On my way to run two days ago, I patiently waited at the crosswalk for cars to pass to make my way into the park. I stood next to two men, also waiting to cross. Nevermind these two grown men were both drinking cans of crappy beer but I chalked it up to the fact they were likely crossing the street to the ball fields.
As we waited, one of them in a very snide and unpleasant tone, "Those guys have it so easy. I wish I could get paid to stand outside all day collecting money in a boot." He is referring to four firefighters standing on the center lanes at this four-way cross walk. His friend says, "That and posing for calendars." They guffawed to themselves. He then turns to me and asks, "Wouldn't you just love to have that job?"
Sometimes I find myself in situations that invoke the fight or flight response. Not the standard biological response but more the response of "shall I fight with idiocy or shall I take flight from the band of idiocy in which I am currently encircled." Sometimes you need to take the high road. Sometimes you need to just smile and nod. Sometimes you just have to learn to be polite to an arsehole.
So here is my response:
"Oh that job? Yes, I would LOVE that job. Because outside of the four or five hours they spend outside boot in hand collecting much needed donations, they spend the rest of their professional time running into BURNING buildings. You know why they do that? To save people's lives. To remove people from the home before the ceilings cave in and to douse the entire mess with water in an attempt to save as many of your personal items as possible including crap you don't even need and all your awesome pictures from that one trip to the Grand Canyon. And what a great job where your spouse and children worry for your safety every time you leave the house. Oh, and do you know WHY they look good enough to be in calendars? Because they work out all the time so they can carry people out of the inferno. That all sounds ideal. When can I be recruited???"
So how do you act politely to an arsehole? Clearly, I would not know in this case. They stared and I think one of them had their mouth open a bit. We all missed the crosswalk light so I enjoyed standing with them even longer than necessary.
Perhaps the sarcasm spraying out of my mouth similar to a firehouse stunned them.The friend merely muttered, "Sorry." My Father is a retired policeman. Maybe I have a soft spot for law enforcement and fire fighters; occupations that including a very high risk of death. Maybe these two had it coming. Or maybe I just felt like spritzing the whole situation in a little combination of sass and la bitchilita. Either way, how to be polite to an arsehole is something I will have to practice in the future.