Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Annoyances at Age Extremes

I found myself getting irritated the last two mornings due to encounters with people at the opposite ends of the age spectrum.

There is a young girl in my son's highly gifted elementary school class who I can safely say, after being in her presence approximately once a week during the past two school years, should be the inspiration for the next truly awful, spoiled, rotten young girl in the next Roald Dahl-style book or film. She's the sort of kid that I really have to struggle not to take into a corner and have a talking to, because she's bossy, greedy, rude, and lazy. She consistently contributes next to nothing to activities except snarky comments and sloppy work. And she ignores directions. The only person who has some influence on her seems to be the classroom teacher.

All of this really stands out because the other kids in the class are pretty good. Some are silly or goofy or distractible, but after the teacher had a discussion about bullying, there's no one else as mean as this little girl, who is clearly deliberate and careful in her nastiness. Maybe her parents are doing the best they possibly can, but I suspect they could do a hell of a lot better. I really, truly hope she is not in my son's class again for a third year. Probably she'll be the next Sarah Palin.

The other annoying experience was with a white-haired driver. I pulled out of the main library parking lot, making a left turn into the center lane because a lot of traffic was coming the opposite way and I didn't want to block anybody wanting to turn right from the lot, because those lanes were empty. I sat there waiting in the center lane while a line of cars drove by.

Then, as an opening appeared, this old guy pulled out and made a left hand turn around my car. If I hadn't seen him in my rearview mirror I would have pulled right into him. And he's looking at me and shaking his head in disgust as he does so. It took him longer to make the turn than it would have taken me to merge, so the opening that I saw ended up with him cutting off the car behind him--who wanted into the center lane to make a turn.

So I got ahead of that car and then, as I passed the old guy at a light up ahead (I was turning at the light and he was at the back of a line of cars going straight), I leaned over and flipped him and his passenger off.

I'm not proud of that reaction. It didn't teach him a lesson and it gave me only some temporary relief, at the cost of feeding negative emotions.

With the girl in my son's class, I try to keep an even tone and speak carefully around her, even when she's being a brat. But I'm pretty sure she knows I don't like her, because I correct her a lot and she tries to argue, even when other kids agree with my point.

With the old guy in the car, who's much closer in age to me than this girl is, I think I snapped because my mind said, "damn it, he should know better. He's had his chances to learn." Still didn't make it worth my emotional energy.

Don't know why, but bringing it up feels a little cathartic.

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