Yesterday at the grocery store, an older woman had her cart parked diagonally across the center of the aisle while she sorted through her coupons. She had to have known that nobody could get past her in any direction. She simply had to. In fact, if I were to hazard a guess, I would have to say that she had studied the situation beforehand and calculated the positioning that would cause maximum inconvenience to others. Nobody who is allowed to drive and purchase groceries could be that otherwise oblivious. It had to have been her little grab at power over others in order to feel better about her own life. Which must be sad, but that didn't get me past her any more quickly. I waited patiently for at least two minutes. Which, as you know, is a damned long time to be standing in the aisle of a grocery store. I know she saw me. I know she knew I was there. Eye contact was made. Finally I had no choice but to ask her, as politely as I could, if she could please move her cart a little so that I could pass. Now normally when this happens -- and it seems to happen around here a LOT -- the other party pretends that they have only now seen me for the first time and, oh goodness, here, let me get out of your way. I guess they got their little frisson of power and it sufficed. This time, though, the hag gave me a dirty, dirty look, as though I were somehow the bad guy here.
And that's when I lost it.
I said, and not quietly, "Listen, lady, you're the one blocking the aisle here, not me, so you can stick your dirty look. If you have to count your coupons, at least pull over to the side a little so that others can use the store. I am not the villain here." And then I may have called her cheap bitch as I swung past. Too much, I know, but I was fed up.
Today, at a different grocery store, my wife was just starting to back out of her parking space when another car stopped right behind her, preventing her exit. The man stayed behind the wheel while the woman hopped out, popped the trunk, and began some lengthy arcane rearranging of whatever bags or baggage were in there. Again, I KNOW THEY SAW US. I know that they saw that we were just about to leave, that they blocked us, and that they were continuing to block us. Finally, after the requisite two minutes -- and again, I am not exaggerating here; we actually waited two full minutes, which if you sit and try to hold your breath for it you will realize is quite a long time indeed -- we tapped the horn. And got the same dirty look. Like we were in the wrong. Like we were the ones inconveniencing them. I wanted to hop out of the car and give them both a piece of my mind, but my wife, a kinder and more patient soul than I, laid a restraining hand on my arm and said, "Let them have their moment of power."
I see this crap more and more, and I am getting well and truly fed up with it. People who see that you are waiting for their parking space in a busy shopping center and suddenly have to engage in more checklists than an F-14 pilot before they get on their way. Many times they will not leave their space until you have driven off in disgust. Like they have somehow "won" by keeping you from parking in "their" space. It's worse if the two parties involved are different races. Doesn't matter which; all seem equally guilty in my experience.
People who cut you off in traffic when there are hundreds of yards of free space right behind you. Because waiting that extra four seconds would apparently kill them. Or people who race past you on the wrong side of the road to get to a left turn lane that they will then sit at, because God forbid they should wait and do it safely instead of risking a pointless head-on collision. Or the "dieselers" who have their pickup trucks rigged to blow thick black smoke when they pass a Prius. Or the ever-popular drag race at a red light. Or the charming phenomenon of "man-spreading." What the serious hell, people?
That's all I ask.