I get tired of the high road. It's hard to be the one who consistently acquiesces when confronted with bull-headed assholedom. I preach it to my students. I am it day after day.
But today was not that day.
My complex has what is virtually a one-way road to the street. Today, a "gentleman" decided to park his car right in the middle of it while he unloaded his vehicle. This neither disturbed me nor made me think twice. There were tons of spots, some of which were mere feet from where he parked his car.
Weird, but I'm sure he needs to be there.
I get into my car, start to back up, and simply decide to wait for him to finish being completely self-centered. Take your time, I think. I'm not in a hurry.
In the midst of totally not bothering him, looking at him, smelling him, he starts to get flustered. He starts glaring at me, shaking his head, and continues to raise his voice while he retreats into his car. I am intrigued. As soon as he closes the door, he clearly starts YELLING AT ME (although I can't hear him because he didn't do this until he got into his car) and gesticulating to the point where I thought he might throw his back out.
On a normal day, I would give an apologetic gesture, a wave, a smile, and simply make him aware that no one was at fault here. This was some sort of interpersonal misunderstanding. I would make everything ok.
But, like I said, this was not that day.
I roll down my window and scream so he can hear me through his car door:
WHAT? WHAT? I CAN'T HEAR YOU! And cup my hand in a c-shape behind my ear.
Now there have been few (very, very few) instances where I have engaged someone like this in my life...but what I have noticed, and what held true again today, is that people are generally pussies, and all you really have to do is stare at them, and they will back down. So this day, that is what I did. I just stared at him with my hand behind my ear until he eventually stopped yelling and sheepishly rolled down his window. At this point, I explained:
Look, man. I'm not in a hurry. Just take your time.
To which he then starts to explain how he only wanted my spot (or the spot behind me) and was trying to get into it but couldn't because I was in HIS way.
The fact that I found this ironic, a lie, or utterly ridiculous when there were ten other spots right in front of him, was of no importance, but I again did not let my gaze leave his eyes. He would look to the spot, to his steering wheel, to his hands, to his watch, and every time he looked up, there I was...
What would you like me to do? Would you like me to pull forward so you can park?
Yes and he hurriedly rolled his window back up.
Mid roll, I caught his gaze and he froze. His window half open, I explained: I will pull forward. Just don't yell at or get angry with me for no reason. I felt like I was talking to one of my students.
He paused, and continued to roll up his window.
SO...why write this? Who cares?
It wasn't until later that I thought "What if today were his day to pull out a gun and shoot someone...even though he normally doesn't do stuff like that."
Luckily...today was not that day, either.