Short Take: Somebody’s Doing Something BAD!!!

There was a man who did something she didn’t like. She may not have been “fucking furious,” or maybe she was, but she didn’t express herself that way about the bad man.

No, it’s not the one you think. This one has a longish gray ponytail and a silver Lexus with a solar-powered prayer wheel on the dashboard. And this is how we met.

As we were happily munching and reminiscing about the Meow Wolf experience a silver Lexus pulled up to the curb just a few yards away and stopped. The driver sat looking at his phone for several minutes, maybe waiting for a child he dropped off inside, I guessed.  We took our time, marveling at the solar-powered prayer wheel on the car’s dashboard, twinkling as it turned in the sunlight.

What’s a solar-powered prayer wheel? Beats me, and I don’t care enough to google it. 

After 45 minutes or so the driver got out of the car — that’s when I saw his gray ponytail — and walked over to the espresso truck. And that’s when a grandson, whose hearing is a lot better than ours, said that he thought the car was running. “It couldn’t be!” I said. “He’s been there so long.” The boys went over to the car and felt it. Yup, they declared it was vibrating.

Leaving a car idling for so long is foolish for a broad array of reasons. I wouldn’t do it. I would think ill of anyone who does, regardless of whether they had a gray ponytail or a solar-powered prayer wheel. But the fact that someone did something I would never do, I would think was a really foolish thing to do, isn’t relevant here.

We were all horrified for obvious reasons. As we packed up our trash and headed for our car I took a detour to the espresso truck.

“Excuse me. Did you know that your car is running?” The ponytail turned to me.

“Yes. I know.” No expression. Just staring at me.

Flustered I said, “We were wondering why? why would you let your car run for so long? I mean, was there a reason?”

“No reason. I just left it running.” Slightly bemused expression.

Telling a random person that they’re engaging in conduct which you believe is wrong is pretty aggressive. But there’s no harm in saying something. She was “horrified,” a word most people reserve for serial murderers, and she acted upon it. Fair enough. And ponytail guy blew it off. Also fair enough. But that wasn’t the end of it.

I reported the conversation to Roberto and the boys and the reactions were swift. Roberto wished that he had potato to stuff up the Lexus’ tail pipe, explaining that it could destroy the engine when the exhaust backed up. Jumping aboard, the boys grabbed a tangerine out of my purse and demanded that we return immediately. Roberto doubted that would do the trick, and I said I would always travel with a potato from now on. That seemed to mollify them.

This is where it goes beyond rational. Did they really wish to do harm to the guy, to his car, because they were upset that he let it idle? Did they believe that they were entitled to do damage to another person’s property because he didn’t use it in conformity with their wishes?

But it didn’t end it for me. I am haunted by the encounter. I keep replaying the exchange and seeing his bemused, unmoved expression, as if I were merely a curiosity, not worth listening to, part of another world that had no relation to his world.

Ponytail guy may well have been a total asshole, as if driving a Lexus with a solar-powered prayer wheel wasn’t bad enough, but on what planet does a random person obsess over the fact that another human being doesn’t bend to her will “as if [she] were merely a curiosity”? Does she harbor some belief in her magic Jedi powers that others will do as she desires because she is “worth listening to”?

People get to do as they please. You don’t have to like it. You may even be 100% right about it. And still, people do not have to do as you want. Because, like you, they too are people and they too get to make their own choices, even if you are the most special person in the world to you.

And you get to conduct yourself according to your conscience, your beliefs, your feelings. But you only have command of yourself. To believe that others must obey your beliefs because you’re worth listening to isn’t their problem. It’s yours.

71 comments on “Short Take: Somebody’s Doing Something BAD!!!

    1. SHG Post author

      Bet it was the prayer wheel and the pony tail that really roiled her. It’s one thing when a deplorable acts deplorable, but he was supposed to be on her team.

      Reply
      1. Mike G.

        Ponytail…check

        Gray beard…check

        Solar powered prayer wheel…nope

        Deplorable…depends on who you ask

        And where can you get a haircut for 20 bucks?

        Reply
        1. SHG Post author

          I go to a barber. Her name is Carol. She has a barber pole outside of her barbershop and charges $12. She even has an in-house bookie. It’s full service.

          Reply
  1. Richard Kopf

    SHG,

    This seems to me to be a perfect illustration of why President Trump got elected.

    As for me, I drive a used 2005 Cadillac that guzzles premium gas only. I enjoy smoking my pipe in it with the windows rolled down. I particularly enjoy I pulling up next to a Prius filled with bright-eyed children in the back seat who are fascinated as they catch a whiff of the pipe smoke mixed with the exhaust fumes from the V-8 engine that rumbles loudly.

    Now that I think about it, it is time to make “America Bad Again.”

    All the best.

    RGK

    Reply
    1. SHG Post author

      I’m down from three to two Priuses at the moment, so my carbon footprint leaves heavier marks in the snow than they used to. Plus, the Healey is garaged for the winter, and I have no clue how the mileage on the Gator stacks up.

      I may be right. I may be wrong. But I really don’t care for random people telling me what to do.

      Reply
      1. Richard Kopf

        SHG,

        Quit bragging about the Gator. Out here in flyover country, we care about the environment and select our John Deere’s accordingly. What a shitlord!

        All the best.

        RGK

        Reply
      2. Earl Wertheimer

        It’s just a matter of time before you experience the same complaint about your Healey. No pollution controls, no electronic ignition and probably no seat belts.

        Fireplaces here in the Great White North have already been outlawed by those who enjoy scented candles and fireworks.

        Reply
    2. DaveL

      Does it have the whale skin hubcaps, leather “all-cow” interior, and big brown baby seal eyes for headlights?

      Reply
  2. DaveL

    I think it speaks well of our society’s standard of living that words that were once reserved for experiences like stepping on a dead human body, can now be applied to being disregarded by the owner of an idling Lexus.

    Reply
    1. SHG Post author

      For me, these are lessons/warnings for people who can appreciate them. I take no pleasure in making an unduly sensitive person feel worse about her misery.

      Reply
    2. paleo

      Don’t do it. I made the mistake of clicking through to her website to save you the exposure.

      The comments on her post – all four of them – agree with her disgust, and most of them suggest that she didn’t react strongly enough. One even suggests that she should have driven his car away and parked it somewhere such that he wouldn’t know where it was (and then turning it off, of course). AKA “steal the guy’s car, that’ll teach him”.

      Reply
        1. paleo

          Didn’t think of that. Since it’s obvious by inspection that he’s someone who doesn’t care about the environment, and since we are in the Age of Stereotyping, it’s easy to conclude that he’s one of those gun nuts, too. And all Gun Nuts are Fascists these days, so…… yeah, there’s definitely the potential for blood to be spilled.

          Reply
  3. Elpey P.

    A simple post-it note would achieve the objective she pretends to care about. But since she wants to cause a disproportionate amount of harm that requires the wasting of far more resources to fix, she must have other objectives that matter more to her.

    If she brings enough potatoes, maybe she can have her kids throw them at gas guzzlers on the highway to try and make them crash.

    Reply
      1. Elpey P.

        He listened in this scenario, and it didn’t seem to make her feel any better. He might even have considered it and taken it to heart afterward, but that doesn’t do her or her next target any good. Plus with the post-it approach it’s much harder for him to assault her by telling her what to worry about.

        Reply
  4. Jim Tyre

    “Are you coming to bed?”
    “I can’t. This is important.”
    “What?”
    “Someone is wrong (not) on the Internet.”

    Reply
  5. jim cline

    Visited her website out of curiosity. Turns out she is a conflict mediator. From her site “I have mediated high-level federal disputes, facilitated public meetings of 400, trained EPA staff in “Dealing with Difficult People,” and offered cross-cultural alliance building workshops with Hispanic and Native colleagues.”

    Guess her New Years resolution is to use a potato to deal with “difficult people”.

    Reply
    1. SHG Post author

      Some snarky asshole might suggest that this reflects an issue with the nature of people who call themselves conflict mediators, but I prefer to think of her as a potato fan.

      Reply
    2. paleo

      I was surprised to see that she’s a conflict mediator. Wouldn’t think that “if you don’t like something that somebody does, then teach them a lesson by damaging their possessions” would have been something taught at Mediator School.

      Reply
  6. Karl Erich Martell

    Just another day in Santa Flake . . . probably best she didn’t stuff a potato in some vato’s lowrider, because our office doesn’t need the work.

    Reply
  7. Black Bellamy

    Damaging the Lexus would exactly do what? Ponytail guy claims insurance, somewhere a factory destroys a bit of environment to cast a new engine, fuel is burned to transport that engine to mechanic, and the mechanic then sends his dirty clothes out to get chemically cleaned with some more environment damage. The oil that leaks out, most of it swept up with kitty litter but some is absorbed by the ground. It’s like Three Mile Love Canal all over the place. Add to that the pointless destruction of a thinking, living being – the potato.

    Reply
    1. SHG Post author

      And . . . boom, you just crossed a line. She didn’t *do* anything beyond talking. Even the aggressively self-righteous are entitled to express their opinion.

      Reply
          1. LocoYokel

            Perhaps, but I’ve found that personality generally shows through. If a person behaves like this without being provoked first it’s probably typical of their normal behaviour, especially as it seems she has trained her children to behave similarly.

            Advice I’ve heard for girls specifically and have given to my daughter but it pertains to men also. When on a date watch how your companion treats the wait-people, it’s also how they will probably treat you over the long haul. If they are kind and polite great. If they’re rude and abusive, run like hell.

            Reply
            1. SHG Post author

              The waitstaff analogy is an old one, and usually a good metric. But when a waiter puts his thumb in my food, it still pisses me off.

            2. LocoYokel

              Yes, but that is provocation and you are justified in having a problem with your meal being ruined, although even that would probably be better handled by speaking quietly with a manager and asking to have it replaced and to be served by a different wait-person rather than yelling and cussing the server in an open restaurant. Treating people like crap just because they are on a lower social rung is a different matter.

              Likewise going off on a man and considering, even just in fantasy (yes I saw her post below), property destruction or theft and encouraging your children or grandchildren in that thought pattern just because he did something rather trivial that you didn’t approve of is indicative of a type of person I don’t want to be around. The fact that posts to her blog seem to indicate that the people she normally associates with feel it would be justified also indicates that it is not an aberration but a normal thought pattern.

            3. SHG Post author

              My reaction wouldn’t have been revenge fantasies either. That certainly reflects something about where her head went. While they may well be “merely” fantasies, most people don’t fantasize about doing harm to other people.

  8. Lucy Moore

    OK. I’ve read all the comments to my post, plus I went back read previous posts, which are really informative and thoughtful. When I clicked on the link to this blog I expected to find my “enemy” — sorry, not mediator-like language, but I’m human, too. But I found good lively conversation about important issues. Thank you for that. For the record, the potato, the stealing the car, all the revenge fantasies were just that — I am not driving around with potatoes looking for offenders! I’m not saying that I’m not capable of real revenge acts, but not over an exhaust pipe.
    You all have given me a lot of food for thought — about arrogance and righteousness (my two least favorite traits in others….and lo and behold, in myself?) Enough for now. I’ll keep reading. Hope you do, too.

    Reply
    1. SHG Post author

      Your post was sent to me by a female mediator friend as emblematic of what she sees as a destructive and blind self-righteousness that have gone past reasonable reaction into dangerous excess. I didn’t suspect you would actually try the potato thing, but the fact that it even went there is disconcerting. And that your reaction to his failure to comply ranged from authoritarian to self-indulgent. This isn’t about you, per se. This is happening all over, and seems to be enabled by others who feel entitled to be authoritarian and self-indulgent.

      We all see/hear/read things that upset us or with which we disagree, even strongly. But unless we suffer from the delusion that we’re the center of the universe, we not only need to acknowledge that others disagree with us, but that they’re allowed to ignore us and go about life as they please. And we need to be able to shake it off rather than pull out a gun and kill them.

      Reply
      1. paleo

        Freedom is messy – all of those people out there doing things that I don’t think they ought to be doing is totally aggravating. Fortunately, I myself never have that impact on other people. I’m just sure of that.

        And props to Ms. Moore for coming over and responding to our snark without trying to start a flame war……..

        Reply
    2. Mediatrix

      When your post was highlighted outside your personal echo chamber of delusion, you pulled the mediator trick of validating the other party. Scott recognized this, let you off the hook since his post wasn’t about you, per se, but what your post represented.

      But realize that you didn’t fool everyone with this gambit. You post reflects your true feelings, and the comments to your post (and your replies to them) leaves no doubt that you are an angry, self-righteous authoritarian. You avoided a shitstorm only because Scott allowed you to avoid it, but you are a sick person.

      Reply
      1. SHG Post author

        Lucy is what she is, but that’s Lucy’s problem. I didn’t write this post to correct or disparage Lucy (though that will likely elude a narcissist), but to use her as an example for others. I do that a lot, but see no point in beating up the person whose post gives rise to the example. They’re not my problem to fix.

        Reply
  9. Scarlet Pimpernel

    It’s almost as if she is completely oblivious to the fact that french fries contribute to childhood obesity and childhood diabetes. Hopefully the next time she feels the need to risks her grandchildren’s health like that someone will speak up.

    Reply
  10. Scott Jacobs

    Flustered I said, “We were wondering why? why would you let your car run for so long? I mean, was there a reason?”

    When I encounter people like Ms. Moore, my default response is usually “because I know how much it annoys people like you. What more reason could I ever need?”

    But, as some have informed me, I’m not exactly a people person.

    Reply
  11. John Barleycorn

    it wouldn’t hurt you know to float more rage in coherent conclusion.

    or just get busy and be done with it in a paragraph or two here and there.

    letting us know how you really feel with the rest of the space?

    is that you?

    when you get around to it….

    p.s. you cool with a month or two of nylon?

    Reply
  12. Jake

    I feel compelled to criticize when someone writes a critical blog post about someone else writing a critical blog post about someone else’s behavior.

    Reply

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