“Hindsight is 20/20.”
I’ve always liked this saying. Kind of says a lot. It’s a pessimistic way of viewing things. It’s regret. It’s what you could have done in a given situation.
This weekend my sister-in-law convinced me to go to Bed Bath & Beyond with her and my brother. I had some curtain shopping I’d been putting off and Cheryl waved those 20% coupons in my face. It was a pretty easy sell. I figured I’d browse their drapery selection and maybe sniff a few candles while I was at it. (Side note: Did you know Bed Bath & Beyond will except Linens N’ Things coupons!?! Ok, back to my story…) 2 hours later, I walked out of there with a bag of kettle cooked sweet and salty popcorn. And not one step closer to solving the lack of privacy issue in my new apartment.
As we were walking back to the car we were being goofy and one of us must have told the other one of us to “Shut up.” We get to the car and I hear over my shoulder…
“What did you say asshole?”
Thinking nothing of it, I put my bag in the back seat and take my rightful place in shotgun. There is some commotion as Mark and Cheryl get in the car.
I stand up to look. Across the way is a guy with a baby carriage near the trunk of his car. His wife is fiddling around with their two children in the back seat. He’s apparently talking to me. I say…
“Did you tell my kid to shut up?”
This guy wants to fight me. I have never seen anyone look this angry with a stroller in their hands. He’s got a fu manchu mustache, jet black hair, and explosions for eyes. He wants to beat me over the head with that thing. I say, in a somewhat snotty tone…
“I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
And I didn’t. My synapses hadn’t made any connection at this point. I think he thinks we told his kid to shut up.
That was it. He said “K” and it was over. He went back to his angry life. Presumably never knowing how good kettle cooked sweet and salty popcorn from Bed Bath & Beyond truly is.
We drove away lit up. Cheryl had seen the same guy inside, arguing with one of the nice ladies at the store. He’s obviously having a bad day. His kid was probably throwing a tantrum and he was projecting. That’s fine I guess. I don’t know why this ogre is going around starting fights with everybody, nor do I care. You get one chance, and he blew his. Did he have to curse at a stranger in front of his kids? Maybe. Maybe it’s what gets him to sleep at night. Being an insomniac, I know the importance of falling asleep. If you find a way, you take it.
In hindsight, there are several things I wish I had said or done. My snotty demeanor was immature enough, but I wish I was, you know… hard. I regret not going further. Given the opportunity again, I would respond with something different. Maybe one of the following:
“No but have you seen the new Calphalon skillets?”
“I think your wife did.”
“We don’t tell kids to shut up. We just shake ’em.” -Cheryl
“Who are you calling an asshole devil man?”
“Relax. You’ll live longer.” -Arnold Schwartzenegger
“No, but this tire iron did.”
Did I miss any?
Hope that guy is sleeping comfortably.