Sunday, 16 June 2013

Becoming an asshole starts early.

You know how folks turn out to be assholes? Not the personal-criterion-meeting asshole but an asshole that anyone will recognise? You know how that happens? Because their parents show them exactly how to do it. A thousand free kisses to those who grew out of that nonsense and decided to un-asshole themselves in adulthood, but this post isn't about them.

Last weekend, I was minding my own business, finishing up back to school shopping, basically living my suburban cookie cutter nightmarish existence in glorious detail. Everything about that Sunday evening made me want to go on a killing spree in that people-full mall I was in that evening, and be committed for insanity. There I was holding on to my son's hand, my daughter was walking the kids' father, and we had bags and we were all dressed down terribly. We were the picture of an ideal family. In my head we were the picture of every cliche that I have critically struggled against.

But I digress. There was this show at the mall, a Disney show with Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse on stage. It wasn't one of those poor-cousin-of-Disney locally managed shows where costumes looked like they'd give you a disease if you as much as looked in that direction. This gig was a genuine Disney show and the whole team was down from Mumbai and were..., well, it was a great show. Having shopped for the kids to a certain amount that made you eligible for a ticket to watch, I waited in line with the kids for them to open up the seating area. 

I am one of those awful people you meet who tells people off for jumping queues, letting their toddlers walk on seats with shoes on, pointedly picks up trash if people have thrown it out in front of me and generally gets vocal and anal about selfish, uncaring insolence of which there's an abundance all around me. 

As I waited in line, two women with 67 children in tow (even though the passes said one adult, two kids) came up behind me and formed their own organic line. A polite girl stood behind me and I thought she might object, but she didn't. It was beginning to annoy me and having a propensity for losing my temper irrespective of where I am, I was weighing the options of telling these moronic chicks that there was a line and it didn't start behind them. While it tossed and turned, the woman behind me kept fidgeting. Little gets to me more than a fidgety person whose infernal fidgeting affects my physical space. Since this woman was practically assaulting my back with her breasts, stomach and her squirming spawn, I was being jostled quite a bit. I snapped and said, can you not stand so close. She looks at me and says but we are in line. Wrong thing to say, no? 

I had a go at her and said, uh no actually, she was breaking a pretty patient queue and if she really cared about being in the line, she'd go to the back. She says, "it's okay." 
I say, "no it's not. There are people, also with kids, waiting before you. You are being unfair to them."
She says, "it's okay. They don't have a problem, why do you?
Correct.
So I said, "because if I let it go now, I won't sleep well at night." 
I am assuming she wasn't too bright because she turned dumb eyes at me and I said well,  if people behind me let you get ahead, good for you. 
Unfortunately, the girl right behind me was polite and didn't make a scene though she did register a half hearted protest to which again the moron mother said, it is okay.
I'd have forgotten about the whole incident, if the woman didn't turn around and tell the other woman with her, right in front of their preteen daughter, does she think this is the first time I've skipped a line, don't we know what we are supposed to do, we also have tickets, not like we are beggars, "over smart".  
I called security. Not because she was gloating but because she just got on my last nerve. I'll leave this story at that. 
But I thought about my maybe asshole tendency to want to be fair all the time. I am not sure I liked what happened or how I reacted. I might be embarrassing someone or delaying someone or plain being tightassed when I do these things but I very strongly believe that if you are going to let your kid see this behaviour you're just creating another wave of callous, rubbish individuals who dump their trash in the neighbour's yard and call themselves clean, in a manner of speaking. I know I am stating the obvious but I am incensed. In the last week alone, I've had way too many brushes with the indolence and selfishness that we as a whole indulge in and encourage. In the last week alone, I've send two kids to the back of the weighing line at supermarkets, kids whose parents sent them with "just one bag to be weighed", kids who do are learning implicitly and permanently that it is ok to rudely jump the queue, learning deceit and lack of respect. 
On the road, not a single person displays consideration for another driver, no giving way, no letting a pedestrian cross, no waiting. God knows how difficult it is to be a pedestrian in India without Impatient motorists speeding up just as they spot a weary guy trying to get to the other side of the road and to a homemade meal without getting himself killed. Unless you're an aggressive bitch, you can forget about getting a u-turn at crossroads where there're no traffic lights. Peeing in public, laughing at a fat person,  treating a waiter or service staff badly, especially without provocation. So many ways in which you can create a little asshole of your kid and perpetrate her or him or the world. Or not. 

21 comments:

Nikita Banerjee Bhagat said...

Too many 'assholes' around. :(

Sue said...

I'm too easy-going to emulate you most of the time but thank you for standing up for the rest of us.

Sythe said...

good for you, if more people piped up like you did, we wouldn't have as many asshats in the world.

Anonymous said...

Have you considered HRT? Sounds like you need it...

The Restless Quill said...

are you sure, doctor? not a lobotomy?

SuKupedia ™ :) :) said...

Glad u called the security guys...this is surely something I would have done.. wish more people would stand up like this...

Anonymous said...

absolutely no clue what you are talking about in this post. something about a kid cutting the queue..and then rubbing against you..but thats about it.

Sukanya Bora said...

Looks like Anon(s) really have a problem with you sticking up to people cutting lines. I get so mad when they do that- lack of basic etiquette right there. And it is particularly frustrating when you see parents getting young ones to do so. Good for you!

SwB said...

The last time I had a 'queue fight' the guy (elderly not-so-gentle man) threatened to "see" me outside. When I went outside he was nowhere to be seen. That was after he gave me the classic "do you know who I am??". But he raised his voice so much I would have had no hesitation to punch him in the face. And yeah, not a whimper from people behind me to object to his cutting the queue! Welcome to India, the land of the passive onlooker.

Ghadeer said...

We should have more people who speak up like you.
I also think there is something so noble about how you do it keeping the world your kids are going to inhabit in your mind.

mimali said...

I use a phrase with my kids to let both them, and the asshole who makes these choices, see how self-centered and pompous these choices are, "NEVER FORGET HOW IMPORTANT YOU ARE!"

Piscean Swimming Upstream said...

Oh my gosh, I am you, you and you. I am so glad I am not the only person who gets all anal about these things. You know what's worse? When people tell you to calm down and lighten up! Really?! Lighten up? Then don't be an asshole!

Jyotsna John said...

Very cool. I think i just became a fan! :)

Sumanth said...

When I meet such people is when I can't resist thinking 'Mera Bharat Mahan' :-7

asoulbared said...

Well said and very rightly so... Not everyone reacts like you but I sure am glad that you do :)

madhu said...

I object always to people being assholes, and for that I am seen as a cranky hag by ppl but thats okay. Like u said, if I don't object, I can't sleep at night. Totally relate with yyour post..

Divya said...

Going by this post you must have started pretty early too. Don't see it? Ah! Never mind. Do delete this - and go back to being righteous - you have company.

The Restless Quill said...

My! How many assumptions, divya, :) I can certainly see your point of view and I won't delete your comment. I never do unless it is abusive. Thanks for taking the time to comment,

Leela Pal Chaudhuri said...

Way to go! Be that example to your kids who will cherish such innate integrity. All too often, we get seduced and waylaid by the 'chalta hai' 'itÅ› ok, let it be' attitude that we don't realise how young minds around us absorb such behaviour.
Just wandered over to your blog, via a friend and am hooked!
More power to you!

Lekha Nair said...

I just loved the way you put it up.

Abhiroop Banerjee said...

Angry grunt of approval. High five, lady. I almost left without reading the rest when I got to the part where the queue breaker in the mall shows up, because I knew that what was to follow would trigger feelings of irrational rage totally disproportionate to the provocation: a seemingly random event, one of the countless, exasperatingly commonplace instances of gratuitous rudeness and insensitivity that define public life in India, recounted in a blog post, read on a cold computer monitor many many months after it actually occurred. I read on though, to the end, feeling, almost, vindicated? Reassured? Because I've been there. I feel. I am conscious. I seethe. I erupt. I am branded the aggressor. It's getting worse. I am nearly constantly angry. I am becoming a more difficult, less tolerant person by the day. This comment isn't going anywhere. It isn't, whatsitsname, adding value! I am glad I discovered your blog. I shall read more. I could do with some silent conversation. I trust I will find some when I browse further. Yes.