed me, because I wasn't exactly dwadling. I don't know what possessed me, because I am usually not at all confrontational, but before my brain realized what it was doing, my head had stuck itself out of my window and my mouth was yelling the words: "What is wrong with you? Can't you act like a human being and wait quietly for five seconds until it's your turn?!?!?!?!?" In retrospect, I realize that human beings are capable of some pretty horrendous behavior, so he probably was just taking my advice when this made him scream and curse even more. He looked as though his hate-filled head was going to explode. If he is this way with strangers, I can only imagine what a nightmare he is for those close to him.
Who is he to try to bully me anyway? Half of me wanted to go back and be just as aggro back at him, and then I realized that his tantrum probably had more to do with the "U.S. out of Iraq NOW!" sticker in the back window of my car than it had to do with any ATM related malfeasance or sluggishness on my part. I imagine that he is one of those flag wavers who veer from patriotism into chauvinism and that my disagreement with U.S. foreign policy irked his "If you're not for us, you're against us" sensibilities, because he doesn't grasp that when you're "for something", you have an obligation to speak up when it is going down the wrong path.
Why is it that such people believe in freedom of speech, as long as one does not have the affrontery to disagree with them? Even if the four sweetest words in the English language are "You are SO right!", it is simplistic to see the world, and especially politics and policy, as anything but nuanced. It strikes me that this man's behavior is, on a small scale, exactly the sort of behavior in our policy that has half the world angry with us. There is nothing wrong with looking out for one's interests or even with strongly espousing a particular point of view, but there is something wrong with doing so with no regard to the rights of others.
I don't know what this man's problem was. Maybe he had a son in Iraq, maybe he is just some ueber-patriot, who can't handle dissent, or maybe he was just a garden variety asshole. All I do know, was that by the time I had made it around the parking lot to give him a piece of my mind, I was thinking "What's the use of me getting my blood pressure up over someone like this?" So, instead of screaming back at him, I just waved and told him as sweetly as I could to have a nice day.