I’m fairly proficient at stepping into another man’s footwear, viewing the world through the stranger’s prism, as it were. In traffic, I assume the assholes on the road may be on their way to visit their hospitalized children or over-pregnant wife or imprisoned friend and that helps me through the insufferable hours. At the post office, I assume the behind-the-counter folks are as frustrated with my inability to fill out the Send To: sticker as I am with their inability to move at a pace that wouldn’t require a sundial to monitor, and perhaps they are more focused on their child’s failure to pay off a student loan and they’re double-shifting this un-respected job so their kid doesn’t end up with a bankruptcy attached to his credit score and suffer the rest of his life scraping by in some falling down apartment and hoping the Ramen prices don’t skyrocket on account of some oil-price-raising war in the Middle East, damn Turks.
So when I witnessed the following: fifty-something movie producer in blue Mercedes – S class convertible with the cruise control set on pretension – dropping his kid off at a golfing event and refusing to check his kid in, or pay for the event, or stop driving while other people walked in front of his car, or deal with anyone he considered lower on the social and materialistic food chain than his arrogant self, it just struck me as one of those “What the fuck happened to you?” moments. I know our Congressional hallways are filled with over-entitled human excrement and I understand that our society is experiencing a moral decline when it comes to humility. I’m even aware that affectation and airs are part of L.A. fashion the way douchebaggery and malodor are to the French. But you have to wonder how this guy started to believe it was ok to ignore social responsibility. Oh sure, one can speak of free will, of individual independence and the right to determine one’s actions. NO disagreement here. However, if the society is to function, we’re going to have to weed out the assholes that pollute the garden. Professional power and financial success doesn’t afford you entitlements. Perhaps your underlings cater to your whims, but this is the rest of the world and we have no interest in your self-importance.
The point here is that when the guy came back six hours later to pick up his unbelievably condescending offspring, I took a moment to let the air out of his tires, to lift a nearby dog offering onto his front seat, and to sit back to watch his rage. I now realize it’s the little things in life that make me smile.