Wednesday, March 26, 2008

retribution

Lately, I have noticed that I have been getting upset over little things and stewing over them for days. This isn't a typical "me" behavior. I am a pushover fairly laid back and can tolerate an enormous amount of BS. I won't say I don't get annoyed easily, but give me five minutes or distract me with a cookie, and I'm over it.

One of these incidents happened on Easter at a local eating establishment. Now, in our town, everyone goes out to eat. That's just the way it is. No matter how many restaurants we get, there will always be a 30-45 minute wait on any given Sunday at lunch - minimum. We knew Easter would be especially chaotic, so Hubby and I went to the restaurant early to stake out a table and wait for my parents. We may have jumped the gun a bit when we told them that mi familia was "right behind us" so that they would seat an incomplete party. It was 11:45, and they usually don't even leave church until 12:15. Consequently, we sat at our table for quite some time before they showed up. We were seated in one of those areas where restaurants like to crowd in as many free-standing tables as possible. This particular table was wedged in between the wall and two other tables, so no one had an exorbitant amount of elbow room or aisle space.

Along comes a family who is to be seated at the table that was squeezed in between the corner and the wall. Suddenly, I hear "can you move you seat forward?", and before I have a chance, I feel my chair being forcefully moved forward for me and my stomach being shoved into the table. I have to admit I was pretty shocked that someone found it socially acceptable to shove a stranger's chair. The perpetrator was a sulky, hefty girl in her twenties. Hubby seemed pretty surprised too, but he tried to diffuse my irritation by pointing out how all the women at the table looked like angry, unhappy people.

Soon my parents arrived, and we had a nice - albeit cozy - meal. While we were enjoying some after-dinner conversation, angry family got up, and without saying a word, sulky, hefty girl actually LIFTED UP the back of my chair and pushed it forward, squeezing me into the table like an orange into a juicer. Okay...like I said before, I am usually not one to get provoked, but I was ready to throw down. It took all the class I could muster to just sit there and not stand up, grab my chair, and bust it over the back of her head Jerry Springer style. But because I am a classy broad, (or at least try to act like one) I remained glued to my seat.

For the next two days, I could not stop being mad about this. And it made me mad that I let this girl make me mad. Why did I care so much? Why couldn't I just forget about it? I think I've finally figured it out, and it all stems back to my adolescence. No, no - stick with me.

Sulky, hefty girl reminds me of the girls who used to bully me in junior high. Granted, I looked like this...
but who isn't awkward at that age? Because I remember all the times that the ringleader, Cynthia, would be mean to me for no reason (like the time I accidentally sat in "her seat" on the bus, and she came up and said, "you've got five seconds to get up before I start punching") and how angry and helpless I felt, I guess that older me still has an urge to protect young, awkward me.

It's amazing how those humiliating experiences from your formative years can stick with you into adulthood. I am nothing like the insecure kid I was; however, I still have a scary amount of anger built up in me from 15 years ago. It's not like I was the only kid that those girls picked on, but at the time, it sure did feel like it. I guess I'll have to just take solace in the fact that those girls behaved the way they did was because of their own insecurity. It's just one big vicious circle.

12 comments:

Kelley said...

Good god man. I would have been hard-pressed to not swing at her myself, and I'm a pacifist.

You're one classy broad in my books. :)

mrs a santi said...

I understand the feeling. My husband is so seemingly quick to move on from one social interaction to another. I torment myself by reliving them over and over. In the end I am usually mad at myself for letting them get away with treating me badly. But I guess sometimes that's self-control. You won. She's the one who looks foolish. Great job keeping it classy.

Jennifer said...

Thanks, ladies! I'm glad I didn't sink to her level (but part of me still wishes I could smack her). I guess I'm human :)

Cynical Nymph said...

I swear this exact same thing has happened before. I think I may just ignore it a lot now that I'm in New York, because if you had a surge of anger come up every time someone did something rude like this, you'd just be angry about 50% of the time. Sometimes, though, I'll get caught off guard about something like this and just go on a MENTAL TANGENT OF ANGRYYYYYY! (... which my husband will usually have to listen to later.) Long story short, I know how you feel.

Cynical Nymph said...

I'd like to amend my previous comment thus: Most New Yorkers are plenty polite and friendly. I think it's just the higher density of people that leaves you exposed to a large NUMBER of a-holes, when really, it's the same PERCENTAGE of a-holes. I felt a need to point that out! But, ah, I do miss the South.

Melissa Menendez said...

I went through the same kind uff bully crap in my highschool, I think I too still have a part of me that was left angry about it. I think ignoring ugly, nasty provocations makes you a super stronger woman. It takes alot more to maintain class and one's happiness than to succumb to provocations by frustrated, stupid people. Good for you, Jennifer!

Jennifer said...

cynical nymph: I think I might end up homicidal if I spent too much time in NYC, although I think the city is fabulous.

mel: Thank you, honey. We didn't have to worry about petty crap like that in elementary school, did we? :)

David said...

This brought back so many repressed memories of me in grade school getting pummeled at the school gate because I was a) the smallest kid, and b) a non fighter.
I loved this, and thanks
david

Tootsie Farklepants said...

I know it's bugging you but you handled that situation exactly the way you should have. By doing nothing. If there's anything I've learned from Judge Judy it's not to confront someone who is clearly looking for confrontation.

Jennifer said...

David: I'm so glad you liked it. It's amazing how so many people from so many different backgrounds can have the same experiences. Thanks for stopping by!

Tootsie: That Judge Judy is a wise lady! Maybe I should start watching her. It helped that my parents were sitting across from me and I would hate to embarrass or disappoint them. And somehow, I think starting a fight at Texas Roadhouse might do just that.

kelsbog said...

Aww, I remember that sweater! Remember when we bought our flannel shirts at Gadzooks? Things got a lot better for me when we became friends. It was nice to finally have someone who "got" me.

Jennifer said...

Awww. And you still get me after all these years :)

P.S. I totally remember the Gadzooks flannels...and how we wore them to the theater to see "Reality Bites" for the 15th time.