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“People Ain’t No Good” (and I’m no better or worse than the rest)

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I live out in the desert. The beautiful Mojave desert to be exact, not too far from where it joins the Great Basin to the NE and the Amargosa Desert to the NW. Living in such a place affords one the luxury of easily escaping the rat race and finding unhindered and peaceful solitude, unending panoramas of vast nothingness, and some undeniably beautiful sunsets à la those that grace such cornball magazines as Arizona Highways (usually found at reception room of a dentist office).

Living in the city necessitates these trips to the middle of nowhere once in a while, if not just to collect one’s thoughts and, for lack of a better term, to just plain “Chill Out” sometimes. I like the Human Race as a whole (despite my own common sense telling me differently sometimes) and have no real problem with mankind at large. But sometimes, weellllllll, people just ain’t no good. They can be real f**kin’ a-holes. Period. Point blank. No BS and no other way to put it jack. Just plain ol’ f’**king a-holes. And yes, that does include the narrator of this little tale before you right now, my friends….

This was driven home the other day in a most crystal clear way.

I was minding my own, sitting outside at a Starbucks (hey, it’s close! and their coffee ain’t too bad) reading (The Vodou Quantam Leap by Reginald Crosley, M.D.) and enjoying some iced espresso when a couple young kids of maybe 8 or 9 years of age approached me. They were looking to sell some candy (for an orginization that organizes children’s sports leagues at local parks or something similar) when they asked me if I wanted some. I told them no but said, “Thanks, good luck, etc.” and bought them an Italian soda to split. It was right about 105 degrees and they had been walking all day I’m guessing, so I figured it was something nice I could do for them. I remembered being in the same boat selling some kind of candy for Little League a few centuries ago.

So, the little candy hustlers thanked me for the soda and went and sat down. When they were done they made the rounds of the outside tables, greeted with mostly, “No thanks, no money,” and indifferent shrugs. They approached this woman a couple of tables over from me. She was heavily tanned, dressed casually but $$$, and looked like a rich suburbanite alcoholic. She was probably a trophy wife twenty years ago but now drank and took pills to fight the boredom of having money and nothing to do. When one of the kids approached her table she practically hissed at him: “Did I come bother you? Leave me alone. Don’t you know how RUDE it is to interrupt someone? Don’t you have ANY manners at all?” I’m thinking to myself “Jeezus, ease off, Toots, the kid’s pushing maybe 8 years old.” In all fairness, living with the desert heat where you can go weeks at a time with temps well over the century mark will leave the pysche in a constant state of irritation, and little things can set you off fairly easily.

But this broad was just plain rude and snotty and making a production out of this. The kid eased away from here as one would back away from a poisonous reptile. Slowly, carefully, and keeping an eye on her indirectly lest she strike. The poor little dude’s partner unknowingly approached the same table with his sales pitch. And THAT is when the sparks flew. She just tore into this kid almost at the top of her lungs as conversation in all directions ceased to a murmur. She told this kid to, “Go to tell your goddamned mother to buy your shit! I’m not bothering you, why in the hell can’t you have any manners! Stop bothering me you brats! I’ll call the fucking police if you don’t get the hell outta here. Can’t you you read what that fucking sign says ??? No Loitering! Etc.” She just launched on these little goofs. I felt soooo bad for them. Needless to say they bailed, and quickly, I might add. I would have if I was their age.

After I finished my coffee and calmed down, I passed by her table and stopped right in front of it fumbling with a cigarette. She flashed a flirty smile and thought I was probably going to ask her or someone in their party for a light, I think. Rather, I told her what completely out of line fucking bitch she was in no uncertain terms. Only I didn’t say it as nice as that. Her jaw dropped to her ankles as I do not think she had ever been addressed like that. She was speechless. Dumbfounded. In a state of shock, even. I left her sitting there sputtering, trying to get a word out, but she couldn’t. The folks who had witneesed the event from beginning to end were either indifferent or had these little smirks that said “I don’t blame ya.”

Do people such as this think that because they have some higher degree of social standing and financial insulation that everyone else around them is a peon, a slave, someone who will eat shit and like it? And know to keep their mouth shut unless they want to get in trouble or fired? Whatever the case may be. Jeeeezus Christmas!!! Lord have mercy upon the unsuspecting Girl Scout foolish enough to knock upon her door. “Do I want to buy some cookies? Do you want to buy a ticket to the emergency room you little green bitch huh? Do ya, HUH?!!!?”

These kids were obviously economically disadvantaged. Out walking the streets in triple digit heat trying to sell candy so they can get some decnt uniforms or better equipment or whatever it was that they needed badly enough to be out working in this heat. They could have been swimming at the public pool or playing video games under the A/C. Obviously, they were not bad kids. Well-spoken, polite, not pushy with their sales pitch. Decent little kids by all appearance. I could be wrong, but regardless, they were undeserving of the shitty behavior of the woman I’m talking about.

I’m not naive nor am I overly idealistic. The world is full of people suffering from severe cases of full blown “Assholism.” People that wrongly think that there are no consequences for their reprehensible behavior. In this so called “civilized” world of ours, I thought that we had at least come to a point that behavior such as was exhibited was socially incorrect and that it was an acknowledged fact amongst adults that you just do not act like that. Period.

For the record here, I’m not particularly proud of what I did or what I said to this über-beeyotch. Then again, on the other hand, I’m not going to sit around and shed too many tears about it either. I realize that by jumping on her case they way I did, I more or less brought myself to her level, which is what has me a little peeved. But if that’s where the battle must be fought, then so be it. Judging by the stupid, slack jawed, and utterly amazed look on her face when I walked away she will probably think twice before she throws another bitch fit in public. Which is all that matters to me as I won’t be seeing her and her ilk anywhere else.

Edited: bhw

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  • Bennett

    One Rude Bi-otch at a time. It’s all we ask of you, Harold.

    Salut!

  • H.W. Saxton

    Danke Schoen,Bennett. I felt a little conflicted after this happened so I blogged it to get it out of my system.

    I live right on the edge of a fairly wealthy suburb (just moved there recently) and I have seen more rudeness from wealthy people that I thought would have the manners and couth to treat people with a little dignity. But it’s just the opposite.A ruder buncha snotty f***s I’ve never seen in my life.
    They are rude to everyone unless your driving an ’05 vehicle and wearing your status on your sleeve. I used to live in a normal working class neighborhood that was a little funky around the edges but the people were about 100 times nicer and more accomodating than any of my new neighbors are. I’ve seen the guy next door to me about 10,15 times since I moved here a couple months back and have never even been acknowledged by the guy beyond a little nod of the head despite saying Howdy! to him a couple times. Weird people. And someone keeps taking my Sunday paper from my driveway. If I ever wake up before Noon on sunday I’ll get that guy.

  • http://gonzo-marx.blogspot.com gonzo marx

    HW…might i suggest a rabid pit bull with
    AIDs?…they go a long way towards keeping neighbors off your lawn

    just a thought

    Excelsior!

  • H.W. Saxton

    Gonzo, If it’ll keep my paper where it belongs it’s worth a try.

  • http://www.immafooker.com Brooke Lee

    Since when has the Mojave Desert ever been beautiful? Can’t possibly be the one I’ve rode by all these past years.

    She was just afraid the kids were after her Xanax.

  • http://victorplenty.blogspot.com Victor Plenty

    If people won’t bother to be civil, fuck ‘em. Thanks for conveying this message on all of our behalf to someone who desperately needed to hear it, HW.

    Also I must commend you on your lead book link selection. Elmo sipping tea with pinky extended is a perfectly surreal image in the context of this story.

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com andy marsh

    maybe it is the heat…when I lived in AZ…I used to see this attitude every once in a while…I always thought it was because I lived in between two retirement communities…maybe it was both!

  • Nancy

    No…HW is right: it’s the wealth. I live in the DC area, surrounded by loads of the VERY wealthy & upscale, who in turn are surrounded by even more loads of the barely hanging on, trying to stay afloat in an area that charges whatever the market will bear, and where there are, in effect, no recessions, because the rich & powerful always gravitate to DC. I work w/a lot of both types (public service position). I can make the general statement that for the most part, the rudest, most arrogant people I’ve ever met are those w/money. They have an outsized sense of entitlement that lets everyone else around them know that these rich people consider everyone else trash, to be used & abused by them as they see fit. It really makes me hope & wish that the Hindu hypothesis of karma & reincarnation appropriately in the next life is correct; they’ll find their future existences a loooong round of lives as a gila monster or maggot – & aware of why.

  • H.W. Saxton

    Thanks to all who read and responded. And those who just read as well. Brooke, I guess the beauty of the Desert is an acquired taste. Yes it’s barren and vast. The beauty of it is very subtle. The mountains are primordial looking, great outcroppings of strangely shaped bright red rocks bursting up out of nowhere in direct contrast to all the gray,brown,beige of the desert floor,the Joshua trees, different types of cacti, indian petroglyphs, remnants of old ghost towns, the sky is soooo blue and the sunsets and sunrises are spectacular sometimes. I like it but I enjoy very minimalistic art as well. The less is more theory and all that. It’s not appealing to everyone by any means.

  • H.W. Saxton

    Thanks to all who read and responded. And those who just read as well. Brooke, I guess the beauty of the Desert is an acquired taste. Yes it’s barren and vast. The beauty of it is very subtle. The mountains are primordial looking, great outcroppings of strangely shaped bright red rocks bursting up out of nowhere in direct contrast to all the gray,brown,beige of the desert floor,the Joshua trees, different types of cacti, indian petroglyphs, remnants of old ghost towns, the sky is soooo blue and the sunsets and sunrises are spectacular sometimes. I like it but I enjoy very minimalistic art as well. The less is more theory and all that. It’s not appealing to everyone by any means.

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com andy marsh

    HW – she needs to see a copy of AZ Highways!

  • http://ideaplace.blogspot.com Randy Kirk

    I’ve lived in WLA (Santa Monica, Westwood, Culver City, and now Inglewood, for the past 39 years. I have traveled among the wealthiest in America. Because of my organizational relationships, I also have plenty of opportunities to talk to, know casually, or be friends with folks who are middle class, just above the poverty line, and stepping in and out of homelessness.

    My two best friends are millionaires many times over, and they are so charming, humble, and unassuming, you would never know they had money. Most of the folks in my neighborhood are just as nice as can be. Really kind.

    Shockingly, I know poor, really poor folks who are the salt of the earth. Someday I’ll do a post on Lizzy. The gentlest sole I know who owns nothing.

    Rudeness, bad behavior, attitude problems. Yep! At all levels. No distinction. It may just look worse on the well-to-do.

    The idea that the rich are different than you and me or the poor is just plain biggotry. But its ok to be biggoted towards them. They’re rich.

  • H.W. Saxton

    Andy, I totally agree. We get some of the most spectacular sunsets out here in the desert that you could ever be privileged to see. If you lived in AZ then you know what I mean. I love the desert Southwest of Nevada,Arizona,New Mexico and Utah.

    Where did you live in AZ.??? I used to spend a lot of time down in Tucson with my relatives there. If I could I’d move there it’s one of the nicer towns in the Southwest. And you can’t beat the Mexican Food. If you like that stuff that is.

  • http://gonzo-marx.blogspot.com gonzo marx

    Randy sez..
    *My two best friends are millionaires many times over, and they are so charming, humble, and unassuming, you would never know they had money.*

    as long as we are being anecdotal here..

    i spent the first few years in New England, repairing televisions in home…it was the begining of surround sound home theatre, and big screen projection TVs were catching on due to the prices becoming reasonable and the technology more stable…for the record, i was the first person north og Boston to be certified on High Definition and Plasma televisions, when they werre just hitting the market..

    this is relevant to show that i visited many different kinds of homes in my work…from a wicked nice gentleman living on the side of a New Hampshire mountain in a trailer, his own generator and satellite as well as cell phone…he worked fixxing anything with a motor for the “rich flatlanders” that came up to the White Mountains for skiing and such…and as different as folks living near Walkers Point (the Bush family compound) on the shore in Kennebunkport

    after 6 years doing this, my findings showed definate patterns of behaviour…with exceptions, of coruse…but the vast majority fit into a statistical pattern

    working folks up to the “middle” class were almost universally polite, offered coffee/soda…about 50% conversational, paid their bills when presented without question…and either thanked me when i did “extras” like programming the VCR, hooking up their system properly , programmed one remote to handle all functions, etc….wiht about 25% actually offering a tip, or lunch after such “extras” were done (i declined.. doing the task well was enough to make me smile)

    the “upper” middle class homes went about 50-50 between very polite and casual dismissal…sometimes complained about timing of return appointments after parts had been procured, and occasionally about the bill for services…only about 10% offered any kind of hospitality, 75% expected all the “extras” as a matter of course, but did not want to have to pay for the extra cabling, splitters etc…

    as for “rich” folks…these fell into two, distinct categories..

    “new” money folks ran about 1/3 enthusiasts and hobbyists…to them, i was a visiting “wizard” and they wanted to talk shop with varying degrees of understanding and knowledge…frinedly and polite, they wrote checks for the bill without question or quibble…about 1/3 were casually indifferent, credit card called in to the office, and about 1/3 verged on or were in the “rude” category to various degrees

    “old” money..only about 10% enthusiasts…about 30% dealing completely with household “staff”…about 10% indifferent, 20% polite and professional and approximately 30% in the “rude” category..usually blaming me personally for whatever it was they faulted the equipment for…many times, operator error…and shocked if they had to pay for anything (warranty doesn’t cover a housecall when they have..oh..turned the brightness all the way down, or hooked something up wrong, etc..)…a significant either not wanting to pay, or insisting an “account” be set up for billing

    just some experiences…but very close to what i Observed when i owned an arcade on the jersey shore…skewed there by a larger percentage of “new” money…

    your mileage may vary

    Excelsior!