Monday, April 25, 2011

formalities: fuck 'em

I'm sitting at the Coffee Beanery (the new spot where, I'm ashamed to admit, I pass my time) and need head phones desperately to tune out the James Blunt playing over head. Ran out to the whip set to look for some and approached a nearby couple to have them watch the lappy while I was out.

"Can you guys eye my stuff so I don't get robbed? I'm running out to my car."

The couple, probably somewhere in the 50 + range, looked at me, puzzled.

So, I provided some more information: "I have to go out to my car to grab some headphones, can you watch my lap top?"

Then the woman piped up: "What about your car?"

"Can you watch my stuff while I go to it."

A confused faint smile remained on her face for several moments until, finally, the man with her offered up an unfriendly "sure."

As I reflected on the exchange on my way out, it dawned on me that these people reacted to me in such a manner because I cut them off mid-conversation without an "excuse me" or any other formal introduction.

This is a consistent problem in my social interactions.

Last summer when I was learning the Detroit bus system, I approached a DDoT driver and asked if the bus ran to the burbs.

"Does this bus go all the way to Royal Oak?"

"Excuse you!" he demanded.

Needing an answer, but feeling his response was completely unwarranted, I responded with the rudest excuse me I could muster followed by the same question, said this time with a hint of impatience.

Some may say my refusal to use common niceties is a byproduct of growing up among rude and ungrateful gen-Yers. I, personally, attribute it to a general lack of patience (I'm not sure where this trait comes from) coupled with the belief that most social norms are unnecessary. I don't park in the lines when the lot is empty, I use the men's bathroom if there's a wait for the ladies' and I don't use excuse me as a precursor to what I have to say, I just say it.

Does this make me a free spirit or a total jack ass? Depends on who you're asking, I guess. I'm sure most people who live in the box would use the latter to describe me. Still, it is my firm belief that those in question are just envious that someone who lives with such little regard for the rules can get by just fine.

(Actually, as of late, my definition of "just fine" has evolved to include "kind of shitty," so perhaps I need to reconsider my approach to life.)

But, for now, having not found head phones in the whip, I sit at the beanery blaring music out of my laptop speakers, trying to drown out what is now a Christina Aguillera song playing throughout the cafe. Because no one in here is actively trying to listen to this garbage.

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