Dear customer in line behind me at the retail checkout counter:
Why the passive-aggressive refusal to step into my space? I've finished paying for my purchases, and for the few extra seconds it takes me to dig my keys out of my purse and gather my bags, you hang back and refuse to put your items down so the checker can start scanning them--in spite of the fact that there are ten toe-tapping people in line behind you who wish you would. I even turn to you and say "Go ahead," because, clearly, I have completed my transaction and stepped to the far end of the counter...I'm not in your way at all. But for some bizarre reason, you remain in place, stricken, unable to move on with your life until I have completely left the area. Are you perhaps afraid you might catch some contagious disease or flesh-eating rash if you get near me?
You're just like the jackass in my gym locker room the other day. I was standing up on the bench so I could reach my upper-level locker, and I had both hands buried deep in my gym bag which was inside said locker. I was rooting around looking for something, when I saw a lingering jackass in my peripheral vision, hovering, clutching her towel. I thought she must be trying to get to the lockers below, so I stepped out of her way and continued rooting on tiptoe, now at an odd angle since my feet were over HERE and my arms over HERE--but she didn't budge. Finally I looked down and said, "Am I in your way?" She motioned wordlessly toward my water bottle--which as it happens, was sitting in front of her locker. I thought, "Christ, you've gotta be kidding me. She couldn't just move the bottle a few inches all by her little self?" But I was patient with the jackass, and merely said, "Oh, just go ahead and move it aside," and continued digging through my gym bag. But she refused to budge, and instead continued to stare miserably at my offensive water bottle. I looked up from my digging a moment later to see her still there, and finally I just knocked the bottle over with my foot so that it rolled a few inches away. Then, and only then, was the jackass free from her paralysis and able to approach her locker. Jackass.
Dear garage sale hosts:
You filthy liars. How dare you trick me into coming to your sad little trash heap sale with signs that say "HUGE sale! Multi-Family!" when clearly, there is nothing in your barren garage but three hats and a broken mug. I shake my fist at you. Also due for a fist-shaking are those garage sale entrepreneurs who make tiny, handwritten signs that can't be read from a moving car--am I expected to pull over, extract my handy magnifying glass from my purse, and fight to decipher your bad handwriting in order to locate your house? And what's the deal with putting one sign out on the major street, but none on the seven intersections I must then turn through in order to find you? Do you think I'm so intimately familiar with your neighborhood that at the mention of Shady Bluebird Drive, I can instantly pick up the trail with no further aide? And then when I do beat the odds and find your house, must you really sit there in your lawn chair in dead silence and stare full-on at me like a serial killer as I shop? Jackasses.
Dear construction workers:
You are one of life's greatest mysteries. What is broken inside you that causes you to whistle and whoop when a woman has the misfortune to walk past your work site? you defy logic and dignity by hooting and shouting like you're at a rodeo. Am I to be flattered by this? Should I drop my purse and bags and sprint over to where you are, throw my arms around you and yell, "Thank you! Thank you for noticing me! Here's my phone number--or better yet, let's just go copulate behind that dumpster over yonder!" I don't know why this particular display of stupidity is exclusive only to construction workers...but I wonder, what would it be like if men of every profession behaved like you do upon seeing a woman? What if my gynecologist whistled and yelled "Hey baby, bring it on!" every time I hopped up on the examining table? What if the pharmacist at my local drugstore leaned out the little consulting window and catcalled at every girl who wandered past, looking for the Mylanta? And what happened to you to make you this way, anyway? I imagine you started out as a normal male, able to comport himself with dignity around females. Then you got a job on a construction site, and slowly things began to change inside you. Is it the constant hammering sound that slowly eats away at your brain? Is it the hours of baking in the hot sun? I don't envy you your job--it seems very tiring and difficult to me, and I salute you for being able to handle it when I doubt I could. And what do I know--perhaps nothing quite takes the edge off a hard day's work like humiliating a passing female and making her wish she were invisible.