It will say in sufficiently large and light-reflecting letters: “If you see cars passing you on the right, MOVE TO THE SLOWER LANE, ASSHOLE!”
Sometimes, the smallest stupid things get me worked up for no good reason whatsoever…
John Scalzi gets his “stimulus package” check from the US Government. It’s for a stupid amount of money. Not stupid as in “stupendous”. Stupid as in “what’s-the-point-of-even-getting-this”. $6.10, to be precise.
He rationalizes that there is very little useful he can do with this kind of money. Logically, he decides that it is worth donating instead. So, he picks a cause to donate to. He donates to Bob Barr presidential campaign. Not because he believes in the candidate. Because he is so dismayed with the current presidential administration, and he calculates that Barr will take enough votes away from McCain to prevent GOP from retaining the White House, that he figures it a perfect jest to use a laughable government handout to fund a political cause tangentially against said government.
I’m reading that, thinking, Wow! You find money on the street. You deem the amount to be insignificant to benefit you or your family in any way. You give the money away. Not to the homeless guy on the corner. Not to help victims of famine or a natural disaster. Not to fund search for a cure for a deadly disease. No, the best you can come up with is a political cause which you don’t believe in yourself, but which could be beneficial to your preferred candidate.
At midnight after a fairly long day, I get stupid myself. I actually type up a comment on Scalzi’s blog, expressing my incredulity that this is how he chose to spend the little bit of money that fell from the sky on him. Predictably, Scalzi curtly advised me to “cram it” (I get the gist of the term, but I never associated the word “cram” with what I think it meant in Scalzi’s context). Someone from his ever-present stable of sycophants then promptly chewed me out for being self-righteous (which I admit I was). And that’s the end of the story, pretty much.
I am not as worked up about it this morning. I realize that, in absolute sense, six freaking bucks do not make a difference for any cause, just as my various charitable donations – more often than not, in the form of sponsoring my friends for various marathons and walks, – do not add up to a contribution of significant impact (aside from making me feel good). I also recognize that if I were a fervent Obama supporter, I might have had an inkling to help his cause in any possible way…
But I just can’t help thinking that spending money in jest is stupid.
And reacting to that stupidity the way I reacted is no less stupid.
Will I ever learn that lesson?…
First day of spring in our neighborhood? Too early to tell, but the day was sunny and warm, not warm enough to ditch the outer garments completely, but warm enough to wear only a light jacket. I was enjoying the portion of my evening commute where I have to wait for the train at Lewisham rather exceptionally… up until the point I got into the railcar.
As I positioned myself comparatively comfortably in the corner, a guy next to me was dialing his cell phone. After which he started shouting into it.
Oh, no, he was not angry at all. Nor was he in any way exuberantly happy, or even inebriated. It’s just that his manner of speech consisted of shouting. He said hello to his wife at a hundred decibels, informed her that he would arrive at the station with barely a change in intonation, then gave me a brief respite while he dialed his buddy’s number, after which he proceeded to having a small talk at the top of his lungs.
Is it ever possible to ignore a loud talker? Only if you have a habit of traveling with earplugs, which I don’t. I couldn’t read – or do anything, for that matter, except listen to the guy’s conversation. Everyone else around me was affected in the same way.
And did anybody say anything? Did I? Annoyed – and even obliterating – glances were thrown at the loud moron from all over the railcar, to which he was entirely oblivious. Several people – myself included – were visibly day-dreaming about taking a heavy hammer to his head. But not a word was uttered in rebuke, or even in an appeal to him to keep it down.
Remember my gassing up story? In it, I overtly posited that I do not like letting idiots be idiots without hearing from me that they are, well, idiots. Yet, on a commuter train, in the presence of an inconsiderate cell-phone jackass, I find myself time and again enduring the acoustic assault and not even attempting to confront the imbecile.
How come? I keep asking myself. I have this [un]healthy habit of replaying situations in my head afterwards in search of better outcomes, and politely asking Could you kindly keep your voice down, please? or obnoxiously inquiring Do I need to be a part of your conversation? should theoretically shame the offender into switching to a less intrusive timbre. The actuary in me, however, estimates the risk of having to ride in the same railcar with the same lout in the future, coupled with the risk of him becoming indignant at having been disturbed, continuing with his boorishness and then repeating it on future occasions just to spite me, and I calculate that it is not worth the hassle to try to teach the oaf some manners.
The rest of the people in the car with us must be simply better mannered themselves…
Do you have a way of dealing with inconsiderate mobile-phone talkers?