These are the incidents of me yelling at people in public that have inspired me to “bring back the love” in 2012. Now, these are kind of funny in hindsight, in an oh-my-god-I-did-that way. And, I can’t say that I don’t still feel that all 4 of these people deserved to be yelled at. BUT! In the future I hope to let people know that they are being ass-hats in a more constructive and respectful way. Also, I should maybe consider that the ass-hat in the situation could be me before I actually open my mouth! Self-awareness within a community context is the goal! Even if it is my own self-awareness, and I become aware that I suck. Right. Now for the stories:
- At the co-op on a super-busy day, having trouble navigating my cart through the produce section. A late-middle-aged woman in an expensively “arty” coat is standing in front of me, completely blocking all possible outlets. I had said nothing, and had made no sounds, was patiently waiting for her to move, when she she looked over her shoulder at me and snottily said “well, what do you want me to do? There’s nowhere for me to go.” I then responded (in my head my tone was that of the New Yorkers portrayed in movies) “how ’bout you just back up LIKE A NORMAL PERSON? This isn’t EDINA lady!” (for non-Minnesotans: this was happening in one of the hipster parts of the City proper. Edina is known as the most entitlement-prone of the cake-eater suburbs).
- David, Stella (our dog), and I were heading out to the car. On the way to the car Stella decides she needs to take a crap. She proceeds to do so in the area between the sidewalk and the road (what is that called, anyway?) in front of our crazy neighbor’s house. Crazy neighbor lady landscapes that area every summer (though it is technically city property) and then yells at everyone all summer for tromping through it while trying to get to their cars (there is almost no off-street parking in our neighborhood). Crazy neighbor lady likes to yell at people for a lot of totally batshit reasons. She also likes to corner people and make them listen to her rants and general grievances. David and I have politely listened to her for over a year. BUT, on this day Stella has decided to take a crap just as crazy neighbor lady is turning the corner onto the block. I spot her about 30 seconds before she spots us and David and I literally fly into a panic because we know what’s coming. David sprints toward the car to retrieve a poop bag. I am standing right next to Stella pressuring the poor girl to hurry up, or possibly scoot to the plot in front of our house…but it’s too late. Crazy lady starts yelling halfway down the block: “HEY! PICK THAT UP!!!” Oh my god. David and I are TOTALLY (please forgive the pun) anal about picking up the poo! I yell back at her “YES! WE’VE GOT IT! HE’S JUST GETTING A BAG.” She whines “it’s just really gross when I’m weeding and there’s poop there because people don’t pick it up.” Me: “We always pick it up!” Her: “well, somebody doesn’t” (her tone TOTALLY implies that she thinks it must be us). At this point Stella is finished making her deposit, and David has it in the bag. I snatch the bag and march toward the garbage can, throwing over my shoulder “GOD! Quit YELLING at people all the time.” Now, she was (and frequently is) totally out of line. But, really? I yelled at her for yelling! She might actually be mentally ill. Whether she is or not, she’s clearly a miserable person for some reason…perhaps feeding into her misery isn’t the best way to deal with her.
- I was getting into the car with Stella. I had a bunch of stuff to load up, so the back door of the car was still open, with Stella sitting in the backseat, as I was trying to play Tetris with all the crap that had to fit into the car. I failed to notice that another neighbor woman was approaching with her dog about half a block away. Stella had not failed to notice, and had jumped out of the car to say hello, without me noticing. Stella isn’t the type to approach another dog uninvited (she’s shy), so she was standing on the sidewalk next to the car. I hadn’t even noticed that Stella was out of the car until the woman, still standing halfway down the block, started yelling “can you move your dog, I’m trying to get by!”. Apparently I didn’t hear her/move Stella fast enough (my hands were full), because she yelled again “move your dog! I’m trying to get by and I don’t want my dog to hurt her.” Which I guess would be fine if she could have waited for 2 seconds for me to grab Stella, and if I didn’t also see her EVERY SINGLE DAY walking her dog, and know that her dog has NEVER made so much as an aggressive sound at Stella in almost 2 years of interaction. When she started yelling for the third time in less than 30 seconds, as I was grabbing Stella, I snapped and said “YEAH LADY!!! I’ve got her! She jumped out of the car when I wasn’t looking! You could have waited half a second! CHRIST.” And then before slamming the car door I mumbled “your dog is fine!” She stood there dumbfounded that I had yelled back until I pulled away. I have since wondered if that woman is ALSO actually mentally ill. There’s really no other explanation for why she sees me twice a day every day walking my dog, and always acts like she doesn’t recognize us. She also always behaves as if she thinks her dog (clearly at least half Rott) is vicious, but the dog has never acted anything other than sweet. Weird. I probably shouldn’t yell at sick people, right?
The final, and craziest, incident happened when I was in line at the liquor store during the holidays. It’s a crowded store anyhow, with not much space for people to go. It was very busy; people were lining up and having difficulty finding places to stand in line. The woman in front of me hadn’t moved up when the last several people had gone up the register. The man behind me took it upon himself to ask her if she planned to move up. She said “I’ll move when I’m ready, honey. There’s no reason I have to move right now.” He made a vague motion behind him and said “there’s no place for people to go.” She said “it’s a big store. Those people are fine! I’ll move when I damn well please, honey!,” and turned around in a huff. I don’t know what seized me, maybe it was my OWN flagging patience with the stress of being downtown during the holidays. But it just slipped out: “Merry Christmas, crabby pants” I muttered. Oh man, that really did it. The woman spun around and yelled “don’t be like that, those people are FINE!” I said “they are stacking up, there’s no place for them to go, and you’re taking up much more space than you need!” Then the man behind me chimed back in and the argument went back and forth between them until it was her turn at the register. When she went up to the register, and I think that guilt started to set in for the guy behind me. He walked up to her and put his hand on her shoulder, as if to apologize, and she whirled around, wound up, and KICKED HIM IN THE SHIN!!! At that point both of them got kicked out of the store. She tried to implicate me and get me kicked out too, but I calmly stood my ground and said “well, I didn’t kick anyone.” BUT, she is probably right. It may have never escalated to that point had I not added me two cents. I’m an instigator!
So, there you have it, friends. I need to get my anger in check. Just because the world is crazy doesn’t mean I have to go ahead and add to it. My sassy mouth is apparently a dangerous weapon that can lead to violence. The end!