Monday, October 28, 2013

Justice, Confrontation, and Latent Anger Issues

Confrontation and animation at it finest. 
Some people do all they can to avoid confrontation. They fear it. It makes them uncomfortable. They prefer a tranquil, harmonious environment, where no one is angry or has a personality. To them I say, “Good luck with your boring life, Wuss.”  I love confrontation. I revel in it. I don’t love it for the sake of it. I don’t just walk around yelling at people. I love it because, under the right circumstances, it is the breeding ground for justice. Sometimes, those tranquil, harmonious environments seem nice on the surface, but just below that surface lay smarmy line cutters, parking space stealers, eye-rollers, or  rude-to-starbucks-guy guys. And they’re getting away with it. Well, whenever these creeps show their colors, I’m there; ready to win a small victory for human kind with confrontation. Like the justice police or like the confrontation super hero, ConFron Girl. (No… not that name. I’ll need some time.) I am reminded of my favorite scene from ’30 Rock’ starring Tina Fey. The opening scene for that series is brilliant. Tina’s character, ‘Liz’ stands in a long line for a hot dog when a suit, line-cutter starts a new line, threatening her and 10 others’ hot dog experience. Liz confronts him about the new line and he says, “I’m just buying a hot dog.” To which she exclaims, “We’re ALL buying hotdogs!” Then half of the original line joins the suit’s new line, like sheep. She then immediately buys all the hot dogs, all $150 worth, and
"Blerg." "I want to go to there."
passes them to the people in the original line and justice was served on that New York street. That guy would probably go on to cut another line, but that day he did not get away with it, he did not get a hot dog, and he’ll think twice before he inevitably does it again. Win.

What happens next in that scene brings us the 2nd reason I love confrontation.  Liz then dances down the street, with her large box of hot dogs, smiling and bringing hot dog joy to people on the street, all to a theme song dedicated to her. This represents the high, the adrenaline rush after you’ve really given someone the business. I can live for weeks on the high a good confrontation gives me. It’s a rush. And it doesn’t always have to involve yelling or arguing. One time, I made a woman cry in Target without yelling. She was rude to my friend, the customer behind us, and the cashier. I read the situation, no one was going to say anything and the cashier certainly couldn’t, so I stepped in. All I had to do was say to the cashier, so that everyone could hear, “Have a good day, sir and good luck with that crazy bitch behind us!” All with a smile and a good thumb
I'm even more bad ass than this badass bitch AND her big feet. 
point. Everyone laughed. Was it very clever? No, but it worked. As she walked out, I noticed her red eyes and a tear that dripped down her face as she angry walked (I imitated this for weeks) to the door. Was she having a really bad day? Probably. Will she ever take that out on the innocent people shopping at a Target again? Nope. Win. That happened two years ago and thinking about it still gets me high.

I could take this bitch. "Do you even lift, sis?!"
Unfortunately, sometimes, you pick the wrong stranger to confront and you wind up hoping this isn’t the moment you’ll be shot in a Forever 21. But therein lies the problem. Some of my closest calls have delivered the biggest highs. Like this one: Picture it: October 19th, 2013. A Trader Joes parking lot in Los Angeles, CA. Noonish. I’d just finished packing my grocery-filled, reusable (duh) bags into my car and was ready to reverse out of my parking spot. I was parked next to an SUV. I was driving my little Toyota so it was difficult to see around the large vehicle. I did my best to look all directions for other cars and pedestrians and began to reverse. Just then, a middle aged white couple and their teenage son came walking out from behind the SUV. Since the SUV wasn’t see-through, I didn’t see them until they were directly behind my car. I came to a sudden halt and put my hand up in a “Sorry, I didn’t see you there” sort of way and smiled, even though I definitely didn’t have to. Then, middle-age-crisis-dad threw his hands up and lipped, “What the fuck?” to me in through my rear window. Middle-age-crisis-dad obviously had no idea who he was messing with today. I did not deserve that. Any normal person would understand I did all I could do to stop as soon as I saw them. I thought, ‘Here we go, Andrea. Here’s your chance to really give it to someone.’ So, I assessed the situation. Dad: khaki shorts, polo shirt, calf-high socks, neon tennis shoes, receding hair-line. No threat. Mom: A buck-10, the eyes-too-close-together look of a woman who’s greatest achievement was the pimply, teenaged asshole on his phone. No threat. I could take her. Son: On his phone, paying no attention whatsoever. (It should be noted, that asshole stayed on his phone through the entirety of the following story.) I decided it was safe to retaliate. So, I threw MY hands up and mocked his, “What the fuck?” This pissed him off and he turned on his heels and started marching toward the passenger side of my car. I was like, ‘Here we go, Andrea. This is what we’ve been practicing for.’ I left the engine running, threw my e-brake on, and stepped out of the driver’s side to look the adversary in the eye over my Toyota.

“What’s your problem?!” He yelled.

“YOU, idiot! You all just appeared out from behind that SUV while I was reversing and I stopped as soon as I saw you. And you had to throw your hands up like a JERK?! What’s YOUR problem?!” I replied.

“It sure didn’t look like you were gonna stop!” He yelled louder.

“Pedestrians have the right of way.” His genius wife piped in.

“No Shit! That’s why I stopped, genius!” I said to the genius.

Dad stepped in close to my car and pointed in my face and in a deep, Alec Baldwin voice, with some of the craziest eyes I’ve ever seen said, “If you were a man, I’d punch the shit out of your face.”

This was surprising. And for a second, just a second, I was nervous. Dad obviously had some issues and maybe a gun? And I thought, ‘No, Andrea. Go for it. If he hits you, it’s definitely more damaging to him.’ So I replied in my best evil whisper, with even crazier eyes, (I do have crazy eyes) “I WISH you fucking would!” (For the record, for ridiculous purposes, I wish I would've replied, "You're out of luck, sir. There's no shit in my face.") 

This surprised him. He violently slammed his hand on the roof of my car and began to step around to my side of the car. He had the look in his eye of a man who had LOST HIS SHIT. So, I, with the look in my eye like a lady who had lost her shit, slammed my door to meet him in the middle. I was no chicken. I had asked for this beating and I was going to take it like a man… err, a woman! (Wait… that seems offensive….) But ok, I was going to take it like a WOMAN. Just then, his wife pulled him away, exclaiming, “It’s not worth it, Derek!” (Ha. Derek. Of course, right? Don’t name your kid Derek. He has a 100% chance of being a dick. Derek= Dick. Say Derek really fast five times. What do you get?) So, instead of beating a woman’s face in, Derek hocked a big loogie and let it rip on my windshield. I was appalled. This was the ultimate disrespect. That is the only explanation I can give for what spewed out of my mouth next….

“I SHOULD’VE RUNOVER YOUR WHOLE, FUCKING DISGUSTING FAMILY!!!” I meant it, too. His throat snot was on my windshield! Bleh!

“Oh no.” Genius wife said in a worried voice.

“YOU’RE AN ASSHOLE!” Dad said as he was pulled away.

“AND YOU’RE GREAT AT NAME CALLING!” I yelled sarcastically. (Not great, I know. But I was lit up.)  It was over at this point and I got back in my car. For a second, I had some remorse over threatening to kill a family in a Trader Joes parking lot and with shame, I cleansed the loogie off my windshield with my washer fluid. And then I replayed the scenario again in my head and realized that man was way in the wrong. He deserved everything I said. But I was in the wrong too because he was crazy and were it not for eyes-too-close-together wife, I might’ve gotten my first solid beating, assuming he didn’t have a gun, all because of my big mouth and “love” for confrontation. ‘I’m getting too old for this.’ I thought. Then it happened. The high. I was flooded with a rush that can only be compared to a glass of wine, post coital, followed by a long line of cocaine. (Never, ever done this….. I swear.) A HIGH I’ve never felt.  I smiled. Breathing heavily now and heart beating fast, I noticed a lingering piece of loogie in that portion of my windshield the wipers don’t get to. I frantically looked in my car for something to clean it with then quickly stopped. “No. Leave it.” I said to myself. Like a badge of honor. “You’ve won today, Andrea.”  I drove around with it crusted on my windshield for a week until it rained and every time I looked at it, I smiled.

The closest depiction the internet had of Derek. 
I know what some of you are now saying, “Geeze, Andrea Chesley: Blogger’s obsession with confrontation obviously represents some latent anger issues and emotional instability.” You’re probably right. And I am well aware. I was picked on a lot as a kid, like most, and never stood up for myself. So, here I am, an angry adult, but I am working on it. Confrontation and justice are important. Standing up for yourself is IMPORTANT. Just choose your battles wisely because, like most drugs, the high from confrontation can bring the lowest of lows or get you shot. That loogie on my windshield reminded me of this. While it represented my passion for justice, it also represented a tendency toward anger that is unhealthy.  Derek the dad is still a dick, but his DNA has taught me to remain the classy (ish) lady that I am in all situations, including confrontations.