Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Anger Management

Recently New York Magazine had an issue devoted to urban etiquette. For the most part I found that I fall in the polite category, though I am prone to being one of those annoying people talking on the cell phone while checking out at the CVS.

While it doesn't fall in the realm of etiquette, I get very angry at the super-trendy girls who insist on wearing cowboy boots in worst heat of the summer, though not as angry as I become when I see the egomaniacal idiot riding his motorcycle up and down Ditmars Boulevard with a stupid grin plastered to his face that I can easily see because his helmet is resting on top of his head.

Being annoyed by these things is completely logical and acceptable. But my supreme annoyance at some cell phone users is at the very minimum hypocritical. I consider my time spent using public transportation to be ideal for reading, which means that I want the equivalent of a library-environment whenever I am on the bus or train. However, this rarely happens. And from time to time, depending on my mood, I might just glare at the offending passenger who by merely speaking loudly has caused me to reread the same sentence three or more times.

Today, I learned my lesson. I was sitting on the bus, completely caught up in Paulo Coelho's new book The Devil and Miss Prym. Suddenly, a cell phone belonging to the man sitting beside me started ringing so loudly that I jumped at least eight inches. Once I landed back in the my seat, I gave him a glare I usually reserve for students who have just said something nasty. Couldn't he see that I was trying to read!!

Apparently not, because he had more important things on his mind. The one side of the conversation I heard:

"Yeah, I'm a little stressed out right now."

"I'm on my way to the court house. I avoided them for years, but now they figured out where I live."

"I know, I've been lucky. So I'm going to try to take care of it, see what happens. I hope you won't be visiting me in jail."

By this time I was, of course, pretending to be fully enthralled in the world of Paulo Coelho once more. In reality, I was sneaking glances at street signs, counting down to my destination.

I hope that the man saw my glare and was appalled by how rude I was to assume that it was my bus and should remain completely silent so I could read no matter what was going on in the lives of those around me. Then, to teach me a lesson, he took the phone call as an opportunity to poke a little fun at me and teach me to lighten up. If so, he did a great job.

If, however, he really was on his way to the courthouse and didn't mind advertising it to the many bus patrons this morning, I hope I don't spot him on the bus shouldn't be too hard to avoid him, from now on I really am keeping my eyes on my book.

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