Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Garage, Leaves, Polish Dancing, the Library, and Research Billly Coffey Style: A Full Sunday Afternoon In Deed

(This picture isn't of the actual performance I saw, but the costumes look similar. There were lots of other costumes though, with lots of other dances. Click here to see the website of the group which performed, and pictures of some of their costumes.)

I had a great day on Sunday! We usually try to have someone care for mom once a week so that we can get out of the house together. We tried to keep it low key. We finished cleaning the garage well enough that my car will actually go in, took a ride through the forest preserve to the Des Plaines Public Library, where I was surprised to find that they had a special presentation of Polish dancers. They even did a czardas, as this region had been near enough to Hungary to be influenced by the dance and music. After the presentation, I roamed the library, picked out a book and some CD's, and met up with Bob. Then we went to Panera Bread for dinner.
That was not so much fun. Oh, the soup, salad, and sandwich half were great! It's just that while Bob went to the washroom, I ended up with an opportunity to do some research, Billy Coffey style, only I wasn't too impressed with what I was hearing.
Two young women, sophomores from a nearby university, were verbally making fun of a young man they considered awkward.
"He's always complaining about the food in the cafeteria. No body forces him to buy it!"
"He talks so loud!" (Unlike them, who I could hear at the next table without even trying...)
""He was like that in High School!"
"Someone should tell him nobody likes him."
"I'll tell him, I don't care..."
And other things that I don't care to recall. You get the gist.

It seemed from the conversation that the young man's crime was trying too hard. I suppose I saw it that way because I perpetrated similar crimes when I was in High School. I am not sure if by college, I had changed, or was surrounded by more mature people who were willing to put up with me until I was comfortable enough to let my guard down, and not try to impress anyone. I do know that when an acquaintance from High School started gossipping about me, my college friends put her in her place. (That'd be a story worth telling someday....Someone remind me when I complain on twitter that I don't know what to write about...)

I wanted so much to go up to those girls (I can't call them ladies) and give them a piece of my mind. But I didn't. I figured that they wouldn't listen to me anyway. And I was in the wrong for eavesdropping. I'm not particularly proud of this, but I did find another way to let them know how they sounded.

(My husband returns to the table.)
Bob: (concerned, because I usually don't greet him like that after a potty break) Is everything okay? Did something happen?
HRM: Oh NO! It's just that I was sitting here ALONE, with nothing to read or focus my attention on, and couldn't help but hear those two Caucasian girls' (there were two Asian girls talking to each other in a dfferent language nearby) to the left shallow conversation! I can't remember the last time I was subjected to such idiocy! They've been ripping apart some poor guy for being socially awkward. It must be nice to be so DANG perfect!
Bob: (slight smile) I think they heard you..
HRM: Good. Then maybe they have an inkling of what it feels like to be judged by someone who never even bothered to get to know them!

From the look on the face of the girl more or less facing me, I could tell that she heard me. Perhaps I handled this underhandedly, maybe even cowardly. My defense is that I was so angry, I could see a direct confrontation escalating to something really ugly, but would have been unable to live with myself that evening if I had not somehow say something.

What would you have done? It's okay to tell me that I should have filled my Diet Coke cup with ice, and thrown it in her face. It's also okay to tell me that I don't know the boy, and maybe he was worse than socially awkward. Don't worry. My friends have nothing to fear. I allow my friends the privilege of disagreeing with me, or even proving me wrong.


Candace Jean July 16 said...

A tract?

I don't know what I'd really do in that situation, because emotion tends to be the guiding force. If you heard the boy's first name, you could have casually said "Oh, I'm Johnny's aunt! You know Johnny?"

Then I'd have ordered another sandwich, because a half is never enough at Panera.

Ginny (MAD21) said...

Good for you, Helen. It doesn't matter that you didn't know who they were, or who they were talking about. It doesn't even matter that the boy would never know what you did for him. I'm glad you did something. Throwing your coke would have probably been less effective.

Hopefully it made the girls think about what they were doing.

jasonS said...

Ugh. That's a rough one. I remember in high school acting similarly to fit in. I always felt horrible afterwards because I really care about people who are rejected.

I don't know how I would have reacted, but I think your solution was pretty clever. I would love to say it made a dent and caused them to reevaluate their lives, but I don't know. It's a phase that they will hopefully grow out of.

At least it will probably teach them to be a little quieter! :)

Wendy said...

Have I mentioned how much I heart you, Helen? Bob, too, for going along with you. I think what you did was perfect. Truly. And I wish I had been there with a video camera. :o)

Sarah Salter said...

You go, Helen! That was quick thinking on your part! And yay to Bob for playing along and not trying to shush you!

Annie K said...

I can't stand smack talk like that. I probably would've dropped my coke on them.

And then repented.

Billy Coffey said...

My cowboy hat's off to you, Helen, because you handled that just the same as I would have. And I'll agree with Wendy. I heart you.

JML said...

Next time, just punch her in the kidney. I've been guilty of that before, and I've regretted it terribly. who are we to be like that, it's ridiculous! I think you're entirely right though, they wouldn't have listened, so you got your word in.