Have you ever had the uncontrollable urge to turn around and slap the
shit out of a complete stranger? When I say uncontrollable, I mean you
find yourself turning at the waist and raising a hand before you even
realize what you are doing. An innate reflex , I suspect, that humans
have developed with evolution to deal with psychos in public situations.
I remember the first time that feeling hit me. I was on a city bus
and I asked a child to give up her seat to a woman who was obviously
7-8 months pregnant. I was standing myself and I didn’t see anyone
making any effort to give up their seat. The child’s mother proceeded
to scream at me for “telling her kids what to do”. Instead of slapping
the shit out of her (which, in hindsight, probably would have been more
effective) I explained to her that I didn’t “tell” her daughter to do
anything. I simply asked her to give up her seat to the pregnant lady
and if she had taught her kids any common courtesy, I wouldn’t have had
to say anything. It was obvious there were no decent people on the bus
that day, so I tried to show her child how to act like one.
Well, today I got that old feeling again while standing in line at
the unemployment office. There were some people who thought that
expressing their displeasure with waiting in line would somehow speed
up the process. For two hours the guy directly behind me was the worst
of the lot. Constantly grumbling and commenting, he would cheer every
time the line would move up a little. I tolerated all his antics until
he started repeating the phrase “C’mon, C’mon” in short bursts and then
long, drawn out breathes. After about the thousandth repetition in a
span of about five minutes, the person behind him must have sensed the
obvious tension it was creating because just as I wheeled around to
kindly tell him to shut the fuck up and possibly slap the shit outta
him, the person behind him chirpped “Relax man, complaining about it
isnt helping” By now, the security gaurd had seen enough and warned the
guy that if he kept it up, he would be removed.
When I finally made it to the front of the line there was a shift change.
“Hello Sir! How can I help you!” I heard. I stepped forward with a
smile and the nice woman at the counter promptly handled my issue.
“Yep, That’s it. Have a nice day!”
“I’m sorry, what’s your name?”
“Thank you Dawn, and you try to have a nice day as well”
She smiled. I smiled. My faith in humanity was restored, at least temporarily.