What a Nice Guy by Phil Torcivia

Friday, April 15, 2011

Hurry Up and Wait


      I’m evil. I wish horrible calamities to befall people who are faster or slower than I am. What’s wrong with me? Sounds like I need a therapist. Yet, I find that others share my angst. What do I care if someone is in a hurry and passes me? I always hold the door for her, so she’ll always finish before me. What’s the rush? I can wait. No, I can’t. This requires further investigation.
      My affliction became apparent yesterday when the commuter train reached my stop. A man, around sixty, stood hunched in a wide stance within an inch of the door. He held the railing, preparing to launch himself out to the platform. As soon as the door opened, he sprinted to cross the tracks in front of the train before it left the station. (Note: A 60-year-old man sprinting isn’t a pretty sight. His dangling balls must have gotten in the way as he flailed his legs and arms.) The other passengers and I watched, laughed, and commented.
      “I think he’s retarded or something.”
      “No, he just wants to beat everyone out of the parking lot.”
      “I hope he falls and the train hits him.”
      “Ha, ha, ha.”
      “Let’s walk slowly when we cross the driveway and make him wait.”
      “Definitely!”
      During my drive from station, I heard the same internal dialog (which occasionally became external).
      “Hello? You just cut me off, fuck nugget.”
      “Oh my god! Put down the phone and drive.”
      “Why is this left lane always the slowest?”
      “Passing me on the right in your goddamn Prius, are you? This is a mortal sin for which you shall pay. I’ll downshift, pass, cut you off, and then slow down to annoy you.”
      “Where’s a cop when you need him? He’s speeding! Come on.”
      “If this were bumper cars I’d nudge that bastard into a spinout.”
      I notice the same impatience when waiting in line at Starbucks. If anyone in front of me orders more than one beverage or requires sufficient customization of said beverage, my internal tirade begins.
      “Dopio? What the fuck is a dopio anyway? Stop it.”
      “Can’t your lazy officemates waddle their bulbous asses down here and get their own goddamn coffees?”
      “Don’t you dare clog the line while you search for correct change.”
      “If you answer that call and hold the dangling mouthpiece to your yap, I will bite you.”
      “What are you making, Rembrandt? One packet and a few drops of white stuff should do. Stop with the dashes of powdered flavoring. You’re making a mess! Move, damn you!”
      How about the oblivious aisle cloggers at the grocery store? Can’t they detect my frustration as my cart and I stand idly by? Bertha stares at the shelves while her cart is perfectly centered, blocking both lanes.
      “Pull over, woman!”
      “Really? You’re comparing energy drinks. Guess what? They all have heaps of sugar and loads of caffeine and they are all equally bad for you. Grab the cheapest one and scram.”
      “Roughage is on sale in aisle one. Get going.”
      I finally escape to the deli counter, only to be treated to the next selfish nuisance. I was there first, but …
      “Who’s next?”
      I raise my arm, to no avail (just like high school). Pappy tramples me.
      “I’d like to taste the turkey breast.”
      “Ah, a fine choice. Here, let me cut you a piece.”
      Guess what it’s going to taste like, Harold: Turkey!
      “Wow, that is quite tasty. I’ll take two slices, please.”
      Two slices?
      “Here you go, will there be anything else?”
      “Yes. I’m in the mood for potato salad. Can I have a taste?”
      Think pleasant thoughts. Doves … angels … kittens … rainbows …
      “How’s this?”
      “You know? I don’t care for it. What types of ham do you have?”
      Why don’t you just ask for the type of ham you like? Do you not see me waiting here?
      “Well, we have these four and the smoked ham is on sale today.”
      Don’t you fucking dare ask for a …
      “Excellent. Could I taste the one on sale?”
      Kill me now.
      “Why sure. Here you go.”
      “Perfect. I’ll take a quarter-pound, thinly sliced.”
      Lo, as I walk through the valley …
There must be a drug for this. I need it.

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