Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The Theatre Lives at Canyon Creek

Yesterday as I was happily minding my own business, enjoying the increasingly rare luxury of a full lunch hour, I was treated to a live production of the famed drama "Three Assholes in Suits Hold a Lunch Meeting in a Café". Led by a delightful individual who liberally peppered his conversation with every imaginable inflection of the word "fuck", the piece centered on the approaching firing of one or more ne'er-do-wells. These individuals were of no importance on the food chain because they were, in the words of their great loud talker of a leader, "just staffers, nobodies".

This was all giddily discussed at such high volume that even tired bystanders, who just wanted to eat their lunch while delving into some light reading in the form of Sonia Singh's Bollywood Confidential, had no choice but to eavesdrop on a lunchtime tour de force featuring not only a riveting plot filled with low-esteem for fellow human beings, but also political intrigue and witty banter including:

Today #1: The thing is there are others.

Would Be Donald F. Trump: "Tell me who they are, and I'll fucking fire them too. Do these people matter?"

Toady #2: "Do we really want to single anyone out?"

Would Be Donald F. Trump [gleefully]: "Fuck yeah, they're just staffers. Right now I really don't care."

Because these people were apparently senior (in rank and age) employees for some conservative politician and thereby also members of the party of values, there was also much talking of "fucking legislation" (do we really need to legislate that too?) and "showing the fucking Democrats what we're doing". All in all a charming lunchtime soundtrack that turned out not to be about corporate assholes in suits, as I had first thought, but rather political assholes in suits.

Before I go on, I should admit that I am not a total stranger to swearing. I don't talk like a dock worker or anything, but a well placed *&%^^&!!!!! sometimes gets the point across in a most freeing way. But does it need to be used loudly and every other word in a public place? For most of my lunch, I sat eating my lasagna and unsuccessfully trying to ignore these people. When that didn't work, I resorted to furtive, but hostile glances. (I'm kind of passive aggressive that way.)

As it turns out, they didn't work either. By the end of lunch, my annoyance had kicked the ass of my usual mild mannered shyness. I try really hard be sensitive about not infringing upon others, so sometimes I really resent it when others don't return that regard. Within 30 minutes of my arrival, they had driven every other patron out of the café. It was just me, them and the sweet Asian lady who owns the place, and is more likely to sprout wings and fly away than she would be to ask them to knock it off.

I'm not sure what did it, but as I got up to go, something actually snapped in me and I thought: What makes this bunch so extraordinary that everyone else is expected to tolerate their rudeness? Did their mommas never teach them about how they were special - just like everyone else? Before I knew it the words, "That is a really delightful vocabulary you have there. You must be so proud. Great representation of your campaign!" were bursting forth from my mouth like some kind of explosive verbal diarrhea. Once I realized what I was saying, I expected the response to be something along the lines of "Yeah, well, fuck you lady!" Instead, my comment was met with a kind of surprised silence.

The only person to say anything at all was the beleaguered café owner, who took me aside on my way out to tell me what a habitual nuiscance three of them are. They come in early, don't order much, then plant themselves for a leisurely afternoon of talking loud, crude talking. No wonder her business has been down since she bought the place.

It all made me think about how inconsiderate and spoiled people can sometimes be. As a group, we are capable of such extreme awesomeness, but some of the things you hear out in the world sure tarnish our collective shine. Even more than utter lack of linguistic creativity, I think the thing that bothered me most was hearing someone refer to other human beings as though he genuinely believed they were nothing. Sometimes people suck at their jobs. Sometimes they're not very competent. Sometimes they even need to be fired, but that doesn't make them nothing. Meanwhile, I can only assume that karma will take care of "Donald F. Trump" and be glad that I don't have season tickets to his productions.


Chris said...

The café owner should ban these people. I know of no business which would tolerate such behaviour on their premises. They are costing her money and she should get rid of them.

Before doing so, I would make an audio recording of them. Not only would this provide evidence if any legal action were subsequently taken, but it could also be posted on a web site for the world to judge.

Jen said...

First of all -- go you for speaking up! they had nothting to say because they KNEW they were being assholes, but are accustomed to nobody calling them on it. (or so it goes in my mind.)

Chris, I think you've got an idea that sounds great in theory, but is not so practical. Especially if they are physically indimidating in any way -- which, as one woman vs. 3 male customers I would say is already established. Yes, Martina was AWESOME and told them to shut their pie-holes, but she's a customer on her way out the door, not the woman who will be there every single day. She could say "get out and don't come back" (and maybe she has) but what happens if they come back anyway? Are the police going to arrest them for dropping the f-bomb and being assholes? I doubt it. In the meantime they could make things even more unpleasant for her.

I know it sounds like I'm advocating doing nothing (I'm not), I'm just trying to point out that it's not as cut and dried as posting an audio clip on a website "for the world to judge."

Anonymous said...

I just love reading your blog. So glad I stumbled upon it. I've gotten my vicarious off-telling for the day. Thanks!

Martina said...

ANONYMOUS STRANGER (You get to be first, because you're new and I'm trying to woo you into coming back :-)): Thank you so much for the kind comments and thank you for reading. You've made my day!

CHRIS: I doubt the owner will ban them. Her business is, for reasons beyond that particular segment of her clientele, not that great. Also, as Jen pointed out, I think the intimidation factor probably would be an issue. There's a reason why I made my comments as I was walking out and not mid-way through my meal. It was a lot easier for me to step up, knowing it's not a place I often eat, even though it's right next door to my work.

JEN: Thanks! And how awesome would it have been if the words "Shut your piehole!" had actually come out of my mouth in the cafe? I would never do it, but it's fun to imagine. Still, sometimes I surprise myself. As you know, I totally am born to be mild. Okay, now I'm having a flashback to being in a car with you and MQ 10+ years ago on the corner of 82nd and Division as you were driving me home, singing "Born to be Mild" with the radio, which makes this whole discussion worthwhile. Weird, the things a person remembers.