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Thursday, February 21, 2019

The Assholes Among Us

I'm tired of people being assholes.

Truly.

So, so tired of it.

Of dressing others down.

Of insulting, humiliating, degrading others.

I'm done.

This week really was my tipping point.  I'm blaming a mixture of the full moon and PMS.

On Saturday night, my husband and I went out to dinner and to listen to a friend of his who plays in a jazz combo.  It had been awhile since we'd had the opportunity for just the two of us to go out.  Valentine's Day had passed, we've both been busy with work and kids' activities, we needed a night to listen to some great music at one of our favorite Italian restaurants.

He made reservations for 6:30.

We pulled in at 6:20 and the place was packed. In fact, we knew about a third of the people there- all friends with the band.  My husband went up, gave them our name and we chatted with some friends in the crowded waiting area and listened to some good music while we waited.

I remember those nights when I waited tables and it was so incredibly busy you didn't have time to pee.  The wait staff was flying all over the place.  The owner was bussing a table or two, bringing drinks- as a small business owner myself it made me happy.  I am so sick of chain restaurants destroying our fantastic local restaurants.  This place was buzzing and alive.

And then in walks Mr. Dickwad.

Older gentleman in a sport coat.

I didn't originally think he was a dickwad.  At first I thought he was classy and I wished my husband had worn a sport coat- of course, that would require that he own one but whatever...

Then the sport coat opened his mouth.

The owner was hosting. A woman who was holding flowers and with the sport coat man, approached and he wrote down their name.

Well, Mr. Dickwad didn't trust her so he approached.

"We have a reservation."

"Yes, I know- I put your name right here."  The owner smiled.

"I see that you wrote it down, but we have a reservation."

"Yes- I have it right here-'

"But it was for 6:30!" Mr. Dickwad demanded!

The owner- who is  a great guy (evidenced by his bussing and water pouring, helping his staff and having hung out with me one time during lunch when my friend and I were asking about a special and it turned into him joining us)- said incredulously---

"It's 6:34."

"It IS!" Mr. Dickwad seemed to think this made his point.

The rest of us were all rolling our eyes.  Because it's FOUR MINUTES.

And the guy begins to berate the owner about how they must not really take reservations and on and on and I had enough.

This was my night out with my husband to be an adult.  A grown up date with music, wine and making goo goo eyes at each other (don't throw up).

And I turned...

This is when I could see my husband go whiter than he already is.  He knew what was next- I was going to go what we refer to as "full pit bull."

And while I wanted to say "Listen asshole, you're embarrassing your wife, this is the OWNER and what the hell do you want him to do?  Kick out someone while they're eating?  Throw their food on the floor?  Shut the hell up and wait your damn turn with the rest of us."

But I didn't.

Because it's a nice place and I love my husband and if I'm going to start taking on assholes, I'm going to take the high road.

"Sir, we all have reservations.  All of us."  I motioned to the entire waiting area who was nodding in agreement. I was firm.  I was not rude.

He backed off.

And then the 2 couples next us snickered.  The young couple said "Our reservations were for 6:15 actually... but I think we'll live...."

The other couple said "Nice job." 

And then I said "Well, his Viagara is probably going to wear off soon- maybe he's in a time crunch..."

So don't anoint me with sainthood.  I still need to work on my kinder, nicer approach.

And my husband looked at me and said "I'm sure the owner was fine.  He's probably used to it."

He probably is.

Because screaming at people is the new norm. 

But it bothered me.  My kids were not known for having temper tantrums (they did but rarely).  The reason they didn't have them is because they didn't work.  I didn't tolerate them.  You have a temper tantrum, you get nothing.  I can wait it out.  Ask my mother in law.  My daughter and I sat outside a restaurant in January in a stare down because she would not behave.  No one else in the restaurant needed their dinner disrupted by my 3 year old. I can get mine to go. The other people don't need to pay the price.

And I certainly did not want my date disrupted by a 70 year old man having a temper tantrum.

No.

When the owner was seating us (before The Dickwads, who were still waiting), he apologized because it was a small table in the back.  We aren't small people.  I said "Well, if it's a really shitty table, give it to that guy." He laughed and said "Thank you- that guy's a fucking asshole." Our table turned out to be fine- nice and quiet in the corner so we could make ample goo goo eyes.

It did matter that I had said something because I've seen people like Mr. Dickwad and they don't back down.  The owner didn't deserve that.  Good customer service doesn't mean letting someone treat you like crap.

I didn't get in Mr. Dickwad's face- I didn't call him names.  Had he said something back... who knows, but more than likely I would have rolled my eyes.

But he didn't because my guess is, he's gotten away with this for a long time and no one has ever said anything.

And I'm just done watching people do this.

To anyone.

The cashiers at Target.  Or the waiter at the restaurant.  Or the teacher at your kid's school. Or the receptionist at the doctor's office.

People make mistakes.  They don't do it on purpose.  If a grade goes in wrong or I'm handed the wrong change, there is no reason for me to dress someone down as if they caused the collapse of the universe. 

People don't sit around thinking "Wow, how can I screw this up and ruin Mr. Dickwad's day?"

They don't.

Restaurants get busy.  It means they are good. Wait your turn or leave. We have a LOT of restaurants in Las Vegas.

Teachers have a lot of students.  As long as a wrong grade gets corrected before the end of the term, who cares?

But nasty gram emails and phone messages and "letting people know what you really think"-

Here's a heads up to all the Mr. Dickwad's- what they think is that you're an asshole.  The waiter is probably spitting in your food.  The cashier is probably going to go extra slow with the person in front of your next time, so you go to another lane.  The receptionist at the doctor's office is never going to squeeze you in.

So the next time you feel like giving someone a piece of your mind- don't.  You need it.

And if you see someone berating another person for no other reason than they want to feel big by making the other person feel small, say something.  Something polite. Something kind. 

We have to stop bullying in the adult world.

Kids will be kids.

Grown ass men in sports coats know better. 

For all I know, maybe they were celebrating his wife's 5 year cancer free anniversary.  Or their 50th wedding anniversary. Or maybe it was a first date (and hopefully the last because she needs to run).  Maybe he was having surgery on Monday.  I don't know.

I do know that he had no right to speak to someone as if they were less than.

No one does.

Maybe if we all start acting a little kinder and start looking out for one another, it'll catch on.

Be kind. Stand up.

It makes a small ripple in a big pond.