A couple of weeks ago, a woman in the Philippines cut in front of a man waiting in line to buy a lottery ticket. As he was a gentleman, the man didn’t protest, he simply tolerated her intrusion and bought his lottery ticket after her… and ultimately won 17 million dollars. Here’s to a victory for politeness.
I know I’m not the only American, hell, the only world citizen repeatedly rolling my eyes at random acts of rudeness. In fact, there have been occasions when I did more than roll my eyes, I commented on the act out loud and sometimes directly to the offender. For example, one day at the lunch rush in a busy mall in Century City, a young office worker ran into me using his single slice of cheese pizza as a buffer. “You just rammed your pizza into my ass,” I said, more than a little pissed. He looked at me vacuously, then just as air-headedly walked away. “Thanks, Jerk,” I said as I dabbed at the triangular grease stain on my linen skirt. “Goddamn it.” As I was throwing my hissy fit, I inadvertently knocked a woman’s tray, drowning her silk blouse in Diet Coke. In a Three Stooges movie this is funny, at lunch hour in the middle of Los Angeles business cool, it is not. Suddenly, I was the vacuous jerk.
What I learned from the pizza fiasco and other similar incidents is this: there’s a fine line between being the victim of rudeness and the perpetrater. In other words, sometimes I need to be quicker to forgive and realize that patience and kindness begin with me. This is all frankly easier the older I get, not because I’m a wiser or better person; no, I’m just plain tired and too exhausted to fight. Plus, I no longer wear expensive and costly-to-dry-clean clothes. So, here’s to being an old, tired, sweat suit-wearing Mother Teresa. I may no longer be a young hottie, but I’m also not an uptight hothead either.