I was behind three people at a betting window at Charles Town Races and like the horse I bet on in the last race, I was going nowhere. I don’t know what the hold-up was, but with only a precious few minutes to post time I muttered what I usually do in slow-moving lines: “What’s this guy doing, applying for a job?” The man directly in front of me turned around and replied, “I always pick the wrong line. People see me and do everything they can to make me wait. I bet he’s trying to pay with a personal check.”
What a comic relief it was to know I wasn’t alone. Assuming the world’s against me is how I make sense of frustrating situations. [That doesn’t actually make sense, but you think that because you’re all against me] For the past few months I’ve kept track of events that caused harmless, stop-looking-at-me-like-that paranoid thoughts. Below are the results, not including each time that had the same theme: waiting. If that trigger was any bigger, Roy Rogers would ride it [under fifty? Google it].
• Movie theater: “Hi, I’d like the noisiest, lip-smacking food you sell, in a large, because I’m going to sit next to Jean.”
• ABC store, gym, and McD’s: “To everyone Jean would not want to see here: flash mob!”
• Traffic signal: “LOL i m gonna keep texting so i miss this lite bc Jean is behind me and in a hurry she is dum”
• Customer service: “To expedite this call, please say or press your 15 digit account number; say or press your zip code; say or press your 10-digit telephone number; say or press your luck because in no way is this expediting.” Note: At this point an actual person comes on the line and asks for the exact same information.
• Backyard: “Get all the gnats together for a good old fashioned swarming because Jean is making a rare appearance.”
• Perennials: “It’s been about three days since Jean planted us—time to go to that big garden in the sky, fellas.”
• Fast food: “Chocolate shake? That machine broke when you walked in because it was going to really hit the spot.”
• Summer Concert: “I’m going to wait until five minutes before the performance and squeeze a high-backed lawn chair in front of Jean. For the sake of completeness, I’ll clap my hands over my head without regard for her view, my dignity, or the song’s rhythm.”
• Shorts: “The hanger said medium but I’m actually a small because Jean was too lazy to try me on in the store. Enjoy the drive back, sucker.”
• GPS: “Because Jean’s too cheap to update me, I’m going to make her take Route 7 everywhere she goes.”
• Target: “I have a dozen coupons (some expired), five shirts without price tags, and a credit card* that is buried somewhere in my massive purse because Jean is behind me.” *Variation: “Wait, I have exact change. It’s in my change purse ... oh, that’s where my camera went! ... here it is, no, that’s my makeup bag ... I found a nickel, does that help?”
• Public restroom sink: “Motion sensor—switch to inoperably, frustratingly sensitive and watch the fun begin as Jean waves her hands like she’s hand jiving.”
• Crowded restaurant, from the gang of eight at the next table to the only server: “Before we ask you to repeat that long list of specials, we’d like to order drinks with ridiculous specifications because we’re those kind of people. I’ll start with a Lemon Drop Martini with Absolut and sweet and sour mix, NOT lemon juice, and an organic mint leaf.”