As we roll steadily towards Christmas we must pause to acknowledge the universal desire of this season. From the time we were children we were instructed that this is the time when we yearn for peace on earth, and good will towards men. (I am sure we can expand that to include everyone). We are regaled with stories of soldiers in distant lands in past wars laying down their arms and engaging in acts of brotherhood with enemy soldiers. Strangers, anonymously making monetary donations to others for the sheer reason that they can. Families, some of whom are going through tremendous interfamilial trauma turning rejecting the mindset of victimization and handing olive branches to wayward members.
Then there is the s@#t that I’ve seen this year.
Last week, as many of you know I was on a flight back from Florida with Kavon. We were separated by a couple of rows and we both had middle seats on the leg from Dallas to Orange County.
Next to me against the window sat a typical middle age businessman. When the flight reached the appropriate altitude the familiar two chimes range out and we both reached for our lap tops. The person in the seat in front of him decided to recline his seat…not by much, but enough that my neighbor decided to recline as well.
Well… the person in the seat behind him was going to have none of that.
What followed was an altercation that involved the malcontent behind us banging on my neighbors seat when his demands that he raise his seat up were not acquiesced too. (Evidentially the gentleman behind us was not used to people refusing his demands). I debated on getting involved… after all this was between my neighbor and the person directly behind him. After the first bang on the seat, my neighbor hit the call attendant button and let the flight attendant deal with the malcontent.
She counseled the individual behind us that his behavior would result in the Captain getting involved if he continued. He evidentially thought that would be a poor conclusion to this encounter and apologized. We did not hear from he again during the flight.
I remember thinking to myself: “Who does this?” The level of arrogance required to demand that someone… a stranger… forego what they are entitled to for the singular benefit of the requester when there is no extenuating circumstances is beyond my comprehension. That, and the fact that this guy had no idea who he was engaging with. For all he knew my neighbor was suffering from a mental condition and was just as prepared to acquiesce as he was to stab him in the throat with his pen.
Then we had the McDonalds event from last Wednesday.
I had gone to the drive thru to pick up lunch for Sandy and myself. It was about 11:30 and the line had already started to form. This particular McDonalds has the potential to enter the drive thru either from the back of the building, or straight in from another part of the parking lot. Kinda hard to explain… but basically the “line” of cars can enter from two places forming a 90 degree angle.
Anyhow… there was a woman at the order box and then me directly behind her. Behind me was a white cadillac entering from the back of McDonalds, and another car coming in from the other direction. I could sort of instinctively tell that both were jockeying for the space behind me. For some reason that escapes me, since I could not see the driver in the other car (not the cadillac) I felt that it was being driven by a woman.
In any event, as I moved forward I saw in my mirrors both cars lurch forward. Then the driver of the cadillac got out of his car and started screaming at the driver of the second car. This guy looked to be about 5’9”, bald and about 220lbs.
He was lit.
“Move your f@#ing car! I was hear first!”
He then walked up to the other cars driver side window.
Again… for some reason I am thinking that this other driver is a woman.
Now, I consider myself to be somewhat of a feminist. No… scratch that…I am a humanist. I have been blessed to have been surrounded by extremely strong woman throughout my life. Starting with my Grandmother and working down two generations to my own daughters, each woman in my life has been anything but a lilting flower.
That said… I still have vestiges of chivalry in my DNA… and when I see a woman being victimized it tends to take me over the edge.
I opened the door to my truck and got out. Turns out I was wrong. The second driver was not a woman. He was a smaller thin man, sitting in his vehicle not looking at his assailant and clearly terrified of the large man standing next to his vehicle screaming at him.
Then the first driver pounded on the second drivers window and door.
“Hey! Bud… just so you know… there are a ton of cops in this parking lot right now. You are in the process of making a life changing mistake.”
“He cut in front of me!!!”
“Yeah… I get it… but is it worth it?”
The first driver looked down and walked back to his cadilac.
As I went through the McDonalds I started thinking about both of these events. What causes these people to do these things? I totally get that people can get pissed off at other people. That is kind of part and parcel of the human condition. But people have no idea about the background and the condition of the people that pissed them off. What if the guy on the plane had just found out that he had lost his wife to cancer? What if the driver of the other car had just murdered his entire family and had a weapon with him in the center consul?
Discretion is 99% of the time is the better part of valor.
For those of you who have been through our CCW class, reflect on the story I talk about with Charles and grandfather driving the gold Oldsmobile. I am sure you remember it. Charles has the skill sets and ability to destroy the abusive grandfather. Instead Charles simply moved to the side of the road and let him pass.
When I tell you “if you go to guns, you’ve lost”, it is typically stated in the context of you being the victim of an aggressor. I should not have to say this… but NEVER be the aggressor yourself!