While I’m the first to admit that I’m hardly an expert on Being A Functional Adult, I do feel capable of commenting on certain chronological data that would preclude certain behaviors in those who have reached and/or surpassed the age of adulthood. Such as:
After the age of 18 and excluding a physical or mental disability or a sexual fetish shared between two consenting adults, you are not allowed to shit your pants, throw liquefied food at others, or suck on someone’s boobs in public.
Grownups don’t do that stuff. Babies do that stuff. Babies also claim not to comprehend language, social cues, or the skills required to make me a sandwich when I’m really hungry and have been forced to watch children’s programming all day. Babies can scream at whomever they want and only rarely run the risk of getting the crap shaken out of them by someone who just can’t take it anymore. Babies can get away with partial and/or total public nudity. Babies can suddenly and violently disagree with something you say, even if that something is firmly based on logic and pretty much undisputable by any reasonable human being.
Basically, babies are assholes. They are loud, demanding, impatient assholes that will not be told no or act like adults, no matter how many times you ask. You know what, maybe you prefer babies. Maybe you have that piece of your brain that drives you to nurture and protect a smaller, more id-driven person. Maybe you are not me is what I’m saying, because I prefer the company of adults.
That said, why are so many adults acting like babies lately?
At least half a dozen times in the past few weeks, I’ve encountered adults who, when they’re caught doing something wrong or careless or stupid, not only don’t own up to it or, god forbid, apologize, but they react so angrily that I’m forced to look at them like “the fuck?” Like, you know you’re being a dick, right? Right?
One example is at work. I can’t even count the number of times I’ve wished to sit someone down and tell them to stop taking it personally. Unless we are friends who hang out after work and IM one another with stupid bullshit that has nothing to do with the job and therefore expect one to treat the other like intelligent human beings, there is no reason to take anything I say personally. If there’s a mistake serious enough that it must be brought to your attention (or even if I’m just being nice to let you know a situation might exist even though you did everything right), I’m telling you for business reasons. I’m not attacking your character. Don’t have a daylong bitchfest about why I’m awful or spend 15 minutes debating why something is wrong. It just is wrong. Fix it. That’s what we do with problems at work. Fucking deal with it and shut the fuck up, already. I have work to do.
Another example is driving. When I’m driving, I try very hard not to be a dick. When I am, I raise my hand in a “sorry, don’t hate me” gesture and make the accompanying “shucks, my fault” face. It’s not because I’m so spiritually advanced or anything, it’s just that being a dick while driving is usually dangerous, and having been in one traumatic accident so far, I have no desire to cause any incident resulting in bodily and/or vehicular damage just because I’m PMS-ing that day.
Not being a dick while I’m driving means that I’m careful, I drive defensively, and, mostly because I live in the ghetto where no one’s reaction can be anticipated as not involving firearms, I don’t act out my road rage on the people in the next car. Sure, I’ll scream to myself in my own car with the windows rolled up. But I won’t do it at a stoplight because a) that’s crazy and b) I don’t want to get shot. That said, I also don’t honk my horn very often. I think horn honking is a slippery slope of expression. It’s so easy and accessible that literally anyone in a car can do it, but, just like subtle recriminations sent via e-mail, it can be very difficult to correctly interpret the tone of a car horn. A friendly little “toot, I understand this road is spacious but you’re drifting over into my lane which causes me alarm!” can be easily misconstrued as “MOTHERFUCKER I WILL KILL YOU NOW!”
When I do choose to honk my horn, I try to emit the cheeriest, shortest, friendliest toots possible. My car horn is not an agent of rage. My car horn is not an agent of general displeasure, either. I would never honk my horn after the fact, or at a situation that doesn’t directly involve me, or to blare past some elderly person on the highway with the intent of scaring the shit out of them so maybe they’ll drive faster. My car horn is an agent of notifying others of my presence in the event of imminent danger. The only time anyone hears it is when they’re inches away from hitting my car and, because they’re obviously not fucking watching where they’re going, the audible beep of the horn (my car is Japanese, the only sound is makes is beep) is the only way they’ll know I’m there.
I’d like to think that if I were the target of a “please don’t kill me!” car horn, I would have the good grace to give the gesture/face apology thing I mentioned earlier, and then maybe be able to drive away without wanting to slap myself. I would probably not throw up my hands in exasperation, lean on my own horn, and scream expletives out of my car window at the person who was nearly the recipient of raised insurance rates thanks to my own carelessness. Instead of acting like adults, the people I’ve been encountering lately have been giant fucking babies who throw tantrums when someone is audacious enough to point out their potentially serious mistakes.
Guy in the minivan, I’m talking to you.
Guy in Schnuck’s parking lot today, I’m talking to you.
Woman who tailgated me down Grand in a busted mid-90s Camry while her child treated the backseat like a trampoline, I’m talking to you. And also to your child, who will no doubt bounce right through your windshield and into my rear fender if I’m forced to come to a sudden stop for any reason.
People, seriously. You need to slow your roll. Go home and smoke a joint or something. Quit being so fucking aggressive all the time. Realize that cars are basically giant mechanical deathtraps, and perhaps not the best place for you to physically express your anger. Calm the fuck down. I want to live.