As I have occasionally noted, the Viennese don't win any blue ribbons for their manners on the street and in the subway. Old people scowl at you if you jaywalk, and I've had middle aged hausfraus scold me for allowing V. to stand on a subway station bench (with her filthy shoes!) One could chalk it up to cultural differences--god knows, after living in New York City for eighteen years, I have my own idears about how people should be civil to each other. But because this is a blog (and I'll rant if I want to), I prefer to suggest that this city is rife with sourpusses, old cunts (both male and female) and members of the Nazi Party (both former and current.)
Bad manners can't account for some of what I've encountered over the last twenty-four hours, though. It must be something in the water. Or just something in men.
At the office, our security guard got into a Code Red shouting match with the nephew of one of our refugee clients. In the playground, a drunken looneybird lurched at two different African kids before settling into a nice abusive tirade against a woman who apparently knew him. But the topper was the man on the 14A bus.
We were nearing my stop when I became aware of a couple of older women standing next to me and shifting around uncomfortably. I looked up to see a youngish man sitting across from a very small young woman, with two empty seats between them. The man had his feet up in one of the empty seats. There was a murmur in the air. I thought it might be good to make the point to the guy that someone else might like to sit in that seat.
So I stood up and crossed the aisle, looked down at him and his feet, and said "Excuse me."
I said it twice more, then looked at the seat and back at him, and said, "May I?"
He stared straight ahead and said nothing. He was pinkish, possibly high, and his expression looked like something which had been honed in schoolyards, then barrooms, then jail.
"Wow," I said sarcastically, to myself and those around us. Then I moved to the door, and got ready to get off the bus.
As I turned around and looked back at him, he was looking over at the tiny young woman across from him and pointing out the window. Get out, he was saying.
When I got off the bus, I was almost shaking with rage.
I knew that this mad asshole would be attacking someone or being attacked in a matter of minutes, somewhere down the line. I told myself it would have been beyond stoopid for me to fuck with the guy. Still, I felt this fury, and I felt insulted to my bones.
I've always been like that. Whenever I see a boy or a man act that monstrously, I see red. And I think monstrous things (...hmmm, my house keys shoved through his--hmm, yes that would do it....)
Is this just the way men are? Can we really become beasts in a matter of seconds? I wonder.
The fact is that I didn't do anything stupid yesterday morning when I encountered this poopoo head. What troubles me is that I'm not sure if I was smart or merely cowardly. And what troubles me more is that the incident still made me mad enough to spit fire.
Is it just me, or is this a guy thing?