So, is being a jerk to a jerk still being a jerk, or is it being a conduit of the universe and defender of the karma?
At the movies on the weekend, an ape of a man sat in front of me with who I assume was his son. These two were up and down, in and out of the theatre, and chatting throughout the movie. I was annoyed by the up and down, but couldn’t hear their chatting so by and large I actually managed to ignore them.
Maybe 20 to 30 minutes into the movie they appeared to be finally done with their random migrations, so I settled in to my seat. I put my feet up against the middle of the back of a seat to the left of Ape Man to be more comfortable. They remained there for perhaps half an hour before Ape and his spawn got up again.
When Ape returned, he noticed my feet on the back of the chair to the left of him. He stood right in front of me and said “Wanna get your feet off the damn seat!” It was not a question.
(Let me just pause at this juncture to say this – right here – this attitude and this tone of voice and this attempt to bully me after he and his son had been so inconsiderate of others themselves led us down the path of the eventual confrontation.)
So I said “Sure, as soon as you get out of my way.” He did, and checked to his left to see I fulfilled my end of the bargain. I had.
But it didn’t stay that way. After maybe 5 to 10 minutes, I put my feet back up because it was just so much more comfortable and they had been there with no incident already for about half an hour before he physically saw them.
Again, they remained for another 15 to 20 minutes until, again, Ape happened to physically look and see they were back up (and I’m talking physically turning his head 45 degrees because they were that far away from his seat). He turned around, HIT ME in the leg and said “Take your feet off the seat!”
Well, just call me Jane Goodall cuz I just ain’t that easily intimidated by Apes.
I kept my feet where they were, matched his tone and said while pointing at him “Do NOT touch me.” When his repeated demand went unresponded by me, Ape stood up and called out loudly that I "stink" (really? with the way that theatre was set up, my feet were actually closer to him when they were right behind him “properly”, and he didn’t notice a single whiff the whole 45 minutes my feet were to the left of him), I’m "a pig" and I "disgust him". Then he and his son moved seats.
Let me just say, I do get annoyed when people put their feet on the back of my seat, or in the crook between seats right by my head. But in the middle of the seat next to me is the seat next to me. It’s not my seat, so I have no domain … so neither do lesser-evolved species on the org chart. And I did have a choice – I knew my comfort was annoying this Ape and I knew this Ape was … well, an ape. So, had I not put my feet up the second time, I know that would have likely been the end of the confrontation.
But our small initial interaction – his brief attempt to bully me on the heels of his own inconsiderations– convinced me on a molecular level that if it leads to confrontation, that’s just the way the ball is going to bounce in this matter (which reminds me of the time I did a personality test and it came back that I was “cold-blooded.” I thought it then and I think it now: Que sera so what). It also probably would have been different if he hadn’t been with a child. I was perhaps bolder knowing this guy was probably going to be toned down to a degree in front of his child (Can you imagine? If this ape hit me even in front of his child, what kind of beast must he be when he is on his own?!)
So I ask you again, is being a jerk to a jerk really being a jerk? Or is it just the conduit through which apes reap what they sow?