Becoming Sensitive to Insensitivity

Me, me, me

Illustration by Breanna Cooke

Is it just me, or did everyone jump on a rocket ship to narcissism-land?

Last week I saw a woman walking through the middle of the parking lot. Her roll was extra slow, oblivious to the world around her. Cars impatiently lined up, all waiting to park. She was busy texting. As I walked past her, I said: “Careful, you’re about to be run over.”

I can’t help but wonder if we’re not all living in our own little bubble of one, myself included! I find myself wanting to say something about someone’s egotistical behavior much more frequently. Clearly I’m becoming sensitive to insensitivity.

A gym friend is magical at calling someone out on their behavior, but in the nicest way possible. “I’m sure the other ladies would appreciate if you cleaned up after yourself,” she’ll say sweetly to the woman who leaves shaving cream all over the shower wall, refuses to throw away her used razor, and piles wet towels on the floor for someone else to pick up.

Narcissism is All the Rage

I’m not sure if we’ve all become insensitive, or had our water replaced with vinegar, but something has made us more narcissistic. Not at all sensitive to our own insensitivity.

Naturally, I blame Donald Trump. When you’ve got a president spewing his morning “me, me, me” venom on Twitter, maybe it’s natural we follow suit? Perhaps that his election is the excuse we’ve all been looking for to act like self-centered jerks and forget that our actions have real consequences on the lives of others.

A woman at the gym comes into a class after it starts and maneuvers herself to center-stage. Getting her hair properly into an “I Dream of Jeannie” ponytail takes an entire song. I seethe on the inside then realize this may be intentional. “She wants everyone to look at her!”

I know that I probably have no room to talk. I am a total hypocrite, probably more than I realize. When I get out of the shower, I don’t dry my feet. My wet footprints sort of make me feel like a penguin, and I like it. It drives boyfriend nuts. I’m working on it and trying to be more aware of how my actions can upset others.

Dude Needs an Office

Starbucks. A community space, a spot to work and unsecure WiFi. I try not to complain about the cost of a drink because it’s still cheaper than renting an office. I notice a guy coming out of the bathroom wearing a headset and talking. In the john. Gross.

The only place to sit is a table of six where one person’s stuff takes up four spaces, which seems like it should be impossible. A full-size keyboard is plopped on the table in front of the laptop, which is pushed all the way to the other side of the table, rendering two spots useless. A third chair is filled with a work bag. The fourth spot is filled with blueprints and fat highlighters. I push the chair with the brown leather work bag away so I can try to submerge myself into a chair. The guy from the bathroom comes flying in from outside. He saw me touch the chair. He pushes the chair closer to me, like a dog peeing on his territory. Dude needs an office.

Whole Foods parking lot at dinner. The place is packed but I can’t leave until I deal with work emails. It takes me a minute to realize someone is honking at me. The truck next to me, waiving me to roll down my window. “Did I leave my gas cap open again?” I ask. At least this time I remembered to pull out the gas nozzle. He ignores my questions. “Looks like you’ve got some damage on your car.”

“That’s what I do. I fix that,” he says while I read the wrapping all over his truck, proselytizing his services. “I can give you a quote. Want me to do that?” I decline and he refuses to hear my no, only focused on himself and how he can make a sale, convinced I’m the one. “It’s real quick.”

A few more rounds until he finally gives up and stops hassling me, yet I’m left feeling annoyed with his self-centered audacity. So there I sit, brake lights on, indicating I’m ready to vacate my much desired parking spot. And I sit, leisurely responding to emails while dozens of cars troll about for a place to park.

Katy Trail Weekly is where this column originally appeared.
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