Exhibit A: The Gym and the Lady with the Remote.
Background: there are 9 televisions in the cardio room of my gym. Only 8 of them have picture and only 7 have sound, but I digress. There are little headphone jacks on the machines that you plug into so you can listen to a particular TV. There is only one remote for the nine TVs, and they are all on the same satellite system. If you hold the remote too far away, there is a chance that more than one TV will pick up the remote signal and change channels as well.
Scenario: Friday afternoon, work let out early for the long weekend so I headed to the gym for a nice long workout. I'm happily pumping away on the elliptical trainer when a woman of about 50 years old comes up holding the remote. Following protocol, she asks if anyone is watching TV 2. Yes, someone is. TV 3? no. TV 4? Yes, I say, I'm watching TV 4. So she stands back, points the remote up, and changes TV 3 from golf to St. Elsewhere on Bravo, at the same time switching TV 4 from the MTV marathon of videos that won VMAs last week also to St. Elsewhere. She starts to walk away. I turn around and ask, rather politely, I might add, "before you go, could you turn TV 4 back to the channel it was on?" She asks me the number of the channel, which I do not know. However, there is a channel list at the back of the room. She stares at me. I stare at her back and then give her the "well?" gesture. She stares at me some more and says "if you don't know the channel number I don't know what I'm supposed to do". I swipe the remote from her hand and say "you could at least try to help" and she looks all shocked and says "hey, I didn't do it on purpose."
Conclusion (or, What I should have said): What are you, FIVE? You didn't do it on PURPOSE? Look, you did it. You know you did it. The mature, polite thing to do is fix it. There is no way this is anyone else's fault but yours. You inconvenienced someone who went out of their way to ask you not to and now you make it right. Intent is not the issue.
Exhibit B: The Metro and the Shiftless Pile of Shit.
Background: Metro Center is probably the most busy station in the entire Metro system. A full train will nearly empty and then fill up again when stopped there. The train empties, *then* new passengers board. The train conductor announces each station when approaching, and announces on which side the doors will open upon arrival.
Scenario: Train arrives at Metro Center. Passengers unload. The first waiting passengers in the crowd peek into the train, see no one else getting off, and begin to load. Train fills. Man sitting in the center of the train slowly stands up, plows through the crowd (in no hurry, mind you, just pushing everyone) chanting "COMINOFFCOMINOFFCOMINOFFCOMINOFFCOMINOF
Conclusion (or what my disgusted snort that the lady behind me heard meant): You shiftless lazy pile of shit. You know the train is coming to the station. You saw the people preparing to get off. You watched as the new passengers boarded. THEN you decide to get your lazy ass out of your chair and push people out of your way, in essence, turning it into everyone else's problem but your own: it's that people are in his way not that he waited until the last minute to get off. Had he missed the stop, I predict there would have been loud yelling and a general commotion. Were you waiting for mommy to tell you it's time to get off? Does someone need to hold your hand?
I often wonder how many people around me actually passed kindergarten.