“I had a world of people raising me; it was like a little village.” — Gaby Hoffmann
What I’m about to share with you will come in 3 different versions:
- My version, where I’m the immature “hero”.
- The other person’s version, where I’m the asshole.
- Other people’s perception of what happened, where the whole incident was silly.
On my way home from visiting my parents, I hop on the bus and start to make my way to the back. I’m listening to an interesting audiobook when I notice a guy sitting sideways with his legs over the seat next to his and sticking out in the aisle.
I keep walking and make it clear that I’m going to go past his legs. Does he move them? No.
Now, this fucking annoys me. So I intentionally bump into them. Hard.
I take my seat, still listening to the audiobook, and hear: “Hey! Hey you!”
Seriously? Why the fuck is this guy, who was clearly obstructing the aisle, attempting to make contact? Dude, you were in the wrong. STFU.
I look over at him and he says something like: “Aren’t you going to apologize? You could’ve hurt my legs!”
What a fucking moronic thing to say.
I don’t respond verbally, I just give him bug eyes and a shrug to signal two things: “No shit!” and “I don’t give a fuck”. After which I keep listening to my audiobook.
Was that the mature thing to do? Hell no.
Did I feel good about it?
Yes. Yes I did.
I could’ve stopped in the aisle, been a grown up and said: “Your feet are sticking out and obstructing the aisle. Take them down, please.”
In fact, that’s what I should’ve done, but, I did not.
The story I tell myself is that I’m the good guy. I showed this person that it’s not OK to sit like a fucking asshat when other people are getting on or getting off the bus. Hopefully this taught him that he’s not going to get away with that kind of behavior nor that his attempts to intimidate people verbally or physically (he was almost 2 heads taller than me) is going to work.
This raises a question.
How do you explain to an idiot that they’re an idiot? I mean, the idiot doesn’t have the intellectual capacity to comprehend what an idiot they actually are.
Which brings me to the second part. Where, despite my intentions, I probably failed.
One thing I didn’t mention earlier was that this guy’s chatting with a woman on the bus. He isn’t paying attention to anything else. Obviously he’s posturing and taking up space in order to show that he’s cool and in control of the show.
When I bump into his legs he’s taken out of his current state where his focus is looking cool and macking (do kids, or anybody, still use that term?) on the hottie across the aisle. No doubt that this pisses him off.
In his view I’m an asshole who’s just obstructed his chances with the lady. Not to forget the potential carnage I could’ve inflicted on his delicate little feet.
He probably looks at himself as a good guy, I’m sure he usually is, and that my actions somehow wronged him. Thus making me the bad guy.
I don’t mind being the bad guy.
If it leads to insights or something productive for the other person, then I’ll gladly fill that role for them. I know what my intentions are.
Now, what were other people’s perception of it?
Most were probably bothered by the fact that I did something to make this dude lose his cool and start yelling. These people just wanted a calm ride home from work, and it was disrupted by my action as well as his reaction.
They might rightfully think that we both were assholes and should be permanently banned from taking public transportation.
Some were on his side since they think that I could’ve been an adult and ask him to move his feet.
Others thought I was acting reasonably since the dude was completely oblivious to his surroundings.
If you’re thinking: “Why the hell am I reading about this trivial and stupid non-event where everybody’s clearly an asshole?”, I completely agree. It is fucking stupid.
The reason I bring it up is because these things happen every single day. At home, at school, at work, at the gym, on the bus, etc.
What I would’ve liked to happen is actually that someone would’ve called the dude out earlier, since they didn’t I stepped in. But someone should’ve called me out as well, told me that while his behavior wasn’t OK, neither was mine.
We see this happen every single day, yet we don’t do anything. Why? Because it’s “not my job”.
One could argue that it’s the parents’ responsibility to teach their child certain things. If they didn’t learn it from their parents, well then school should’ve done it.
But what if the parents and the school have failed to teach the kid these lessons? Do we just throw our hands in the air and say: “Well, I guess that person’s fucked!”?
Sure, once we’re 18 we’re responsible for our own lives. Blaming our parents or school isn’t going to help us get anywhere. We’ve got to start taking care of ourselves, regardless of whether or not anyone gave us the tools to do so.
At the same time, if nobody tells us anything yet people expect us to know everything, there’s a mismatch.
Yes, you’re right. It’s NOT your responsibility to raise someone else’s child. But saying that and doing nothing isn’t going to change anything. So, if you want things to change then it IS your responsibility.
It takes a village to raise an adult.
Going forward I learned one valuable lesson from this. I need to grow the fuck up. It’s not OK to go around body checking people or model other poor behavior. At the same time I’m probably going to need some help with that.
If I turn to my parents, and I love them so much for this, the only thing they’ll say is: “Good job, son! The motherfucker deserved it.”
Perhaps that’s what parents are supposed to do. I know I’d say the same thing to my kids. What I need is a “dutch uncle” to tell me that while my intention might’ve been good, I went about it in a very stupid way.
You see, it could’ve lead to a fight. If the other person has poor impulse control, is drunk, is on drugs, etc, it could end badly. For me, for them, for you, or for an innocent bystander.
These are the things I need to hear, and I think others need to hear it too.
That maybe, just maybe, we’re not as good as we think we are?
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Have a kick-ass ₢eative day!