You know how there are some people you can tell you won’t like – before they’ve ever said a word to you – just on how they act? Sometimes I know things that way. That’s right, I pre-judge you if I hold the door open and you saunter through without saying thank you. I pre-judge if you loudly blab on your cell phone in the doctor’s waiting room or on the treadmill at the gym. (Because people who talk loudly in public are never saying anything worth eavesdropping on. I’d like a person who bellowed about their exciting family secrets or police records. But no, it’s always an exhaustive list of potential cat names or what they bought at the Porkly Workly manager’s special. So insensitive, boring people that way.) I pre-judge you if you hold up a whole line of cars because you had to stop right there at that double yellow line so you wouldn’t have to miss your turn or double back. I could go on – you know I could – but you get the idea.
The common theme for me is inconsideration. I’d have to say that all of my peeves boil down to that one trait. You leave your dog outside to bark all day while you’re at work or have your hearing aid turned off? Inconsiderate. Think you’re the self-appointed pace setter of the road and you’ll do 25 mph in the left lane neck-and-neck with a semi because The Bold and the Beautiful doesn’t start til two thirty or just because nobody has any business going faster than that? Inconsiderate. Do you butt into my conversation with the retail employee I’ve waited 10 minutes for just to ask “one quick thing” that takes several minutes and a call to management? Inconsiderate.
I have pre-judged the grandmother of one of Slappy’s classmates. She’s got a hulking physique, long bushy blonde hair that’s brighter than the first forsythia of spring, and is stuffed into an electric blue Ford Focus that is guaranteed to be in my way whenever I’m on school grounds. Last week she pulled away from school pick up, drove as far as the school’s entrance driveway, put on her right blinker, then apparently put it in park and opened her grandson’s backpack to read all the day’s happenings while a dozen cars waited behind her. If she’s the first one to the car line, she’ll only pull up as far as the “best” spot, right where the curb dips and the kids are let out, instead of pulling up to the beginning of the pick up area. Because you know how those five-year-olds hate to expend any more energy than they have to. God forbid they work off one of those Double Stuff Oreos she sent in because she’s that kind of suck up.
A couple of days ago, I arrived at school a little early from errands and there’s Brunhilde, parked in the sweet spot. As I pulled past, I saw that she was looking in her rearview mirror and plucking her chin with tweezers. MmmOkay, I could see noticing such things when one is alone, sitting in a car for half an hour with no social networking connection. Hey, maybe she gets there early just so she can attend to her beauty needs in the privacy of a schoolyard flooded with natural light. I don’t know, but after parking in front of her – at the beginning of the pick up area, thank you very much – and checking Facebook on my phone, I glanced up to the rearview mirror and she was still plucking. Sweet Jeebus, it must have been a chin hair emergency. Of course now I’m riveted and watch the whole grooming show. I guess she too was riveted by the sight of so many chin hairs glistening in the spring sunshine, because I can’t imagine doing that kind of thing in plain view of people you are certain to see again, yet the whisker work continued as cars pulled up all around her.
And I think that if you’re going to send Double Stuff Oreos on snack day and pluck your chin hairs in public and generally make a vehicular nuisance of yourself, for Pete’s sake make sure you do something spectacular at the end of the year picnic. Here’s to waiting and hoping.