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Pre-Emptive Disclaimer: I Am Sure Many Well Endowed, Nice Men Own Chevys

So while I was at IKEA getting the desk and office chair for the living room, I also picked up another Billy bookshelf.
Digression: The books in my house all seem to share rabbit ancestry; I am POSITIVE that the second I leave ANY room with more than one book in it (read: every room in my house), they all leap back in into the frenzied orgy they must have constantly going to produce so many MORE AND MORE books.

Even now, in the basement I am pretty sure Madame Bovary is writhing joyously in the arms of the Lord of the Flies, and soon there will be a littler of dystopian-feminist novel hybrids novels clotting up the playroom, hoping to hook up with some randy volumes of poetry later and make more, but these ones might have their father’s iambic pentameter. And I don’t even want to IMAGINE what must be going on between A Soft Place to Land and A Good Hard Look, both of which are sitting on the table RIGHT BY MY CONVENIENT BED.

Back to the main point: I found a man to get the objects I needed out of the bins for me and dump them in a cart, and then I wheeled them to check out. Once there, I was completely distracted by lingonberry jam and started wondering if I could get a big old bag frozen meatballs safely and frozenly home or if they would thaw out and turn poisonous in the BOILING car.

A nice IKEA lady filled a freezer bag with ice for me, so I got the meatballs and jam and some weird cookies, and in all this I-MISSED-LUNCH food thinking, I didn’t realize until I had LEFT Ikea that I had three VERY heavy and cumbersome flat furniture packets to try and lift off a cart and wedge into my car, alone, in 102 degree heat. SUPER. FUN.

So…there I am.

I get the chair in, easy, and then I struggle the bookshelf into loaded submission, but the desk…it cannot be done. It cannot be done by me. I try and try, while my rebellious cart keeps trying to escape and go bang into station wagon, and I can feel that little prickle in my back that tells me if I ask it for one more millimeter of effort it is going to snap like a june pea, and freshets of slickery sweat pour out of all my skin, so that I feel insta-soaked in body-slime.

About fifteen people pass me in the ten minutes I spend locked in mortal combat with that freaking DESK. I try to catch the eye of ANY of them, and fail.

They are not MEAN, they are just busy, they do not notice, and I am too Southern/passive-aggressive/Southern/Female/Martyred/embarrassed/SOUTHERN/stupid/social awkward/Ssssssoutherrrrrn to call out and ASK DIRECTLY for help.

DIGRESSION: I am almost physically incapable of saying, “Would you please help me?” to another human being. It gives me stress hives to ask my husband, who is nice, and who adores me, to get me a cup of coffee. I am genetically programmed, instead, to sigh and look coffee-lorn until he notices and offers. IT IS STUPID AND PATHETIC TO BE THIS WAY, and when I notice I am doing it, I FORCE myself to ask directly for the coffee, even though it gives me a flash of sick in the pit of my stomach.

Let me just say this—-the not asking, the hoping someone notices? It works a lot better when you are twenty-two. Especially if you are wearing a bikini. Frumpy mommy-ladies in Capri pants are kinda invisible.
SO there I am, and a little voice in the back of my head begins saying, “You are three minutes from sitting down in the road and crying; ABANDON the cart and desk and drive away before that happens.”
Just then I hear a roaring and some COMPLETE WEASEL in a Chevy Avalanche decides to speed-continental drift his ENORMOUS compensation of a vehicle BACKWARD into the teeny space by my car. Backwards. I am so invisible to him that not only does he not offer to help me, but to avoid having hit the cart and pin me against my OWN bumper with it, I have to SCRAMBLE into the back of my car and JERK the cart backwards, flush up against the bumper.

He doesn’t even notice. He parks his behemoth at such an angle I KNOW I will have to see-saw back and forth to get out, and hops out and jauntily saunters off, beepitty-beeping his autolock over one should as he stomps off.

Suddenly I am done wanting to cry. Instead? I want to shoot someone in the face. A very specific someone, a jaunty beepitty Avalanche owning someone who I am guessing has a remarkably small penis. My Irish temper is a BLESSING sometimes, I tell you. I leapt out of the car, grabbed that desk like it was a Buick parked on top of a baby, picked it up like it weighed NOTHING , and HEAVED it airborne into the back of the car. Honestly, I should have screamed HULK SMASH while doing it, that’s how DOWN TO THE ID DEEP the adrenalin surge of unadulterated rage went.

So while Irish rage flares allowed my tale to have a happy ending with more DESKS brought home and less weeping like a loser in a parking lot, today I have a mission, and it is to NOTICE people struggling. I am a hugely UNOBSERVANT person whose eyeballs flip inward to think about plot and character, and I am crazy with BACK TO SCHOOL and LIFE to do lists like everyone else alive, but I want to notice MORE than just “Here is a person or person shaped object. I should probably actively work to NOT hit it with my car.” ALTHOUGH not hitting people with cars IS important, I want to kick my noticing of others PAST the “not accidentally crippling them” level.
SO! When I go to Target to get school supplies, to Kroger to get milk and apples, I am going to keep my eyes open for people with too much on their hands, and offer to help.

Because that guy is a douche. And he is legion.

It will take a lot of anti-douchery to counter even ONE of him. So I am going to try to spill some anti-douche energy energy around today. Maybe even tomorrow. Hopefully more. For as long as I can remember to look around.

21 comments to Pre-Emptive Disclaimer: I Am Sure Many Well Endowed, Nice Men Own Chevys

  • :::whispers::: You do know that on your way out the door in IKEA, you can ask for someone to help load your car? Hulking boys in tight blue shirts will muscle those heavy boxes into your car like they’re lifting bags of marshmallows. They aren’t always pretty boys, but with those muscles, who cares? :::/whispers:::

    On the plus side, when you hit my age, young men notice you struggling and do offer to help…

  • I like to offer help when I see people struggling, especially when I, myself, have been in the same situation and wanted to sit down and cry (this has happened, many, many times – the wanting to sit down and cry part). So, a few weeks ago at the grocery store I noticed and related to a woman who was struggling to keep her kids under control. She hit and knocked down a display of kitchen tools with her cart, and since my kids were contained, I asked if I could help. She said sure, and then watched as I picked them all up all by myself. I felt a little less sorry for her after that.

  • Jessica

    Is THAT what these books are doing behind my back? Because the first thing people comment on when they come into my apartment is all the books we have (and they are also on Billy bookcases). And I know it’s a side effect of having two people with varying levels of literature degrees who got married, lo those years ago, and still love to read (and have a hard time getting rid of any book they’ve purchased, even the ones from childhood and adolescence), but there has to be something else going on to have this many books running around our apartment at any given moment.

    Also, what the heck is up with men in large vehicles feeling the need to back in everywhere they go and attempt either to hit someone else’s vehicle or to run over a person that is running to get out of their way? I thought it was just a local problem, as I see it all the time up here.

  • linda j

    I bet he would have been nicer if he would have known it was a BEST SELLING author that was next to him…

  • I have been in your ikea shoes. Not. Fun.

    And I have had my own help-missions. After I hauled my kid’s stroller through snow and up stairs and through the Boston transit system, I decided to help any mom with a stroller I saw. And I valiantly did. I even helped a lady carry her MASSIVE stroller up and down a hill because the sidewalks were shoveled too narrow for it to fit. I will have to remember that next winter, I always felt like such a good deed-doer.

  • Myra

    I think we could all do with a little actively looking for someone in need of assistance. The world would maybe be just a little bit nicer. And it would shame all those Avalanche-driving meatheads when they see us petite Southern flowers helping where they didn’t.

  • I have had my share of douche-baggy types and I COMMEND your efforts to spread anti-douche baggery help to any AND everyone. I am with ya. All it takes is opening our eyes. . .and sometimes you don’t even have to LIFT anything–you just get to push a baby in the rolling high chair in the barbecue line while his Momma wrangles the 3 year old and slides three trays down the metal tubes to the check-out saying, “I know it was INSANE for me to come here with them alone. Thank you SOOOOOOOO much.” While pushing the (fussy, crying) baby since you, the Scary Stranger, are behind him, he has NO IDEA that the fingers leafing through his fine, baby hair are those of someone he does not know–he sees his Momma in front, and feels fingers that have managed baby hair before stroking to soothe his fussy,crying nerves, THEREBY also soothing the nerves of all the other patrons in the line, and all is right with the world. In fact, the baby doesn’t even KNOW a Scary Stranger has been the one pushing him along even after you deposit him (and one of the three trays) at the table for the mommy (turns out she teaches at the same school as your 7th grade American History teacher–it PAYS to be nice and behave wherever you go.) It is though he has been hushed along one the wings of angels.

    SOMETIMES it is turning to the young mother in the check-out line at Wal-Mart who is SHAKILY standing her ground as her overly-tired three year old screams because she can’t have gum and telling her she is doing a GOOD job by standing that ground, because in ten years it will so TOTALLY be worth it.

    More than anything, I commend you on not pulling a (justifiable) “Fried Green Tomatoes” car attack on the Avalanche as you do not want to damage The Good Cat.

  • Jill W.

    My husband drives an Avalanche… but he is as southern as you are and absolutely would have noticed that a lady was struggling and would have offered to help. He does that sort of thing all the time-it’s one of my favorite things about him. Sorry the d-bag who parked next to you was not so gentlemanly.

    I try to help people when I can. Also, I like to sometimes pay for the car behind me in line in a drive-through. My daughter thinks that one is great fun.

  • JulieB

    I love the pay it forward reminder. We shall be a legion of warm fuzzies.

  • rams

    Well, you didn’t copy down his license number and post it here on the Internet. That ought to count for something.

  • Em

    Tell you what, you at least get to help people and possibly get some great stories. My husband and I, when we were barely out of teenagerhood, helped an old woman having car trouble. I still remember my husband’s baby face looking up at me from the ground, where he was trying to fix the broken when it became apparent that this sweet little old lady was batshit crazy and possibly in the midst of a domestic conflict with her lesbian lover. We still ended up driving her home and listening to all the lunacy in her head. From the experience I got a great memory and my husband got a great excuse not to necessarily help somebody just because I ask him to.

  • pam

    I am joining the Joshily Jackson Anti-Douchery Army (JJADA) – like taadaa…except not.

  • Brigitte

    The hulk-smash adrenaline surge made me laugh out loud, I too have frequently gained super-strength in the throes of blinding anger.

    Since hubby got a delivery job, he sees lots of people who go right past him struggling to hold a door open while getting the fully-loaded dolly cart through . . and they assume he’s opening the door for THEM and say “thanks!” and blithely stroll on by! Dorks. It must happen to all the delivery guys, judging from the looks of shocked delight when I hold the door open for the UPS man or somesuch.

    Now I hesitate to think what my old book of naughty French poetry is up to in the basement with all those boxes of books . .

  • JenniferG

    I am a Chicagoland girl (so NOT southern) and I would have totally called the Avalanche douche guy out and given him a talking-to. If my sister was with me we would have intimidated him into a blob of wuss – we actually did this once, very satisfying. And we pretty harmless looking and quite charming otherwise.

    Sign me up the JJADA too – I think there is a general lack of manners in society and we need to counteract all the douchery!

    @Brigitte: I open doors for delivery guys to our building all the time, like the poor guy running in with a package during a torrential downpour last week.

  • Remember right after 9/11, when everybody was so nice to each other? I miss that … thanks for the reminder to help other people. I think that’s part of why we’re here.

  • I love this. 🙂

    It reminds me of my anti-road-rage game… I give myself a point for every nice thing I do in traffic. I used to try get to work with at least ten points. If someone does something really rude and I don’t flip him off… I give myself at least two points for keeping my temper in check. 🙂

  • liz

    Someone did not raise that boy right.

  • Michelle-who-is-Shelley

    First, what liz said.
    Second, I have been in a Michigan equivalent of that situation (car stuck in the snow plow detris at the end of my driveway). Several men drove right past me without even a glance. It was the WOMEN who stopped to help.

  • First, I can tell that you are in the throes of drafting a novel from the way you are writing blog posts. Especially this one. It’s a GOOD thing, I can hear your novel spilling out.

    When we were in Rome, we were humping our laundry to the laundry place and we passed this little old lady who was struggling a microwave in a box across the street, and she could BARELY do it. We left her there in the middle of the road in tears, and I always regret… NO JUST KIDDING. We helped her hump her lousy microwave about three blocks to her car. HAHAHA. Got you.

  • Lori B.

    Jill W. and I are married to the same type of Avalanche-driving man. Mine only parks backwards if necessary, and he would just die before he’d walk by a woman needing help. When he runs at 0′ dark thirty in the morning, he knows that it scares female runners to hear him come thundering up behind them. He used to call out that he was passing them, but that scared them, too. Now I think he crosses the street in a vain attempt not to give them a heart attack. (Men running up behind me and scaring me is a great excuse for me to stay in bed and sleep at 0′ dark thirty, instead of run.) He also opens doors for ladies, gives them a seat if one is not available for them, and stands up when a lady comes to or exits the table. He’s quite the gentleman. I think your Avalanche driver has ruined the reputations of Avalanche drivers everywhere, and it cannot stand! We must hunt him down and take his truck from him. Who’s with me?

  • Beth

    Thank you for opening my eyes to a goal I can set for yourself.