I’m not overtly confrontational. It’s not because I’m necessarily afraid of confrontation, but more because I don’t always think people are asshats in the exact moment that they’re practicing their asshattery. I have delayed reaction asshat radar; I realize about twenty minutes after the fact that I should be offended, or angry or appalled. In the moment, however, I’m often confused. Maybe I’m not understanding this person correctly; maybe this person has some kind of mental impairment that I can’t visibly see….maybe maybe maybe.
In any case, I’d like to provide the transcript for my most recent incidence of asshattery. In this case, the asshat is the husband of a neighbor who I frequently run into while walking with my son. You should know that we live near the airport and planes were flying overhead the entire time.
Me: Oh, look a biplane. I’d like to go up in a biplane someday.
Asshat: (snorts in disgust) Why in the world would you want to do that?
Me: I just….
Asshat: (another snort) They’re just planes, nothing special about it.
Me: Oh, well, I…
Asshat: So you’re a teacher huh? What’s the makeup of your school? Bunch of black kids?
Me: (taken aback but used to people asking dumb questions when they learn I teach in South Central) Actually we’re about 80% Latino and 20% African-American right now.
Asshat: My school’s all black, bunch of black kids over there. Say, did you actually go to Harvard or are you just wearing the sweatshirt?
Me: (secretly hoping the baby will begin to fuss so I can have an excuse to keep on walking) Well…no, I didn’t go to Harvard; my husband went on a business trip to Boston and brought this ba….
Asshat: Well, that’s something, didn’t even go there and you wear the propaganda, that’s something else all right.
At this point my wish comes true and the baby fusses enough to end the conversation and propel me out of there. Incidentally, my Harvard hoody is really warm and soft. I’m a poser with a good reason.