Sunday, August 15, 2010

Sometimes you can't do nothing #2

I'm having a summer of experiences that are pushing me into new territory. My previous post introduced this thread.

Now, a second experience and how I reacted.

Early the other morning I took my wife's car to the local convenience store to gas it up for her. It was on "E" and she had a trip to take later in the AM. I pulled in beside a pump and filled her up.

On the other side of the pump was a pick up truck being filled. The driver and passengers were painters, on their way (I assumed) to a day's work. They were guys from another country/culture. While filling up, several of them had gone into the store for drinks, snacks, etc. At that time of the morning the store is pretty crowded.

I couldn't help but notice a car parked a few yards away because of the loud "conversation" taking place. I paid no attention to what was being said, but watched out of the corner of my eye. In the car were a man and woman, likely husband/wife, and he was obviously agitated. My first thought was that they were having an argument, so I was going to watch just in case it escalated beyond words.

As I replaced the nozzle and started back into the car to leave, this parked car pulled in behind me to be the next to gas up. Nothing wrong with that. But then, as soon as he came to a stop, he began to curse and swear at the painters on the other side. Apparently he thought they were taking far too long to fill up. They were, after all waiting on some inside and enjoying a bit of conversation among themselves in the mean time. I don't know what all they were saying because I'm not fluent in their native tongue.

But I am fluent in English - even in redneck profanity. I know what all those words mean, and I also know they are inappropriate in a public place. Sorry, I'm old fashioned that way. So when he began his tirade from the driver's seat of his car, blasting these men with words about their relationships to their mothers (which I doubt he really knew anything about), I reacted.

It probably didn't occur to the painters to go ahead and move their truck from the pump while waiting on the rest of their party to come out from the store. For them, this was a time to socialize. They didn't know that we Americans are always in a hurry. (Maybe we should consider practicing "siesta"). So to the irate middle-aged man in his red, white and blue ball cap, these immigrants were being inconsiderate of his time.

But I can't help think maybe there was more bothering him than their lingering at the pump.

At any rate, I don't tolerate public profanity. It's a sickness in our society. So my reaction was quick. In a flash I was literally in his face as he still sat behind the wheel. I told him that if he didn't cease and desist I would call the police. And I would have.

He reacted in somewhat a state of shock (maybe that I would come to the defense of these foreigners) and hastily started to explain why he was so mad. I cut him off and said something to the effect that no one deserves to be talked to in that language and if he continued (as I reached for my cell phone) I would call the cops. And he and I are from the same generation, too, in case you might think he was a kid.

I guess he didn't need the gas because he backed away and drove off.

To me this was a cultural injustice taking place. Sure, they likely don't appreciate our American way of thinking because we're moving so fast. And sure, he probably never thought that in their country/culture they weren't doing anything wrong. But his verbal abuse was unnecessary and crass.

Sometimes I think you have to take a stand and do something.


Rebecca Meyers said...

I'm glad you said something. I've done the same thing. Although, I did it when a young man threw out a bottle of dip spit onto the bypass right beside me. I rolled my window down and told him he should pick it up and I couldn't believe he'd litter so blatantly. Long story short, he never picked it up and actually tormented me on the highway for a few days after that. For some reason, we ended up beside each other a few times on the road that week. I'm hoping although I became the one of ridicule in that situation that he'll think before he chucks next time. Who knows. Seems in this day he probably won't give it another thought, until he sees me again on the highway.

CJolly said...

Go get 'em Rick! You too Rebecca!Good for you! If more people were called out on their uncivilized behavior, our time in this world might be a bit nicer.

Rick @your last post, as Americans, our values tell us to show respect for the people and cultures of other countries where we are guests, as well as for those who are guests in our own country. And that is as it should a point.

I find it ironic, and more than a little troubling that there are people, especially some in leadership positions, who say we must bend over backwards to tolerate (and even encourage)the blatent disrespect shown to our country, laws, and culture by several groups who come to our country as "guests". And it doesn't seem to matter whether they are here legally or (dare I say it?) illegally.

It is a sad state of affairs when the law,moral values, and common decency are perverted by those who we are supposed to respect as our "leaders".

I think Americans,for the most part, probably do make an effort to be good, respectful guests in foriegn countries. It would be nice if more foriegn "guests" who come here would return that respect.

As for the redneck who went off on the workers at the gas pump? I agree, he was totally out of line,and you were right to call him out on it. He may have been just a foul mouthed hot tempered redneck. But he may have been one of the many people who are over what's going on in our country today. They just need to remember that the ballot box is the best place to vent their frustrations.

...didn't mean to ramble on like that, there are just some things that get me going!

Rick Lawrenson said...

That may be true, Chris. But the place to voice his frustration is at the ballot box because the source of his frustrations are not some Mexican painters but the government.