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  Its not me; it's everybody else...  
  My New Year's Resolution was to be more tolerant to people who try my patience. To be less sarcastic to those who I consider hopeless, slack-jawed, mouth breathing morons. To try to adopt a learning curve with people who aren't as jaded (actually, that's "realistic", actually...) as I am. My bright idea of a resolution to be a better human being lasted 11 minutes. As long as it took me to wake up on January 1 and realize I was out of coffee. This was an omen, and I should have known better. I got dressed, cursing myself for being a moron (how can I run out of coffee?!) and drove to the store.

I pulled into a parking space, ran in, grabbed a bag of Sumatra (coffee of the gods) and helped Hello How May I Serve You? Kevin L., the Check Out Guy, find the proper keys on the register to ring up the sales. I asked Kev if he ever used his "How may I serve you?" line to hit on girls, and he said no HEY! That's a good idea! Hahaha! Kev seemed to have a family of invisible weasels hammering at his head from his celebrations the night before ("Dude, they told me I'd be off today...then they call. I don't even know if I'm still buzzed yet or just really sick..." "Oh, Puh-leeze, Kev, I had to play Yahtzee with my Grandmother all night. You think you had it bad? Think again, sweety".)

I walked out to the car, wondering where 2004 went. A few pigeons twisted in a pack overhead and I wished I had a grenade. Eleven minutes of the New Me and so far all was fine.

Then I run into One of Them. A gum chewing, cell phone yammering, talons for fingernails, ring on every finger, Blue Eyeshadow, stuffed into Spandex, Lashes by Tammy Faye, Hyper-as-a-yappy-dog Woman. Holy water, garlic, stakes through the heart - none of this works. I've tried. Apparently she had pulled in next to me, incoming from the opposite side of the parking lot aisle so that she was on an angle, her headlight just about touching the side of my back tire. Then someone parked in back of her with about 2 microns to spare, boxing her in. She couldn't move until I did.

"Excuse me, is this y'alls car?" she yelled, pointing at my dear Beast with one of her talons as I walked up. "Yeah it is...problem?" Looking at the angle her car was on, I thought she had hit me. She was furiously chewing her gum, talking on her cell phone, and barking her schedule for the day at me to prove to the person on the phone that she indeed had The Asshole who was making her late quite chastised, thank you. Who the hell says "y'all" here? My radar went up. Like the Sentinels in "The Matrix", every piece of equipment I had came flying out to see what the hell kind of circus freak the gods had thrown at me this time.

"Can you move it? I'm in a hurry".

I was going to move it. I really was, I mean that's what you do when you go to your car in a parking lot after shopping. I even had my keys in my hand, and I think that's pretty much the Internationally Understood Signal for "I have my car keys in my hand so I can start my car and go". Remember that tolerance I spoke of, for my New Year Resolution? Well, I lied.

"I dunno," I replied sweetly. "Can I?"

I had a teacher who used to do this to us all in 6th grade. English teacher, you know. We had to use proper
speech. We had to speak with proper enunciation and inflection. Polished and intelligently. We had to sound like Richard Fricking Attenborough. You could die of uremic poisoning as your kidneys burst, standing there asking for the Hall Pass, unless you said, "May I please go to the rest room". Not "Can I...". If you said "Can
I"? the teacher would retort with, "I don't know - can you?" He'd let you stand there until you rephrased yourself, legs crossed and eyeballs floating if need be. It was one of those Teacher-Student pissing games, almost literally. And it was not "the bathroom", as there was no bath in it. Only vulgar peasants would make that faux pas. We were not at home. We couldn't just talk like we talked. It was the "rest room" or "the lavatory" (I once pointed out there was technically no lava in it. I think that got me two days' detention, but it was worth it.) I had waited decades to do this stupid-ass "May I/Can I" thing to someone else, so I was secretly thrilled that I got to say it to her. She wasn't amused.

I hope her New Year's Resolution hadn't been to Cut Back on Pottymouth Usage because she only lasted 11 minutes, too. She hung up her cell phone, hit the clutch on her gum chewing and went into a tirade about how she was from <fancy suburb> and every time she comes here, (two blocks past the official border of the fancy suburb) and has to rub elbows with the likes of us <potty word>, unwashed city maggots, something like this always ***** happens. Us being a bunch of ill mannered trash they ought to throw a wall around. And how dare I! If it wasn't for the fact that she ***** forgot to pick up a ***** coffee cake or something on the way to her G.D. sister's house she'd never stop here but the ****** bakery was closed and she is not a heathen like this very sister I am keeping her from this very minute, who shows up empty handed at people's ****** houses, even if her sister still did owe her $45 bucks from Christmas and then! and then! she should have just rammed my **** car out of the way and left but nooOOooOOooOoo this is what she gets for ****** being nice! Am I moving or does she have to go call the authorities?

I nodded slowly, faking concern and attention. I said "hunh!" once or twice. When she was done ranting, I shared with her that I didn't realize there were authorities on this type of matter. Are they vehicular or spatial authorities? Do they have to go to a special school? Is there a lot of math involved? Does it go by who has the more expensive car? The coolest stuff hanging from the rear view mirror? Who was there first? Commonly accepted parking laws and the ability to follow them? Who's taller? Cuter? More important socially? Who had a worse day? License plate poker? Paper Scissors Stone?

I asked all this in my calm, Vulcan-like "No, I'm really asking for my own personal growth" sarcastic manner that drives people insane. Which I thought really kind of could be still adhering to my New Year's Resolution of "trying to be less sarcastic to morons". Because I had made an effort not to use my usual calm, but slightly haughty sarcastic manner. There's a big diff here. It didn't work. She started pointing at me, jabbing the air with her talons for punctuation, and I was thinking that though she outweighed me by about 70 pounds, I was about 5 inches taller. I could place my hand on her forehead and hold her at bay if it came to that, but those claws swiping the air would get me all the same. I did have a deadly weapon on my keychain - an Etch-A-Sketch pen - and was wondering if it'd make her back off a bit if I casually flashed it at her or if it'd just escalate things. Eleven minutes Oh, why did I think this year would be different? All this before I even had my coffee? It's just not done. Everyone out here knows that. You do not mess with people until they've had their morning coffee. It's common, unwashed city maggot unwritten law.

Then her phone rang. It was her sister.

She gesticulated in the air and chewed that Yes, she was still at the store and was TRYING to get there, ******, but this stupid WOMAN wouldn't move her ****** car so she could. Her sister must have known her pretty well. All of sudden the talon lady looked up at the sky blinking furiously, sighed loudly, barked "FINE!" into the phone and said to me in a strained voice, "I'm sorry if I lost my temper. Would you please mind moving your car so I can leave?"

I said, "Sure! Happy New Year!" and in one swift motion, walked the 3 steps to the door, got in, started the car and drove away. I'm not sure she got the "car" out yet before all this was done.

I had to circle the lot to get back to the exit and saw she was still standing there, waving her arms in the air, still arguing with her sister on the phone. And someone else was wanting to pull into the space I just left but couldn't because of the Stupid Moron way she had pulled into her space, and the fact she was blocking it with her pacing, ranting self. They were honking at her to shut the hell up and move her ass, or car, or both.

I wondered how long it would take her to realize I had her coffee cake, which she had put on the hood of my car so she could answer her phone and flap her hands in my face at the same time. Yes, I'm too old to be this immature, but she's the one who told me how dangerous it is to come into the city.

 
 
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