Tuesday, June 06, 2006

The dumbfound and the fury

On this "Day of the Devil," I should probably think about compassion and generosity toward my fellow man. Walk out of the house and smile. Kill the beast with kindness, right?

First of all, I don't plan on leaving the house. I'm not going to see the remake of The Omen. (Nice job on the release date, though.) Once you've gone Peck, you never go back. And after I'm done typing this, I'm going back into the corner of my bedroom, where I'll curl up in white sheets and listen to Gordon Lightfoot all day. Surely, Gordon's wistful folk stylings will hold off damnation.

But rather than think about the good in people today, I'm more focused on how much they bug the $#!+ out of me. Susannah covered this a bit yesterday at Pub of Knowledge, but I'd like to explore the issue further because there are other reasons I don't want to leave the house.

For instance, the assclown who held up traffic yesterday on a busy Ann Arbor street, not only by pulling over, turning on his hazard lights, and running out of the car to drop something off or make some kind of delivery - WHEN THERE WAS A DRIVEWAY TO PULL INTO - but also by not shutting his door and letting it swing all the way open, thus ensuring that no one could drive around him, lest they veer into the other lane and smash directly into oncoming traffic.

So this total dip$#!+ held up an entire lane of traffic - again, on a pretty damn busy road - because he wanted to play UPS driver. WHEN THERE WAS A DRIVEWAY TO PULL INTO. Everyone being held up should've gotten out of our cars with baseball bats and tire irons and pounded this chump like a veal cutlet.

Or the idiot in our neighborhood whose car alarm regularly goes off on Saturday mornings. Early. Like 7 a.m. If it happened once or twice, fine. Car alarms go off once in a while. A squirrel jumps on the car, a jogger bumps into it - whatever. It happens. And I'm an early riser most days, so waking up on 7 a.m. isn't the worst thing in the world - even on a Saturday. But this happens every three out of four Saturdays a month. And it goes on and on. And on. And on, while this butthole is roused from his sleep, figures out that - yes - that is his car, and maybe he should turn it off because an entire neighborhood has now been woken up by a shrieking siren that was probably set off for no good reason whatsoever.

Baseball bats and tire irons, dude. Last Saturday was the worst. After a half hour, I was ready to find the car and smash the living hell out of it until it stopped wailing. And I would've done so while barefoot in my underwear, which no one wants to see. Or I would've tried to find the wires for the alarm and yanked them. And since I don't know anything about cars, that means I would've torn out everything. I'm not kidding; I was stepping out of my door when the damn alarm finally stopped. I would've found the house and pounded on the front door until someone answered. Or taken a $#!+ on the porch. Whichever would've made my point better.

And if someone's trying to steal this car, get better at grand theft auto, okay? Just #@$%ing take it already! Go find out how to disconnect a car alarm. Believe me, you'll have plenty of time because no one cares if the car's being stolen. They just want the damn alarm shut off. Hell, some of us will probably help you. We'll bring wire hangers and rocks. Whatever you need to get in the car.

Then there's the tightass who felt the need to chirp at me while we were both waiting to be helped at the deli counter. She thought I was trying to cut in front of her, when I was really just trying to get a better look at the meats and cheeses - which I had trouble doing from a distance, because she was leaning right against the counter - and practically over it, with elbows propped on the top - yelling at the guy to make sure that prosciutto was sliced thin, because last time it was too thick and whatever she was serving didn't turn out right.

So I couldn't see the display. And when I tried to look around her - because my number had been called, yet I hadn't been able to see what I wanted - this blue-blooded ice &!+@# turned to me and said, "You have to pick a number!"

Oh man, I'm amazed my shirt didn't rip down the middle of my back like Bill Bixby's. "Lady," I said, "I did pick a number and have waited in line, just like you did. But I can't see what I want to buy because you're leaning on the counter!"

She snorted at me, and stepped back from the counter. But I couldn't let it go there.

"Is it okay if I tell this gentleman what I want now?" I said. "Because I'd like to get some turkey and cheese, but not if everyone else was supposed to help you first. This is only maybe the 200th time I've bought something here at the deli, so I'm not sure how things run here. Is it okay if I go now?"

Awwww, snap? Maybe not, but in my mind, I heard thunderous applause. Most days, I wouldn't have thought of something to say until I was back in my car. And who knows, maybe I never will again. Fortunately - finally - this wasn't one of those days.

She stood back with arms folded, giving terse, one-word answers to the clerk for the rest of her order. I had my hands in my pockets, trying really hard to suppress a laugh and the urge to stand up on her cart, rip off my shirt, and yell, "BRING ME YOUR FINEST MEATS AND CHEESES AS I CRUSH MY ENEMIES, SEE THEM DRIVEN BEFORE ME, AND HEAR THE LAMENTATIONS OF THEIR WOMEN!" But no one really wants to see that.

Still couldn't let it go, though. After I got my finest meats and cheeses, I asked this shrew if I was supposed to pay for my groceries at the cash registers up front. She just ignored me and stared straight ahead. You have to pick a number. Baseball bats and tire irons, lady. I was just trying to get some lunch meat.

Though I briefly considered riding a bicycle everywhere and getting groceries delivered to my house so I don't have to deal with morons anymore, there will be no great vengeance and furious anger today, even though it's 06-06-06. It seems more like a day of wearing white linen clothing, frolicking through a field of dandelions, spinning around, and smiling up at the sky. I could use the breather.

(Image from "Pearls Before Swine" ©2006 Stephen Pastis/ Dist. by UFS, Inc.)