Friday, October 11, 2013

Damn! You Fat as Fuh!

Today has been a day that will live in infamy. For me, anyway. Might have just been a normal Thursday for you. But if you're reading this you'll get to hear (read) all about my crappy day. Yay for you! And apologies in advance.

Sleep deprivation, intense back pain, cold and rainy weather, and the inability to get anything meaningful accomplished today all contributed to my Day-O-Meter being stuck on SUCK all day. The level and intensity of suck just grew throughout the day. I started at Dust Buster and ended on Dyson-on-Crack. So by the time I got off work I was just ready to go home and fall into the warm embrace of my loving family.

Like this. Only with less smiling and more yelling.
Seriously, why don't kids just do what they're told?
Jeezy Peezy!!! Wait. Where was I? Oh yeah, read on.
As I trudged to the bus stop - umbrella in one hand, bag in the other - my body language probably made it easy for the average person to guess I was not a happy camper. My shoulders were slumped, I was walking slowly to avoid slipping on wet pavement, and I had engaged the Urkel Stance (knees slightly bent, pelvis thrust forward) to mitigate the stabbing pain in my spine.

I'm sexy and I know it!
I started to shuffle across G Street in this manner when I looked up and saw a man crossing from the other direction. He was about 40ish, light-skinned Indian, balding, wearing glasses, and dressed in business casual attire. He could have easily blended in with most of the IT engineers I've worked with in the span of my 16-year career of correcting the spelling and grammar of certified geniuses who make a hell of a lot more money than I do. I made a mental note to avoid walking into him as he was on my side of the crosswalk, but other than that didn't form any strong opinions about him one way or the other.

Then he spoke. As we met in the middle of the crosswalk, he looked me in the eye and said, "Damn. You're fat as fuh..." Neither of us stopped or slowed down, so I'm not sure if he finished that last word or not. I imagine he did.

Did that fool seriously just say what I think he just said?
My initital reaction was, "Wait, what?" His facial expression had seemed cordial, like he was going to extend a casual "Hello" or something. It took me a few seconds to process the insult, so I didn't deliver a snappy comeback or anything. And to be honest, I'm not really sure how fat a "fuh" is, but It's not like he was giving me new information by calling me fat. I've lived in this body for 40 years now, and I've been a multitude of sizes and weights. Trust me, I know I'm fat. I've seen me naked.

It's not like I've never been insulted by a stranger before. Hell, I've come to expect it from certain demographic groups. Usually the insults come from teenagers who want to prove to their friends how cool they are by observing a known fact. Dorks.

When I was younger, I'd go hide and cry and wish that I'd said something to put them in their place. After all, back then they were my peers and had just reaffirmed that I was not in the least bit cool. I mean, it's hard to feel cool when you're publicly humiliated by your peers. But as I've been through enough life experience to grow a thick skin and become comfortable in it, I've been able to brush off encounters like this for several years. Some witty young man wants yell "FAAAAAT BIIIIITCH!!!!" from his car window? Whatever, dude. I may be fat, but at least I don't have to lead your miserable life.  

But today, I couldn't brush it off. I'ma tell you the truth - my feelings were hurt. I had to blink back tears as the encounter played over and over in my head. My reserves were already just about depleted from my craptastic day and his insult stung. And that pissed me off. 

I had about 15 minutes to think about it while I waited for my bus. Then I realized why I was so offended by the whole thing (besides the obvious): I was raised to be a nice person. To be kind and considerate, and to treat other people with a certain default level of courtesy and respect. In fact, there are days I have to put a lot of thought and energy into not offending people with my words or actions because, quite frankly, my inner voice sounds more like Lewis Black than my usual easygoing self. Am I perfect? No. But at least I try to be kind to people.

So why does this asshole get a free pass? Given his age and appearance, he really should know better than to insult strangers just for funzies. Had I encountered him in a meeting room to discuss network diagrams, his feelings about my appearance would have been the furthest thing from my mind. Hell, even on the street it was the furthest thing from my mind, until he said something. Frankly, I don't give a "fuh" whether he found me attractive. It was irrelevant information - he was some random guy on the street, not Prince Charming. But I do care that he expended the effort to be intentionally cruel. I guess I kinda feel like if I have to hold my tongue when I observe something I think is unpleasant about a stranger, then so does everyone else. That's how civilized societies work. 

By the time my bus arrived, I was casually hoping this guy would kinda sorta get stabbed in the face on his way home. I was also kicking myself for not having pushed him down in the wet street and then sitting on him so he could experience "fat as fuh" in its entirety. Oh well. If there's a next time, I'll know what to do. 

Did you say something, Sir? Would you care to repeat it?
I'm sorry. I don't understand what "mmmfff mmmfff" means.