Thursday, October 20, 2011

Street fighter

Yesterday a middle-aged man accosted me on the street. He wasn’t homeless. In fact he wore an L.L. Bean backpack, a pair of eyeglasses, and a relatively put-together outfit. He was, however, losing his shit. Excuse my language, but he was in a bad place. Literally and figuratively. He didn’t have an umbrella and he was somehow managing to text while walking in the windstorm. Let me remind you about the torrential downpour + winds yesterday in NYC: I was nearly lifted into the air like Mary Poppins! And my dinky H&M “fashion” umbrella got so twisted and useless I had to put it to rest in the sidewalk garbage can, all while being rained on and yelled at. In the middle of a near-tornado.

I had passed the mean man on the sidewalk. He was going west and I was going east. And boy was he the Wicked Witch of the West! I’m still not sure why, but he didn’t approve of my walking on his right side (AKA WRONG side). After passing him, he roared, “I MEAN YOU COULD’VE WALKED ON THE OTHER SIDE OF ME!!!!!” What the H E double L does that mean? Was he not an ambi-turner? Why would it matter? We were both walking straight! Me, straight to the garbage can i.e. resting place of my poor umbrella; he to the loony bin? I was so taken aback all I could say was “whoa.”

As I walked home in the pouring, windy rain with no umbrella I felt kind of hurt. (I get sensitive when someone yells at me!) But then I just felt sad for him. What could’ve possibly spurred him to rage at me in the middle of the street? Did someone just break up with him over text? I hadn’t engaged his temper tantrum. I wouldn’t have even known how to respond… “You got up on the wrong side of the bed mister!!! I don’t care which side I pass you on! Mean, mean man!” Ultimately I just felt compassion for him. I don’t excuse his behavior toward me. But I do sincerely hope he finds happiness and doesn’t act like such an a-hole going forward. I hope he was walking west to a yoga class.


P.S. Joanna Goddard (God love her!) of A Cup of Jo just posted this article as her first pick for an “Articles Club” she’s starting. Get it? Like a Book Club. I think it’s genius! The article is essentially about finding, and maintaining, one’s happiness. It’s also about a broken marriage, and one woman’s unique approach to fixing it. One tip: don’t acknowledge another person’s (your partner’s, your kid’s, your passerby’s) temper tantrum…


  1. Hahhaha this is hilarious! Also LOVED the article club article--so interesting. Keep posting them,


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