Monday, March 22, 2010

Sunday morning in the 'burbs......

"My friends all bought homes,
I got a crash pad with a view.
I watch suburban heroes hold their own,
and wish I had,
something better to do."

There I was running Sunday morning errands and minding my own business and she damn near ran me over! She ran right into me and started hollering at a guy on the same aisle.
"Oh my God! We just ran the same race!" I looked at the guy to whom she was risking my life to speak to and quickly wished I hadn't. He was wearing skin tight running pants of some sort. I don't know what to call those pants but they removed any doubt as to his gender. He was still wearing a sign hanging around his neck from the marathon or half marathon or whatever it was he'd run that morning. I turned and faced the mouth that was so excited to see a fellow runner and said "Excuse I in your way?" She squealed, mistaking me for someone who cared how she'd spent her morning and said "My husband and I ran that same race this morning!" And this was cause (literally)to invade my personal space and ram my posterior with your buggy? I'm fairly certain her wish wasn't just to converse with a fellow runner but to let all us sub-humans there at the grocery store know that she and the guy with "moose-knuckle" britches were really cool people! Totally!
My bride has long hated for me go to the grocery store alone. It used to be because there was always a chance of crass remarks or pointing or laughing at directed at the me and the size I used to be. Now it's because she knows I'm old and grumpy and have little tolerance for folks that think they're the center of the universe. I think the experts call it a sense of entitlement and it's an epidemic that's ravaging souls here in our suburban-minivan- tennis skirt world.
Last summer I had some young folks in wheelchairs sitting in the handicapped area of my section at the stadium. I'd gotten them and their parents set up with some programs, some chairs and some folks facing great challenges were enjoying a Sunday afternoon at the ballpark. When the promotions folks started shooting free t-shirts up into the stands I heard a woman behind me actually instruct her children to go stand IN FRONT OF the kids in the wheelchairs to try and catch one of the shirts (because, after all, a free t-shirt can quickly change one's life.) I quickly and politely removed her kids from the handicapped section. The woman was most unhappy with me. "MY CHILDREN HAVE AS MUCH RIGHT TO THOSE SHIRTS AS THOSE KIDS!" I quit being a diplomat working to establish goodwill between the Gwinnett Braves and the general public and looked this woman right in the eye and asked her "Do you really want to teach your children that it's ok to take advantage of folks in wheelchairs for something as stupid as a t-shirt?" She didn't respond but she and her children left. I couldn't tell if she was embarrassed or angry..I really didn't care.
So what do the woman at the grocery store and the woman at the ballpark have in common? Maybe nothing. Maybe I'm reaching Or maybe they're Exhibit A of a mentality that's making the world not quite as much fun to live in these days. Folks that'll risk your life and their's to get one car length ahead in a line of traffic that's not going anywhere. Folks that talk really loud on their bluetooth so that everyone else on the elevator knows how important they are. Folks that think they're, well, entitled.
Or maybe I'm just getting old and grumpy........

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