Tuesday, January 8, 2008

What part of “don’t fuck with me” do you not understand?

I’m fairly mild-mannered as I move through my days. And although patience is not one of my virtues—blame my sonofabitch father for passing along that characteristic—years of meditation, qigong, and deep thinking all play a part in keeping my heart rate lowered while confronting “difficulties.” I’m never a dick … unless pushed to extremes. And yesterday I had to rely quite heavily on my coolness as I encountered several people bent on pissing me off.

Eating at Luby’s always stresses me out: I’m never quite sure which (or how many) sides to order. And the servers are rarely under sixty and (even less) display any serenity of their own. The first woman behind the counter didn’t grasp my order of coleslaw (pronounced “coleslaw”), so she ended up repeating it three times before finally spooning some in a bowl for me. Not too much of a problem, but it was enough to put me on edge for the next station.

My order: mashed potatoes. The server grabbed a plate with a huge chunk of pork on it and began slinging mashed potatoes. I asserted, “That’s not my plate.” Most people who know me know I haven’t eaten meat in 22 years. Since the server didn’t know me from Meat-Eater Marvin, I could certainly understand (and overlook) her mistake. But then she scraped the mashed potatoes back into the serving bowl and started slamming dishes around.

The next server asked what else I wanted, and before I ordered broccoli, I looked the previous woman straight in her 65-year-old face and said, “I could use a little less attitude.”

It was enough to make Stephen’s day, I think. He was still laughing about it later at night. The best part about it for me was that I said what I wanted to say, what needed to be said, and then let it go. Usually I’m worked up afterwards, but I was fairly calm while eating my coleslaw (pronounced “coleslaw”), (angry) mashed potatoes, and broccoli—hold the attitude.

After a stressful first day back on campus, filling out paperwork, meeting with students, attending orientation at the college, commuting for more than an hour, dealing with Surly Magpie at Luby’s, and trying to move into an new place, I was looking forward to relaxing a little once I got home.

At some time around 10:45pm, the flipping Filipinos—since I don’t know any racial slurs for Filipinos—started vacuuming. That is a common occurrence, and an issue that has been addressed by both the old management as well as the new. Since the last time I had to walk upstairs to tell them how to be decent neighbors and instead had a door closed in my face (after I was forced to knock three times before they deigned to answer), I decided I was above such face-to-face confrontations. So instead I crawled under our building and turned their electricity off. Fuck you, stupid fucks! Start making unnecessary noise when I’m getting ready to sleep and you’ll stumble your ass around in the dark.

Needless to say, I slept like a baby until about 6:00am, when I turned their electricity back on. Oh, did I say, “Fuck you”?

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