Or as I like to think of it, The Etiquette Bitch.
I feel a little like the Bernie Goetz of thoughtfulness, although without the gun. And the whole [cuckoo! cuckoo!] thing.
It started innocently enough with my growing annoyance at litterers. Occasionally I’d approach the culprit and smile sweetly, “I think you dropped this,” gesturing towards the candy wrapper on the subway track or ATM receipt on the sidewalk. Nate hated this, fearing I’d–or more likely he’d–get stabbed one day. He’s probably right. It might not be worth it to die over litter.
Recently on the subway, a middle-aged gentleman hobbled on with crutches and no one stopped to offer him a seat. Standing myself, I leaned over the healthiest, youngest looking seat mates and asked if someone might offer him one. Three people looked the other way, but the teenage girl with the nose ring obliged me. The guy on crutches didn’t so much as offer me a smile in return.
I started to wonder why I bothered, or whether I did the right thing. I figure well, a guy on crutches deserves to sit down. Even if he is a jerk on crutches.
But this past Monday, I was walking with Thalia to the playground when a couple in a brand new SUV pulled over and parked. Right in the middle of two choice parking spots Move up!” I called to him. He ignored me.
Nothing. I pushed Thalia’s stroller right up to the driver-side door. He rolled the window down tentatively while his wife wondered what this crazy woman with the toddler could be asking for.
“I’m sure you didn’t realize,” I smiled, “but you’re taking up two spaces. If you pull up, then someone else can park behind you. There’s not a whole lot of parking in this neighborhood.” He pulled up about two feet.
“All the way forward!” I gestured. Annoyed and I think a little befuddled, he inched forward a bit more then turned off the ignition still with a good five feet between his front bumper and the car in front of him. At that point I gave up. At least the neighborhood Mini Cooper would have a parking space.
“What happened mommy?” Thalia asked as we turned the corner headed towards the playground. “What did that man do?”
“Well sweetie, some people just aren’t that good at sharing.”
“So you are telling him to share?”
Suddenly I felt completely stupid. Who am I to tell him anything? It’s not like he’s going to walk away thinking hm, I think I WILL park more considerately next time! It’s not like the litterers will think twice before tossing that used MetroCard on the sidewalk or the seat-hoggers will be any more considerate. Mostly, they’ll just walk away muttering something nasty about me.
At minimum though, I was hoping Thalia learned a little something. Well, something more than the fact that her mom is a self-righteous Etiquette Bitch with a low threshold of tolerance for inconsiderate asses.
As we got close to the playground, a jogger stopped me.
“Hey, did you just actually tell that guy back there to move his car?”
“Um…yeah. Yeah I did. You saw that?”
“Well that is just awesome!” she laughed as she headed up the brownstone steps to her front door. “I can’t wait to tell my husband. He’s always doing stuff like that.”
“Really? That’s great!”
“Oh yeah.” she said. “Aaaalways. He’s going to be so glad he’s not alone.”
[Junk Food Mr. Rude tee via 80stees.com]