For some reason lately, I’ve been unable—or unwilling, probably—to just let things go. Little things, you know? Snide comments (muttered or otherwise), intentionally irritating silences. The heat has made all us Saskatoonies foul-tempered, cranky, or irritable. Hell, I’m looking forward to the return of the rain. Depressed people are so much easier to deal with than bitchy ones.
Today, for example, I had an appointment at a car dealership I’d never been to, to repair a defect in my car—a defect that, the manufacturer was so kind to notify me, could have caused my car to malfunction and kill me at any time! What’s that? I’ve been driving an instrument of death all these months? Thanks for the warning, Unnamed Automobile Manufacturer Whose Name Rhymes With, um, Meep.
So, yeah. I wasn’t happy to be there in the first place, but I was and it wasn’t supposed to take long to replace the defective part and I had a coffee and a newspaper with the crossword puzzle I can do (it being Monday and all), so I wasn’t super unhappy either. Until I spoke to the receptionist. “Oh, this is sales, this is for the bigwigs [a statement that made no sense to me, either, in case you’re wondering—it was a new-car showroom, which, as far as I know, is for new-car buyers, bigwig or not]. Repairs is across the street.” She motioned in the direction I had come from, meaning that I’d either have to pull a U-turn in the middle of a busy six-lane street or go around the block—assuming it was as easy as all that, given Saskatoon’s penchant for one-way streets, and considering that the street was the one diagonal street in a traffic grid of otherwise perfect parallels.
“And how do I get back there?” I asked.
“Oh, just cross the street and the door’s over there,” she said.
“And you think I should just leave my car parked here? I shouldn’t drive it over? Even though I’ve brought it in to get this defective part replaced?”
“Um, I’m not sure. Maybe.”
“You’re affiliated with Meep?” She nodded in response. “I’m just wondering. I mean, I’m a Meep customer, and a Meep owner, and you’re not even trying to help,” I said as I walked away from her desk, toward the door.
“Hey, I like your bag,” she called after me. Parting shot, and I’d been Gershoned (see: Showgirls). Fuck, man. I’ve been meaning to find a new purse for ages; the one I’ve been humping around is coffee- and ink-stained—just awful. But now? Oh, I don’t even know. Stained bag or no, I will not be buying my next Meep from an establishment that hires such awful girls, but I hardly think that matters, since in the end what I really feel bad about is me, my response. I mean, she was unhelpful, but since when do I feel charged with the responsibility to point out personality flaws to flawed personalities? Presumably I had hoped to feel better having pointed out to the girl that she sucked, but in fact I left with the overwhelming feeling that I sucked. My life sucks. My fucking bag sucks.
This kind of thing has been happening all week. Like I said, maybe it’s the heat that makes me address these small quibbles that normally I would (probably) ignore, and maybe everyone else is even more of a diaperbag than usual because of their similarly caused physical discomfort. What’s important for me to remember, though, is not that everyone has bad days, or that we’re all human, man, or it’s all good, or, like, you know, karma, but that I have never mastered the comeback, making it very difficult for me to win any fight I’ve started.
In fact, what typically happens is this:
1. I make critical, sarcastic comment.
2. My opponent makes critical, sarcastic comment.
3. I run away / cry / run away crying.
I thought of a good comeback yesterday, actually—about 45 minutes too late to be of any use for the situation that birthed it, though I will be saving it for the next suitable application. It’s a long story, why I was arguing with the diaperbag down the street, so I’ll cut to the unused comeback, for the purposes of scaring off any of you who might otherwise be tempted to pick a fight with me (there’s more where this comes from, I’m sure, though I don’t know what, nor do I know where it came from): “Just so you know, sarcasm sounds ridiculous coming from the deeply stupid.”
You’ve been warned! I can come up with a somewhat-cutting response within one to two hours … so, you know, watch it!
In an effort to offset this heat-induced mass nastiness, and—more to the point—to spearhead my own idea-project (thus making me feel less sucky about myself, and my bag), I have decided to run an ad on Craig’s List for new life-cheerleading team members. I’m thinking that we would meet every month or so and cheer people on while they’re doing their thing. Like so:
Hey, hey, it’s okay / You don’t have to work today / Look busy! (clap clap) Just look busy!
Hey, hey, office jerk / You don’t have to go to work / Play hooky! (clap clap) Play hooky!
Hey, hey, cell-phone dick / Hearing the details of your pathetic life makes me sick / Talk quieter! (shh shh) Please talk quietly!
Or, around MLK and Lloyd, where the Mexican day laborers wait for work:
We would like to be your friend!
Gracias for coming
To our town
We can’t believe our pols and teens are acting like clowns!
You get the idea.
Prospective members may apply in person on Friday from 10 a.m. to noon. Men will be required to wear short skirts and are subject to sexual harassment by the management (me). Women may wear anything they like, as long as it somehow makes me look thinner.
Your sister in school spirit,