You never really want to be the guy that people talk about the next day in the manner of, “Jesus Christ, did you see the guy…” and then filling in a story of maniacal shouting. Throughout the majority of my life, I’ve done a good job of avoiding this. I like to think of myself as a mostly mild-mannered fella but unfortunately, you can’t be surrounded by brain dead breathing zombies that go through their days oblivious to the fact that they are living in a society with other human beings without blowing your stack every once in a while. For your consideration, I’ve compiled a few recent examples of instances such as this and maybe we can work our way through them and find out who’s crazy: Me, or everybody else in the whole world. I think it’s obviously everybody else but hey, I’ve been wrong once or twice before (but not for a very, very long time).
The first instance was July 13th, 2014. I know the exact date because it was the last day of the World Cup which I couldn’t have been happier about. I don’t like futbol and I got pretty sick of hearing people say to me, “You don’t like the World Cup?!?” and then treat me like I said I don’t care for a free market capitalist economy. So once that shit was over I was looking forward to an immediate stop of all World Cup-related tomfoolery. My ladyfriend and I headed to a local sushi restaurant for, well, sushi and sat down at our table. There were two other couples in the tiny, quiet restaurant that has TVs which show a rotating slideshow of pictures of sushi rolls. We placed our usual order and got ready to annihilate some tempura. And that was when we heard the first rattle of the noisemaker.
The couple sitting behind us at the bar apparently couldn’t let the World Cup just fucking die. They were dressed in jerseys of teams that had been eliminated the day before and the woman held a rattling noisemaker between her legs. She would shake the fucking thing, which was incredibly loud in contrast with the quiet restaurant, and would then look around like the rest of us were thinking “Where in the hell could that possibly have come from?” We let her get away with four or five of these surreptitious blasts of sound before I turned around and gave her the are-you-fucking-serious face. She put her hands up in apology and silently mouthed “Sorry!” so I turned around to await the arrival of the feast in a peaceful quiet state. I hadn’t even finished turning around before she shook the fucking thing again and this is when the train of composure first left the station.
My ladyfriend started off by addressing the woman and politely asking if she would mind refrain from being so goddamn annoying. Then the woman shook it again. So I turned around and said something along the lines of, “Okay, what the hell is going on here?” The woman sat back, put on a frank expression and said one of the dumbest and needlessly circular phrases I had ever been assaulted with: “The World Cup is the World Cup.” Although that may technically be true, it doesn’t mean a fucking thing.
“Isn’t the World Cup over?” I asked her. She looked dumbfounded as if I had just asked her if the sun was still alive. “The last match was a few hours ago. So it’s over, right? What’s the point?”
Things continued along this route for a little bit before I turned around again to hopefully end the interaction. Then she did it again and my cartoon thermometer popped the red stuff right out of the top. I was much less cordial when I told her she needed to stop and my ladyfriend matched my level of geniality. The woman responded by quietly muttering “white bitch” and all semblance of keeping it cool was tossed in the garbage disposal.
I stood up and faced the restaurant employees, who abstained from interfering in the increasing argument between their customers (for some reason), and drew a deep breath. “Fuck this,” I said with a bit of force. “Fuck her,” I pointed to the girl with the noisemaker. “We’re outta here.” My ladyfriend followed me as I walked away from the table and called the woman a “stupid racist” as we made our grand exit. I spent the majority of our walk home looking over my shoulder to make sure the psychopath sitting with the woman in the restaurant (who didn’t say a word the whole time and kept a stone-faced expression that not only neglected to show any form of emotion, but seemed to actively desire to suck emotion from the countenances surrounding him) wasn’t going to follow me and eviscerate me with his chopsticks on the sidewalk of Hollywood Boulevard.
Not too bad? Maybe a little bit of a lunatic? Let’s go to another example that from Friday night.
There’s dog shit everywhere. I walk around my neighborhood every day and I see it. I smell it. I do everything I can to avoid it but I frequently see scraped shit on the pavement that someone failed to notice before stomping their way through it. As a responsible dog owner, this pisses me off. The grass of the apartment building next to us usually has between eight and twelve giant piles of shit in it at any given point in time and it’s probably about only 20-square-feet. The fun part is when the landscapers come and mow directly over all of it, sending shit flying in all directions, covering the sidewalk and street. So I have gotten into the habit of glancing to my left every time I walk outside in hopes of seeing a giant dog taking a shit followed by the owner acting like it never happened. Imagine my delight when I was about two hours into a bout of enthusiastic drinking, standing outside smoking a cigarette, and a large, white dog humps up in the poop lawn.
I wandered over to the blond, white girl holding the leash and acted under the guise of addressing the trucks and cranes set up for some stupid TV show shoot (which I’ll get to later). “Do you know what they’re shooting?” I asked and immediately stopped listening to her response as I focused on the dog shitting. The woman was venturing some random guess as to what was happening in our neighborhood but I was only concerned with the shit. The dog finished and walked over to us as the woman continued to talk.
“Did your dog just take a shit?” I politely and calmly asked her.
“Hmm? Oh, yeah. She does that out here a couple times a day.”
“Oh really? So are you going to, y’know, pick it up?”
“No, I don’t have any bags with me. I have them inside but I just don’t always take them out here.”
And we were off. I started by explaining that I have a dog which I pick up after every single time, without fail. I also explained how there is dog shit all over the place and not only is it disgusting, but lazy on the part of the owner. Picking up after your dog is essentially the very first responsibility of a dog owner. Basic stuff. It’s like putting gas in your car: If you have a car you have to put gas in it/if you have a dog you have to pick up after it. Easy.
She responded by giving me a look like I was yelling at her for breaking curfew. I didn’t take that too well and told her that she could stop looking at me like I was an asshole because actually, she was the one who was being as asshole by forcing everybody in the neighborhood to deal with the feces she was either too lazy or too inconsiderate to pick up. She had no response so she simply walked away. I walked back to my friend and grabbed my beer.
Once again, not too bad right? Is there a bit of a pattern emerging? Not sure. Here’s one more example from later that same night:
I already mentioned the trucks and cranes being used for some shoot happening across the street. What I didn’t mention is how they had a giant spotlight on top of the crane that was being shined directly at apartment complexes for three or four hours. They’d blast one building then swing it to another then swing it to another on repeat. After my friend finally left, and another few hours of enthusiastic drinking had passed, I decided I had enough of this spotlight bullshit. I already have issues with public places being shut down for private enterprises but spice that up with an invasion of personal space and you’ve got a good chance I’m going to get worked up. So I walked outside, down to where a group of people were prepping a police car for the shot surrounded by more people on the set, and drew in a deep breath.
“What the fuck is going on here?” I said with a fairly good amount of force behind it.
It wasn’t long until a gentleman walked up to me and introduced himself as the site manager.
“Could you guys please stop shining that fucking spotlight in my apartment? My girlfriend is trying to sleep and you guys have been blasting all these buildings with your bullshit light for three hours now.”
The manager didn’t hesitate to throw the light operator right under the bus. “Yeah, he isn’t supposed to be doing that. I’ll make sure he stops.”
“Oh really? You’re going to climb up the crane and personally ensure that he doesn’t swing that big fucking thing towards our apartments anymore? I don’t think so. What are you guys shooting anyways?”
“Bosch? What the fuck is Bosch?” The crowd around us must have been pretty pessimistic about their jobs because a group of them started laughing at that one. “You know what, I don’t care. Just cut it out with these fucking lights. I don’t care about your show, it’s probably going to suck anyways, so just shut the fuck up and let us go to sleep.”
I eventually calmed down and realized the guy I was speaking with genuinely wanted things to be different so I started to like him. Another guy with a clipboard came up to me to commiserate for a little bit. He told me that he has to deal with shit like this around his apartment too and he knows how annoying it is. I decided to gracefully bow out because aside from yelling about how fucked up it is that Russia is testing intercontinental missiles by launching them from submarines, I had nothing else to say. So I went inside, did the dishes, and took out the garbage (AND recycling, for chrissakes) before finally going to bed.
So there you go. I’m sure there are more examples such as these but who’s got the time, am I right? Are these circumstances that necessitate a freakout or am I simply wound a little too tight? I used to shy away from confrontation at all costs but obviously that’s not a problem anymore. I like to think of myself as a freedom fighter that stands up for the voiceless and destitute, but there’s always a chance that I’m two ticks away from screaming at a grocery store employee for being out of the kind of bread I like. No I don’t want to buy any of the twenty other style of bread! I want the one with oatnuts in it for fuck’s sake!
I might be in need of an afternoon bathed in self-reflection but I’d much rather prolong the wait.