Friday, April 10, 2009

Seven Non-Conflicts

I started writing DoNotReact to find out why I get in fights with people. Before putting any of it down, I foresaw ample source material—I was shouting at someone or being shouted at at least twice a week. But as soon as I began describing the whys and wherefores, I stopped having conflictive interactions altogether. Below, please see a quick summary of seven such non-conflicts:

Line etiquette 1
Lady in line steps ahead of me.
Me: Are you trying to jump me?
Lady: Why no!
Me: No problem.

Line etiquette 2
A girl in a different line backs into me. I say nothing. She backs into me again. I say nothing.

Insults 1
I am waiting on my bike in a crosswalk. A lady walks by me with an expression of venomous contempt.
Lady: Do you even know what you're doing?
I think: I know what you're doing—eating 5000 calories a day and sitting very still in one place.
I say: Nothing.

A three-year old on my flight to Los Angeles was speaking loudly the entire flight. She and her family were en route to Hawaii. Her parents' main strategy was stalwart disdain, which produced the sentence, "Mommy? Daddy? Grandpa?" roughly two-thousand times in a row, at the exact same pitch, cadence, and volume. Her father had a pronounced adam's apple and was wearing a baseball cap advertising a brand of dirtbikes. When she plead with him to be taken to the bathroom, he exhaled, grabbed her roughly from her seat and stood her in the aisle. On the way, her foot collided with his glass and spilled coke everywhere. He barked, "Good one, Heather, way to go," and dragged her off to the bathroom.
I think: You lousy meth-head cocksucker why don't you at least get her a fucking coloring book. 
I say: Nothing.

Consumer Affairs
I was in Los Angeles eager to get back to New York. It was 7:45am. I discovered at the ticket counter that Delta had bumped my flight ahead to the next day. 
Me: Change is: learning you're stuck in LAX for 24 hours!
Ticket Agent: what?
Me: There must be something available arriving in JFK today.
Ticket Agent: Let me call a supervisor.
(one hour passes)
Supervisor: How about 2:45, arriving tonight at 11:06?
Me: Ok.

Insults 2
A lady called me a jackass.
That's what happened. I said nothing.

Life & Limb
I was in the bike lane on 2nd avenue and a delivery truck began to park on me. I slapped the side of his truck with my palm and he came to a jerky halt. He was angled in toward the sidewalk, effectively cutting me off. I rode up to his window which was half-way down and rested my hand on it. His cheeks were acne-scarred and his teeth were small and spaced far apart.
Me: What the fuck? You were jut gonna run me down, huh?
Driver: Stares blankly.
Me: Well?
Driver: What do you want?
Me: An explanation!
Driver: Just get out the way, man.
He rolled up his window and buckled up. A few other bikers had gathered. I considered blocking his escape, smashing his window with my lock, or even calling the police. I rode away.


  1. Maybe you should have snatched the poor little girl in the airplane.

  2. this is a pretty great catalog. you should keep it going.