What happened to manners? (a mini-rant/story)

Last night, while sitting at the bar in a new night spot, my conversation with a friend was repeatedly interupted by assholes who insisted on gaining access to the bar by squeezing between us. The first few times this happened, we were just annoyed.

I finally got sick of it and told off a guy who actually elbowed me to get to the bar. This guy was bigger than me, so I wasn’t just being a bully. After I tore into him, he apologized, then continued to try to get the bartender’s attention. The topic of conversation with my friend immediately changed to assholes who KNOW they are doing something wrong, and do it anyway. When he finally got his drink order filled, he was in such a hurry to get away from us that he spilled his drinks.

An uninvolved observer (who was elbowing his way to the bar, but going between two groups, not in the middle of one) started giving me shit. He was saying I was an asshole for tearing into the other guy. When I pointed out his hypocrisy, he started puffing up and started to get physically agressive. At this point, I was pretty drunk (I gave blood earlier in the day, so the drinks I had consumed were really having an effect) and in an all-around bad mood due to some job-related stress. If not for the modicum of self-restraint I had left, I would have taken the bait and beat the poor guy senseless (and ended up in jail). Luckily, he realized very quickly that I was in no mood to be fucked with, and backed down. The net effect was that I had a big shot of adrenaline that didn’t get worked off in a fight or a flight. If the weather wasn’t so crappy today, I would make short work of the concrete driveway that I need to demolish (nothing I have found is quite as stress-reducing as destroying something that needs to be destroyed).

Yup, that’s why I went into politics.

Ever do that? hHave you been running this inner video over and over, with different outcomes?

I’m just askin’…

but you’re right. People are more rude these days. There are just so damn many of us, we’re anonymous. Shit driving is a product of that, too. Where I come from, you don’t just be rude to strangers because you’ll never see em again. Cause you might. People are just disconnected and rude.

Or it could just be that you’re in Texas. No… I’m just kidding. Hee…

Yeah. Have you seen High Fidelity**? There’s a good sequence of alternate (daydream) versions of a confrontation. My favorite is where the little, skinny, timid guy that works in the record store whacks Tim Robbins across the face with the telephone, knocking out a few teeth. The three guys then kick the crap out of Tim, and the little timid guy pulls the window A/C unit out of the wall and drops it on Tim’s head. The imagery is so absurd as to be hilarious.

For my situation, it worked out about as it could have, from a legal/ethical standpoint. My friend and I responded to the interloper’s impending assault with the minimum force necessary: we stood up off our barstools (I’m 6’, 185 lbs and my friend is about 6’2", about 210 lbs- the loudmouth, nosy, little punk was about 5’10" and REAL skinny) and made sure that he knew that any further hostile actions would be met with an overwhelming response. Both of us have been under a lot of job-related stress for quite a while, and were a little drunk: we were definitely two people who shouldn’t be fucked with.

Normally, Texans are about the most polite people on Earth. The problem in Austin is that there are SO MANY people here from elsewhere. I’m not from here, but I have lived here for about a dozen years (with almost 10 years in Houston before that), which is longer than about half of the total population, and longer than about 3/4 of my general age group (young adult, 18-34). While we have our fair share of native assholes, the recent transplants are invariably worse.

Oh, and for the record: WE DON’T GIVE A FUCK HOW YOU DID THINGS IN CALIFORNIA! Whichever high-tech company it was that hired you obviously had the sense that God gave them not to build another fab or factory on dirt that costs $200 a square foot (before ground is even broken) in a state that can’t figure out how to provide adequate, reliable electrical service that your company needs to stay in operation. Maybe you should defer to their judgement.

ARRRGH… I can’t come close to typing all of the hostile, venomous shit I’ve been feeling lately. Coming soon: a Pit Rant of Epic Proportions.

Was there any way for them to reach the bar other than by squeezing between you?

Yeah. On the other side of my friend was the end of the bar, where several people were lined up to get drinks. Also, the bar is about 40 feet long, and there were several unoccupied spaces where people were queued. The asshole in question was not only squeezing between two people facing each other and conversing, but jumping to the front of the line. His actions were wrong on many levels:

  1. dividing a group of two, interupting a conversation,
  2. bypassing an established queue, assuming that his time was much more valuable than that of the people queued up (I know us silly 'merkins don’t place much value in queues, but my English friends would have jumped on him for this transgression alone),
  3. the straw that broke the camel’s back for this asshole was that he used physical force (elbowing me) while doing the two things above. He was bigger than me, but not much. I think the Charlie Manson/Travis Bickle look that I had in my eyes while dressing him down for his bad behavior definitely had an impression.
  4. is this where I’m supposed to say “Hi, Opal,” or is that just for two-item lists?

The second Mensa candidate (who observed my scolding of the first genius) butted in and admonished me for taking issue with the first guy’s manners. My response was, basically: “WTF? You do realized that you are doing the same thing right now that you are scolding me for?” That, and “Oh, and you do know that it is rude to stick your nose into other people’s business. Yes, I am an asshole, and I’m damn comfortable with that fact.”

Later, there was another complete fuckwad, who was MUCH bigger than me, who elbowed his way to the front of the queue. By this time, I was just itchin’ for an incident. We voluntarily allowed a couple of the people he plowed past to get to the bar between myself and my friend, so that they could get served before the offender. He steamed a little bit, but didn’t have the nerve to say anything. I was truly a defender of the downtrodden, doing my part to eliminate a little bit of rudeness by taking away its benefit :rolleyes:. That, and I was about bulletproof by this time.

So, yes TomH, there were other means of access to the bar. But the offenders all claimed “Hey, I’m just tryin’ to get a drink, give me a break.” Everyone there was just tryin’ to get a drink, but the vast majority had the common decency not to step all over other people in their quest.