Family and friends tend to chide me a bit. “You should have said this to her” I’ve been told. “Why do you let her push you around?” I’ve been asked. And then there’s the one about Aunt Helen directed to both H and me: “You and your brother need to grow balls.”

Bothered I’m not. As I’ve noted before: I’d rather be happy than right. And yet…

Sometimes I do stand up. Some days I flex my muscle. This week in particular, perhaps with an eye toward Festivus, I aired a few grievances.

Wednesday morning, for example:

I was standing in the courthouse Men’s Room — far left of four urinals — the three to my right distinctly unoccupied. Mid-process another suit ambles in, and in violation of every unwritten rule of mankind stands just to my right.

“Really?” I thought — before staring, glaring, and turning to wash.  (He seemed puzzled).                                                                                                                                                                                                                “Is something wrong?” he asked.                                                                                                                                                                                    Shaking my head in disgust, giving him Al Bogart’s “Why don’t you get a haircut?” grimace (circa 1970), I just dried hands and left.

—Or take the incident at the Cedar/Green Heinen’s:

There I was, heading left from the salad bar area, toward the cashier. From the far side with another cart came a guy about my age. It had to be clear to this schmuck (as it was to me) that if no one broke stride we’d hit the check out line at the very same time. Moreover, a quick read told me that the volumes of our respective groceries were pretty much equal…

So I kept my pace…not quickening, not slowing….

But this putz accelerated perceptibly, and grabbing the angle, cut in before me.

“What are you doing?” I shot incredulously.    “We both got here at the same time,” he smiled meekly. “What’s the big deal?”

(That mumser knew he’d sped up).                                                                                                                                                                                   “Are you kidding me?” I asserted. “You’re supposed to yield to the right!”

Turning his back, the man ignored me. Still, though signally aware I was that A) the world wasn’t coming to an end and B) a lot of staff members there knew I was with Carrie … so I shouldn’t make waves — EVEN SO …

Well –- as the saying goes “I was born at night, but not last night”…

Intently I watched as my “friend” checked out. About that time I’d noticed too that a prior customer had abandoned a large bag of Reese’s Pieces, leaving it at the point-of-purchase gum rack.

THIS was an idea whose time had come.

With a nuanced movement direct from The Bolshoi, I deftly slid the candy to the conveyor. Shortly, (as I thrilled), it was rung up, paid for, bagged and yes, exiting with my friend.

I was to remain in the zone…

Saturday afternoon I took Helen shopping. As I do these days I double-parked, walked her into the store, and then went to park the car.

Drivers in the Marc’s lot, you should know, are notorious for their propensities to go the wrong way.   So there I was… appropriately heading down a one-way aisle — when another car appeared, approaching me head-on at about mid-field. Pointing through the windshield, I gestured he was going the wrong way. Yet the clown wouldn’t move.

(Nor did this clown).

A few minutes passed … and I’m telling you that two minutes in that situation was a long time. He still wasn’t moving, and me? I dug in. (Fact was I relished this clear-cut opportunity to be 100% right.   Aunt Helen could wait, I figured. Heck: she was safe, warm and sitting inside…and besides: she was happy just getting out).

So there we were: two schmucks in a parking lot. I was right; we were stubborn; no one was moving!

Putting the gear in neutral, I popped the trunk. In the rear of the car, somewhere in that mess (I knew), were old books from our aunt.  Culling contents which may also have come from Fred Sanford’s truck, I uncovered (after a while), one large Hebrew picture book. Perfect! Seizing the volume I hopped back behind the wheel and, cover facing out, pretended to read.

From behind the pages I heard a car honk. (I can only guess it was him). A half-hearted toot it was — you know, the kind given when someone in front of you doesn’t realize the light has changed. Ignoring the horn a bit, I peaked out. Alas!  His car was moving. Backward.

Game. Set. Match.

I rejoined my aunt of course. And she scolded me, of course.

“What took you so long?  And why don’t you wear a hat in this weather?” she demanded. Apparently back on her game, she was about to volley again when the emotional carriage I’d been driving turned back into a pumpkin.

“I’m sorry,” I said. “I’ll wear a hat next time.”

(Then quietly the two of us — only one of us bearing balls — went searching for produce).

2 Responses to “STREET FIGHTING MAN”

  1. bob snyder says:

    Remember the Seinfeld where George and a guy sat for hours waiting for a parking space they both said they deserved?

  2. Up From Dysfunction says:

    YES, The one where George was preparing to parallel park and the jerk shot in behind him. George may be George, but he was definitely right about that one.

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