Some people are so rude you just want to slap 'em.
Literally, like right off the cuff: They give you a dirty look and smack!
But you can't do that. You know why?
Uh yeah, you probably would get arrested, come to think of it. Or shot.
But that's not the answer. The answer is you can't slap them because some people are paranoid about their personal space: Don't look at them. Don't speak to them. And for gosh sakes don't touch them or they'll freak out.
Case in point -- a reader calls Thursday and tells me this story:
She gets a discount coupon for one of those chain drugstores that are always locating right across from each other like the intersection's a planned urban drugstore mall. She uses the coupon, goes home, checks her receipt and sees she was double-charged instead of discounted, and the difference is like $25.
So she calls the store and the clerk tells her to just bring the receipt in.
When the customer goes back the next day, the line at the cashier is nine-people long.
While she's nine people behind the line, a woman pushing a cart full of soft drinks with a child about 4 hanging on the front comes barreling through. The woman does not say a word. Or slow down.
It wasn't just discourteous; it was dangerous. What if the cart toppled onto the kid?
It's the kind of thing that makes you want to shove that shopping cart onto its side and say, "There! See how dangerous that is?"
But no one did that.
Instead the line parted like this: The person two ahead of this customer scrunched forward and the lady immediately in front of her backed up, onto this customer's feet.
"Oh excuse me!" she said -- "she" meaning this customer. The lady who stepped on her didn't say anything -- until this customer's hand touched her on the shoulder.
"You'd better not touch me!" the lady snapped, never turning around.
"I'm sorry," this customer said.
"Don't touch me!" the lady repeated.
This customer laughed nervously.
"Don't be laughing," the lady ordered.
So this customer waited silently to get her money back: "I never said a word," she told me. "I just stood there and thought, 'Let's see if she turns around.'"
The lady never did. And perhaps that's best, because when people that rude turn to face you, you just want to slap 'em.
Tim Chitwood, firstname.lastname@example.org, 706-571-8508.