Tales from 95: A Not-So-Short Note on the Loss of Civility of Discourse within our Western Culture by TJ Alexian

Topic: Travel

It had been a lovely day at Universal Studios, full of rides and food, walking and. . . well, chafing. The third and last in a string of three blissful days.

So, the four of us—me, Corb, and the two kids, Ashes and Theo—were walking out of the Persian area, after eight long hours. We’re tired, we’re ready to head on home. And so we passed by this 40-year-old woman with brunette hair who’s on the. . .well, on the far side of zaftig. She was standing with a friend and had a four-year-old child by her side. And we realized–too late–that she’d been busy taking a photo of the attraction next to us, a statue with a ring of fire in it.

Corb was the worst offender, because he stands six foot four. And a second later, after he passed, we heard her say, loudly, “Thanks a lot, asshole!”

All of us stopped in our tracks, not quite believing what we had just heard.

Calmly, Corb turned to face the lady. “What did you just say?”

The woman looked Corb over, a little surprised, I think, that he had the nerve to confront her. “You walked right in front of my photo,” she said, angrily.

“I did, and so did three hundred other people, all looking at the same thing,” Corb replied. “It was a mistake.”

“Oh, nooooooooo.” The woman shook her head, convinced of his intent to deliberately ruin her photo. “You walked right in front of me.”

Corb smiled. “Oh right. I was walking down and all of a sudden I saw you, and thought to myself, ‘How can I ruin that lady’s photo?'”

Brief aside: Corb is REALLY usually pretty good about that. I can’t tell you the number of times he’s pushed me aside and told me to hold off because someone’s in the middle of taking a photo.

In the meantime, I had been trying to walk away with my 17-year old daughter, who is mortified beyond belief about the whole thing. But at this point, I will confess, I did turn around. Now, maybe you know me. I tend not to be as calm as Corb usually is. And I must confess, friends, I did not at this point handle myself in as gentlemanly a manner as would be appropriate with a lady of such obvious breeding and manners. Instead, knave that I am, I walked back to where Corb was quite nicely holding his own, and I and said, as loudly as her first comment, “Sorry your shot was messed up, bitch!”

Then, I placed my kid gloves back on and headed away from the theater of war.

“Oh, my goodness!” said the woman, suddenly shocked and appalled, and sounding a little like Sarah Palin. “You just shouldn’t be using language like that.”

Corb smiled at her, pointedly. “No, you really shouldn’t.”

The woman grabbed her daughter’s hand. “You shouldn’t be making scenes like that, especially in a park for children.”

Corb’s smile grew wider and deadlier. “No, you really shouldn’t.”

“Why. . .why. . .” The woman glared at Corb, her eyes tiny little slits. “Why, I have half a mind to call my husband over here to beat the shit out of both of you.”

Corb, towering over her, smiled even more and leaned in to her. “Bring it on.”

“Why. . . why. . .” And with that, Corb turned to take his leave. “I think this sort of behavior is just disgraceful,” she called after him. “You’ve probably been drinking all day. . . at a family park!”

At that point, because it was just so ridiculous, and because she sounded so pious, Corb slowly turned back around. “Now that one makes a lot of sense,” he said. “So I’ve been bar-hopping at Universal, have I, drinking with a 14 year old?”

“Well. . . probably,” she sputtered, and then, started to shoo Corb away. “Just go do. . . whatever it is you’re doing.”

Now, listen. I am perfectly willing to admit that perhaps the woman didn’t intend for her comment to be quite as loud as it ended up being. And, I’m willing to also admit that my comment was ill-timed, and it would have been best not to fight fire with fire, but to simply let Corb do his thing. And also, I confess that I do not know her back story–perhaps she was terrifically tired, too, and had been pining all day for that one perfect photo of that fire statue that would bring meaning to her otherwise miserable, drab existence. Or perhaps the poor lady suffered from Tourette’s syndrome, and could not help her unfortunate ejaculations.

That being said. . .

If you’re going to have the nerve to be so obnoxious, the very least you can do is to own up to what you’ve done and not pretend that you didn’t start things. It’s a bit hypocritical to suddenly try to play the “I have a child card” after you’ve been the one using “vulgar language.” And, just a bit too late, since you’ve just used “vulgar language” in front our our children, too, not to mention all the other kids in the area.

Also, if I may be so bold, don’t threaten to bring your husband in to fight your battle. Corb was in no way going to threaten this lady physically, and had not even used one speck of bad language with her (that all came from me). Furthermore, he had a 14-year-old boy by his side. Yes, I will grant that he is six foot four and looked intimidating, but it’s doubtful that he was really going to do anything to justify bringing in her other half. Violence was not going to ensue.

Finally, I thought it was interesting that her friend didn’t say a word during the entire conversation. My guess is that this woman is probably a little bit aggressive most of the time, and it’s quite possible that her friend was happy to see her finally get what was coming to her. Which she certainly did, with Corb taking the lead.

Sigh. Such is the state of civility within our Western culture. Two groups ready to go to war over a spoiled photograph. It kind of boggles the mind.

So, when she turns that photo over to the FBI and a massive manhunt ensues, now you know our side of the story.

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