Respecting Your Elders -- Just Not The Gross Ones  

In case any of you were wondering, I'm not an angry person; something I've certainly professed on these pages in months past. I've also admitted to having moments where the curtain closes on my better judgment, leaving me with little choice but to destroy someone or something that only sort of deserved it. While it's unfortunate that those rage-induced justice sessions are usually started over some pretty ridiculous stuff, they have always been few and far enough between for me to blame on lack of sleep and/or too much scotch.

Lately, however, I've had this feeling of underlying angst in everything that I do. This morning on the bus is a great example of just how far I've fallen. Whereas typically I am the most tolerant of stupid people and the elderly -- simply because they don't know any better -- a combination of the two sat down next to me halfway through the trip to work. She was probably mid-70's, frail in appearance but also very sweet-looking; you know, the typical grandmotherly type. About ten minutes into it, she leaned forward oh so gently and cute-like, then fucking sneezed all over me. Specifically on my hand and half my book. Other than that pathetic lean, she had made no attempt to shelter the sneeze either. It was like something from a warmed spray bottle had hit me, and very noticeably stained the pages of my book. I froze, unsure at first of how to contain the biohazard without spreading it to my face and possessions.

But then something else happened. I looked over at her to see that she hadn't even noticed, or as it was in my mind, that she didn't even care about what she had just done. As if making it this far in life had somehow indemnified her from even the most basic of courtesies. "What the fuck was that?" I said, angrily enunciating every syllable. All she did was look at me though, mouth agape, a wrinkled look of disbelief spreading across her face. "Is it really too much to ask that you cover your mouth when you sneeze?" She stared at me for another second or two and then (finally) started to apologize in her sweetest old lady voice, "Oh, I'm sorry, I..." But that was as far as she got. "Sorry? You FUCKING sneezed all over me lady." I then immediately restored calm to my voice. "Let me out please." She shifted her legs aside so I could get up, although kept a watching eye on me as if I was going to punch her. Instead, I wiped my hand and open book across the sleeve of her stupid floral old lady jacket a couple of times and then moved to the back of the bus without saying another word. Though any mumbling I could have done to myself at that point was more than made up for by the intense Purell session that ensued.

Under normal circumstances I might not have said anything, despite the nature of the extreme offense which she "unknowingly" beset upon me. I don't know where this recent angst has come from; maybe it's due to assorted financial woes, or maybe there's just a lot of stress trickling in from different sources in my life. This particular incident could have also been ignited by the deluge of media hype surrounding swine flu, as anything that jeopardizes my love affair with bacon is bound to get me riled up. Hopefully being aware of it will prove to be the first step in correcting it. And while I do feel slightly guilty about what happened, I'm not going to end this post with an apology to her as I had originally planned. But that's only because she deserved it, and my guilt has yet to be outweighed by the supreme sense of satisfaction that can only come from swearing at a septuagenarian.

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