Choking on Your Own Self Righteousness

Friday was an epic adventure, a whirlwind trip to Willits, a prolonged comedy of errors with the rental car company, a sitting in the doctor’s office for hours, and a long soak in a Silky Pagoda Bath at Bamboo Garden Spa, something which was sorely needed by the end of the day. Although I hopped into a car and drove back to San Francisco immediately afterwards, which did somewhat reduce the effects. Cap’n Raspberry seemed to enjoy it immensely, though.

At any rate, one episode in the comedy on Friday sticks with me. The Cap’n and I were in the Transbay waiting for the 108 to take us to the Island so that I could pick up paperwork and we could dash back into the City with it. As was his wont, the Cap’n was nursing a toxic flaming cylinder of paper and weeds, along with another older gentlemen. We were neutrally conversing well out of the way of other people waiting for the bus and general human life, when a very aggressive and very rude man stormed over to us.

“Can’t you fucking read! You see that big sign over there?! Yeah, it says ‘NO SMOKING.’ You assholes should fucking MOVE.”

Now, the thing is, I don’t like smoking. I think it is foul and disgusting, and I fervently wish that most of my friends did not engage in it. Alas, my opinion is not a factor in their personal choices, so I do my best to just tolerate it. I move upwind, I leave, whatever. I figure my scene out. Sometimes I will politely ask someone to move, especially in a public place where I feel like their smoking is infringing my ability to live. However, most of the time, smokers are aware that they are completely disgusting, and they tend to cluster in one location, allowing the rest of us to do our own thing.

I really try not to be self-righteous about smoking. I have better things to do, and I’m sure I have habits which disgust other people. For example, I like peanut butter and pickle sandwiches.

At any rate, the Cap’n and the older gentleman said “oh, pardon us,” and moved almost out of the Transbay altogether. I shook my head at the thought of fussing over cigarette smoke in a huge structure filled with buses farting out exhaust, and pulled out my book while I waited for them to return. The guy with the attitude problem continued to storm around, kicking various items in the Terminal and generally looking like he was spoiling for a fight.

Then, another younger man came up the entry, mindlessly smoking a cigarette. He moved to the side and out of the way, and pondered the bus lane waiting for the 108 to show up. Only moments later, the guy with the attitude stormed over again:

“What’s your FUCKING PROBLEM, ASSHOLE? Can’t you READ? I don’t like smoking! I think it’s gross! You should go SOMEWHERE ELSE.”

The Cap’n and the older man were just returning, and they paused in amazement to survey the situation.

“Oh, I’m sorry,” said the younger man. “Am I bothering you? I apologize.”

But the thing is, the guy with the attitude was blocking him in, so he couldn’t move. He tried to go to the right, and the guy moved to block him.

“Why don’t you put that out, YOU JERK,” he said.

The guy dodged to the right, and the attitude problem moved with him. Behind me, an African American woman was waiting for the bus, calming checking her voicemail.

“What’s your fucking problem, BITCH,” attitude guy suddenly said.

I started, because I don’t take kindly to being called a bitch. Then I realized that he was talking to the African American woman, who was sassing him right back, to her credit, while the confused younger gentleman made a run for it.

“Hey, why are you talking to me like that,” she said.

“I’ll talk to you any way I want.” attitude problem says.

“Hey now,” confused gentleman says. “That’s no way to talk to a lady.”

“I’ll talk anyway I want, ASSHOLE,” attitude problem says. The Cap’n and I study each other and then look at older man. All of us are sort of stunned, flabbergasted, looking for MUNI police. When we turn back, attitude problem is threatening to castrate confused gentleman. I’m not quite sure how that turn of events was reached, and meanwhile African American girl was calling her posse to whup some ass.

Luckily for attitude problem, the 108 rolled up. We all boarded the bus, staring at him resentfully, and filed to the back.

Only moments later, we heard him choking on his Powerbar.

“Heh,” I said softly to the Cap’n. “I hope he chokes on his own self righteousness.”

“Heh, yeah,” African American girl said. “That would be hilarious.”

“Yeah, the great thing is,” confused gentleman chimed in, “that no one would make a move to save him.”

We all sat frozen in happy expectation, but unfortunately attitude problem lived to be a dick another day, and stomped off the bus at Yerba Buena.

The Cap’n and I were somewhat amazed by the whole experience, given that the guy seemed to be spoiling for a fight. I longed to sock him one in the face, and only the basic rules of social propreity restrained me. There certainly wasn’t any cause for the guy to be such a dick, or to needlessly pick on that poor woman. He could have made a polite request of all of the repulsive smokers and they would have moved, because they are used to the social stigma that smoking carries, and courteous enough to respect other people’s wishes.

As the Cap’n pointed out, karma is a bitch.

I just kind of hope I get to be there to see the guy’s comeuppance, is all.

[smoking]
[self righeous]