There seems to be a bit of curiosity over the fact that I encounter so many looney-tunes, for lack of a better term.
I’d like to address this if I may.
After considerable musing I’ve come up with a few logical reasons the first being, I live in New York City, the aggression capital of the world. One steps outside their door often greeted by a dose of casual belligerence. Sometimes you needn’t even step outside…it could occur on the stairwell or in the foyer. It’s as if all New Yorkers, rather than a gun, pack an attitude in order to get through the day. To be honest, I’m grateful it’s not a .38 or I’d be dead for sure.
I’m also naturally inquisitive therefore engaging more than perhaps the average person. This quite often results in unexpected pugnacity after rubbing someone the wrong way, like that UPS man for example (see United Psycho Service). Me asking for directions set off something that if I would guess had to do with a woman in his life. You can almost see him lost on some road with his wife screaming, Ya went the wrong way Harry…I told you to go left at the Sunoco sign, didn’t I?
The guy at Trader Joes (see Are You Talking To Me) who almost slugged me was just plain nuts and believe me when I say, New York is crawling with folk like him. You find yourself building up a protective shield that it bounces off of.
Did you see that guy playing drums on that bucket? He was naked.
You get used to it which doesn’t make it right but if you’re going to live here you can’t let it bother you. It’s kind of like the rats that come out after midnight, you learn to exist alongside them despite their unsavory presence.
We had a huge snowfall that has challenged the city. You want to dodge some bullets, today was the day. Between knee deep snow that has yet to be shoveled and the men who are out there breaking their backs shoveling, let’s just say no one is singing ‘You Are My Sunshine’. It’s more, get outta the way lady…can’t ya see I’m shovelin here? All I did was walk down the street to receive that warm and cozy reception.
I have learned to pick my fights since the moment you take one on, your peace becomes the admission price. In New York it’s awfully easy for an argument to escalate. You see it all the time: Two cab drivers about to go to blows because one beeped at the other. A woman at the bank angry at a man who didn’t say excuse me. My favorite one is when you hold the door for someone and if they don’t say thanks it goes from, I did so right to, hey fuck you asshole, you wanna step outside? Our personal anger swings much too close to the surface like a fuse begging to be lit.
Ironically, I left this essay to go get my nails done like I do every Saturday at 10 a.m. I have what you call a Gentleman’s Manicure which means, filed, cleaned and buffed, no polish which takes all of 15 minutes. There’s a woman 2 seats down from me on her cell phone as loud as can be right in front of a sign that says…Limited Cell Phone Use Only. I politely ask Angelina Hollywood, who I’ve written affectionately about (see Things That Elude Me Part 1) to please ask her to get off…so she tells the girl doing her nails who simply refuses to do so.
Now I’ve just come off a 4 day job that has left me so exhausted that my tolerance has gone AWOL…like it’s in Japan if you get my drift…I jump up and say to this woman who’s in the throes of explaining the difference between wild salmon and farm raised, “Madam, could you please get off your phone while I’m here,” and she says, “No, I can’t.”
I don’t have to tell you what happened next. Her entitlement and general impoliteness lit that fuse faster than you could say, Hey sailor, gotta light? I looked at Agnes who’s in charge when the owner isn’t there and said, “If you don’t address this right now then you’ve just lost a customer.” Agnes shrugs and shakes her head as if to say, who gives a flying shit, not exactly the response I was hoping for. I grab my coat, apologize to Angelina Hollywood who’s about to cry, and leave. Knowing myself as I do, I will stubbornly, as much as I love her, never go back.
ESCALATION, THE GAME WE LOVE TO PLAY.
It’s what happens when you don’t live in Kansas.