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(sigh) time to start training again

I studied aikido back in 1980 when I was living in Berkeley. Six months, but it gave me reasonable poise in weird situations for a long time.

Unfortunately stress cataplexy is part of narcolepsy, and mine is worse. If I get really angry, I shake and can't focus well.

So, when I come across something really stupid, I'm not able to deal with it like I should.

Today, in the store, very busy, and a man in his late 20s was standing in front of the entrance to the only lane that wasn't full. He had a six-pack of that cheap-ass party wine (1.5liter bottles) and looked like he was off in outer space; the woman in front of him was beginning to sign her check and the loading area was empty, so after about 30 seconds, I cleared my throat and asked, "Excuse me, sir? Are you in line here?"

He looked at me with the same drunken outerspace stare, then said, "WHUT? You talking to ME?"

"Uh, yes, are you in line? Because if so, would you please move forward so other people can get in line and I won't be blocking them?"

"YOU DID NOT JUST START WITH ME! YOU dont want to MESS with me, MAN"

To my disgrace I didn't just shrug, say "Whatever (drunkard)" and leave. Instead, I said, "What messing? I just asked you if you were in line, and if you were to step forward."

At that point I met his gaze, and glared at him for far too long, before saying, "You're not worth it, asshole," and going to another register. When I got there I was shaking like anything.

So, I know I handled it wrong, but was I wrong to ask him if he was in line?
And was his reaction appropriate?

This is, however, a definite "get your butt back to the dojo" reminder.


( 17 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 17th, 2007 03:52 am (UTC)
The mistake was in not letting the cashier determine what to do about the situation. The drunk might have not have acted much better toward her, but at least 1) it would be a situation he could recognize as typical, 2) if there was a problem, the cashier could call a manager or security as backup.

Aikido would not have been the answer unless we are referring strictly to the "threat assessment" stage... in that situation I would have erred on the side of letting the cashier set the pace of events.

Another note, sometimes I give the person in front of me a lot of space even when stone sober :)
Feb. 17th, 2007 03:55 am (UTC)
Well, Aikido not as in "boot to the head" but as in "training in centering oneself".
Feb. 17th, 2007 08:16 am (UTC)
Agreed. I studied aikido, Tai Chi, and iaido for non-improvement-related periods of time, and what I got out of them was a much better sense of self. The aikido/T'ai Chi response to this situation would have been a recentering of self.

That said, foomf, man, I hate people like that these days.
Feb. 17th, 2007 07:10 pm (UTC)
Trouble is, the attempt to refocus was blocked by the neurotransmitter drop.
Feb. 17th, 2007 06:48 pm (UTC)
The cashier was dealing with the customer and was about 15 feet away, completely unaware of the idiot.
Feb. 17th, 2007 06:56 pm (UTC)
I got that part okay, but assuming I have the right idea about how everyone was placed, I was thinking that she was almost through with the other customer. After he wrote his check and left, she might have seen the other person and either waved him over or out of the way. But if I got everyone's starting places wrong, my observation was probably not worth much.
Feb. 17th, 2007 07:28 pm (UTC)
He was still serving the customer when I left. Credit card transaction.
He did not look up until I raised my voice at the end. The aisle was completely filled with people who were trying to get past.

This particular safeway has end caps on each side of the 'rolling track counter'; they are about 3 feet wide, just long enough to fit a shopping cart into and unload onto the end of the track.

Mr. Bad Movie Dialogue was standing a foot or so back from the entrance, hence my wondering if he was actually in line, as that's the sort of thing people do when they haven't decided if they have everything.
Feb. 17th, 2007 07:33 pm (UTC)
Gotcha. Lets hope this learns me to pipe down when I have no mental map of the situation whatsoever.

Feb. 17th, 2007 07:42 pm (UTC)
Or just ask a clarifying question. For the model you had, I would have done exactly what you suggested - waited for the cashier to call him.
Feb. 17th, 2007 07:29 pm (UTC)
Also, learn more about aikido. It's not about boot to the head. It has no attacks.
Feb. 17th, 2007 07:35 pm (UTC)
Only portral of Aikido I ever saw was a ridiculous bit of tomfoolery by Dan Ackroyd in "Dr Detroit" (gotta love the cameo by Howard "Johnny Fever" Hesseman)...

Color me a double doofus.
Feb. 17th, 2007 04:55 am (UTC)
*giggling over the boot to the head reference... I do LOVE the Frantics.

I think you were perfectly within reason to ask if he was in line.
and he was waaaaaaaaaaay out in space land with his answer. I'd have given him plenty of room
Feb. 17th, 2007 04:54 pm (UTC)
Im glad to hear you're thinking of taking steps toward improving your situation. But no, you did nothing wrong of course, the guy was just an asshat. Too many of those in this world, I think.
Feb. 17th, 2007 06:38 pm (UTC)
I think you handled it fine. I probably would have determined the guy was not on this planet and then moved to the line furthest away (which he then probably would have also moved to), just so I didn't have to deal with him at all

If he wasn't on this planet, then none of his responses would make any sense to earthlings anyway. I suppose to him it was appropriate.
Feb. 17th, 2007 06:50 pm (UTC)
I think he learned his social skills from action movies.
Feb. 17th, 2007 06:56 pm (UTC)
Then he should know that people like him wind up run over in the parking lot or have their head kicked off by Jean-Claude Van Damme.
Feb. 17th, 2007 07:31 pm (UTC)
Sadly, on reflection, he reminds me a lot of the kind of thinking my stepbrother Robert does - and Robert is a paranoid schizophrenic who lives in a special treatment residence.
( 17 comments — Leave a comment )