Friday, January 25, 2008

My view of American society, in microcosm.

I just returned from a business trip. My flight was very bumpy and not very enjoyable. "Thrown about the sky" comes to mind. But the part of it that I would like to relate is regarding the person sitting in front of me.

I am a rather tall person, 6’3” or so, and therefore have very little legroom in the best of times. The person in front of me, of course, reclined his seat all the way, so the seatback was literally about a foot from my face and gave me absolutely no legroom. After a while, I noticed that he was leaning forward, working on something and was not leaning against his reclined seat at all. I tapped him on the shoulder and, very politely, asked if he might pull up his seat one notch, as I had no legroom. I also had knee surgery not that long ago, and am still having trouble with it. I didn’t tell him that, though.

This guy reacted like I had just asked him the most ridiculous thing in the entire world, something akin to asking if he would give me his brand new Porsche. He just glared at me with this unbelieving look. He did move his seat up after he made his point, but he did so in a very grudging matter and didn’t respond when I thanked him.

I thought that was the end of the matter. About 20 minutes later, when he had finished whatever he was working on, he threw back his seat with all the force he could muster, without warning me at all. Of course, he knew that I was already cramped, but that didn’t matter. Later, when he left his seat and then returned, he sat down with what I thought was as much force as he could muster so that his seat whacked me in the knees.

I was thinking to myself, you certainly are an infantile, petulant bastard…. I got the impression he was just waiting for me to say something. I wasn’t going to, at all. I’m not going to escalate the situation with someone spoiling for a fight.

I am positive that this guy was a hard core conservative Republican. He just had that look to him. The crewcut might have something to do with it. Now, he might have been one of the most liberal Democrats in the entire world, but I would bet $1000 against it. He struck me as one of those people who think that they have absolutely no use for anyone outside his little circle, and being nice or even accommodating to another person is something that just is beneath him. He ignores people when possible, and when they intrude on his own personal universe, do whatever he can do to “show them who’s the boss!”

And that is how I view about 30 to 40 percent of the population of this country. That little temper tantrum, when I asked nicely for something that I would do without a second thought, he had to show me that I couldn’t get away with it, demonstrates perfectly what I believe that a lot of people actually believe. That explains their entire viewpoint of “us vs. them”.

So, if I am correct in my assessment, this guy would never read a blog, much less a liberal blog. He just didn’t seem like the “bloggy” type. But, buddy, if you DO happen to read this, screw you! Grow up! Stop acting like an adolescent George Bush! Jeez.

That little rant accomplished absolutely nothing, except made me feel a bit better. Which is the entire point of rants, after all.

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