Saturday, March 21, 2009

Just Shut Up!

As you probably know by now, I am easily annoyed. The older I get the less patience I seem to have. I manage to conceal my irritation in situations where it would be imprudent to show it, but there are times when it is all I can do to keep from rolling up a magazine and hitting someone on the head! I think the fools that bring out the worst in me are the pretentious phonies. They are everywhere you look, for example, last night we went to the New York Historical Society on Central Park West to see the Civil War exhibit on Grant and Lincoln. The building also houses other interesting exhibits including some wonderful paintings.

As we proceeded through the wing of paintings thoroughly enjoying each one and admiring the talented artists who created them, my B.S. alarm suddenly went off. We had come up in the elevator with an older man and a younger woman, thin, blonde and PRETENTIOUS. She was having one of those loud, "look at me, aren't I smart" elevator conversations that make me cringe. The B.S. meter was entering the danger zone, and this was only on the ride up to the fourth floor!

I purposely walked the other way when we got off the elevator, hoping to avoid hearing that obnoxious voice again. We did OK for a while, passing through rooms of period furniture and everyday household items that I remember well growing up. (I guess since they are now considered collectible antiques, that probably makes me an antique too.) As we moved on to the art gallery and down a narrow corridor, I suddenly heard "the voice." It entered my brain like a knitting needle through my ear: "Look at their deportment Charles, they could come from the movie: Streets of New York." And sure enough, down the corridor was this hateful woman. As she droned on, we took off in full flight, needing to be anywhere she wasn't.

I wish I could remember when I developed such an aversion to pretentious people. It's probably the cumulative effect of individual incidents over the years rather than one single defining moment when I went from tolerance of these a**holes to pure malevolence toward them. Not to get too Freudian here, but it may have begun when I saw how certain people treated my mother. She was the very soul of tolerance, and always turned the other cheek when people took advantage or talked down to her. She would simply accept their rudeness and go on with business. For a while growing up, I was this way too. It just seemed like an easy way to get through life with no conflict.

At some point things changed. I began to rankle when I heard that superior tone in people's voices that implied they knew all there was to know. These people are at their worst in public places where they have an audience. You know them in a second...their voices rise above all others as they assert their superiority. My child is so special that they are head and shoulders above the other children in their class; If you had only converted your portfolio to cash when I told you this recession wouldn't have hit you so hard; I wouldn't drive anything but a Mercedez...I don't know why you don't get rid of that Buick.

Their habitats are elevators, restaurants, waiting rooms, anywhere there are other people to impress with how much better they are. Cell phones are their latest weapon; even if they are alone they can have these loud conversations proclaiming how great things are going. I think society should recognize what public nuisances these S.O.B.s are, and declare it perfectly acceptable conduct to approach them, tap them on the shoulder and say: "You know what, shut the f*ck up!" How great would that feel? People would give you a standing ovation. I feel better just thinking about it.

Sure, I can go into therapy, but it's much more fun being crazy.


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2 comments:

The Whiner said...

Ah, yet another trait I've inherited...intolerance of fools. You know how I feel about those types; can barely control my contempt and annoyance around them. I agree...we should be allowed to tell them to F### off, AND also be allowed to do one of the following with their cell phones:
1. Stomp on it until it's crushed to bits
2. Hurl it into the parking lot with all the stregnth you can render
3. Hit them over the head with it

Did someone say something about therapy?

Jim Pantaleno said...

Maybe we can get a family rate.