I recently came to a conclusion. Mean people suck dirty pond water and I plan to avoid giving them any more of my time.
I was recently at Albertsons Grocery Store, in the bbq sauce section. The bbq sauce was on sale and so I was there staring at all the store had to offer. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the manager staring at me. I looked over at him. I’ve seen him many times. I’ve been going to that store for almost ten years.
“Are you finding everything you need?” He asked cheerily.
“Yes, I am. Thank you,” I responded with equal ebullience.
He walked away and I went back to contemplating all the things I could smother in bbq sauce for the least amount of money.
An older woman wondered by. Let’s call her Mean Old Junk Yard Dog. I watched out of the corner of my eye as she first stared at a list in her hand and then at the shelf before her. (Yes, I use my peripheral vision quite a bit….You never know when you will be kidnapped. Staring out the corner of my eye gives me about three seconds warning. I’ve clocked it.)
Anyway, the manager asked her, “Can I help you find anything?” And she said…
“You don’t care what I what…”
I. Was. Floored….
Now, as per general, I’m usually surprised by what would seem to be common everyday things to other people. I’m surprised when I enjoy my dinner. I’m generally shocked when I am not tired at the end of a day, when I thought I would be. There are many ‘little’ things that bring me surprise. However, in this case, I was floored by the fact that someone would actually have the audacity to be such an off putting jerk in public, especially toward someone who was offering assistance! I was poised to say something rude and get myself arrested, when I heard the sound of little glass jars hitting the floor. A couple of people behind me had knocked over a relish and pickle display. Since I’m also easily distracted, I ended up not remembering to tell Mean Old Junk Yard Dog off!
When I got home, I found myself livid once I remembered Mean Old Junk Yard. It made me realize that this woman had gotten away with her horrible behavior and she would get away with it again, later… The question is why? Why did she think it was ‘ok’ to say something like that? I’ve concluded that it is because other people have allowed her to do so. People who are her friends and family have given her the opportunity to be this way. And the older she grows the worse it will get.
And don’t mistake blunt or direct with mean! Even tactlessness can’t compare. So, how can you tell the difference?
Well, for one, bluntness or directness usually develops out of an attempt to answer something (usually a question or idea) that is offered with a certain amount of openness. The bluntness or directness is usually an attempt by someone to be logical and forward. Sometimes this approach is appreciated by other people, because it’s refreshing and trustworthy. Direct or forward people make us all remember that holding back an opinion isn’t always a good thing. Directness can sometimes cause you to giggle, because it’s unexpected in a sometimes pleasant way. Direct and blunt are often off the cuff, spontaneous.
Meanness is often designed to hurt or cut. Mean people who act on the instinct to say or do mean things, generally have a reservoir of meanness to express. You aren’t catching them off guard; they are catching you off guard! They wait for moments to dig into you… They are just filled with hatred inside.
Most mean people tend to feel and express negativeness about many people or things. This is because they are so dissatisfied with who they are, whatever they’ve become that they believe they can’t fix what’s in them, so they express their simmered vengeance on other people.
We all know at least one mean person. Sometimes we marry into their family, or we’ve been so called friends for years, or we work with them. What should you do if a mean person happens to sniper shoot you unexpectedly? The typical response we make to a Mean Old Junk Yard Dog is either silence or a pained expression. Anything you do that isn’t retaliatory is basically a gesture of “Please, walk all over me again!” Instead, turn the gun around! Your next Mean Old Junk Yard Dog conversation should end in smiles. For example:
Mean Old Junk Yard Dog: (Full of piss and vinegar) Don’t tell me you are going to wear that old thing again…
You: (Full of glee) Yep!
MOJYD: I’ve always thought it was ugly…
You: (With smiles that could dim the sun) Well, then it’s a pretty good thing you don’t have to wear it!
Feel free to use that whenever you want. And…You’re welcome!