27 08 2008

I was running around a bit yesterday when I found myself while enjoying a brief moment of respite in the city hall parking lot, hoping to catch a mayor/council member on their way out of a closed session.  The Dodger game was on the car radio; I was wearing the appropriate garb (Garb should be a new age clothing store. Or a swear word) for a city council meeting, which is to say that I was far from my optimal Dodger game enjoyment outfit of shorts and a ripped shirt. 

It was perfect. 

Naturally, as soon as I made my way into the building to check on the progress of the session, some snot-nosed little ball of pretension asked me: “Can I help you?

Realize this: I have only ever given the most cursory of efforts to evaluate my personality type, but even these efforts have agreed with my own notions about my being judgmental.  I take some kind of perverse pride in my (probably overrated) acute ability to evaluate people from the moment of our first interaction.  I’m not unique in this way, to be sure.  To some degree, everyone picks up on intonations, inflections and body language in their relations with other people.  I simply prefer to exercise this act of observation on a more intense level than other people I know.  I would never deny that it is a rather arrogant thing to do, especially given the amount of times I have incorrectly pigeonholed those that deserved much better estimations of their value.  Nevertheless, I have found my observances and deductions to be accurate (to a greater or lesser degree) the vast majority of the time. 

So you can understand why I saw no problem in immediately pegging this guy in his late 20s as a patronizing ass from head to toe.

Upon seeing the main council chamber doors open and the room empty, I asked this fellow, the only person around, if everyone had already left for the evening. Thus continued our exchange:

“Yes, they’re all gone.”

 “Oh, that’s too bad, I was hoping to talk to a few of the council members after their closed session.”

“Oh, are you doing a project for class or something?”

“I’m with a newspaper and I had a few questions about the new City Manager selection process.”

“Oh, what newspaper are you with?”

– Understand now, how annoyed I was at his line of questioning so far. He first assumed I was a student, which might have been excusable given my age alone, but my attire and demeanor both suggested, in my mind, someone who knew the drill, had done it many times before, and was not asking for a tour guide. He, however, chose to assault (and make no mistake, that’s exactly what he was doing) my justification for being in the public hall during normal hours and requesting to speak with public employees. However, I would have just written off the encounter had he not then proceeded to really irritate my sense of respect. –

“I’m with the City Insider.”

“Oh. Well, they’re in a closed session right now.”

“Yes, I know. I was at the meeting, but I was hoping to get a word with one of them afterwards.”

“Oh, well they’re going to be in there for a little while, but I can’t really say how long it will be.”

“All right, well I have a deadline to meet for some other pieces tonight, so I’ll just come back tomorrow afternoon and talk to some other people.”

“Oh, well you see, the council members don’t keep regular office hours.”

“Yes. I know. I was planning on speaking to the city clerk or someone instead.”

“Well, you could wait around here if you like; they might not be that much longer.”

At which point I told him no, thank you, I need to be going, and promptly walked out the door muttering rude epithets about his faux hawk under my breath.

Really, I have patiently endured belittling and flagrantly insulting people time after time; the sneer metrosexuals with an intolerable air of arrogance and implicit contempt, however, need do very little to drive me right to the brink of unprofessionalism and scorn. 

Also murder.


(Fresh and Easy’s delightfully priced wares proved to be sorely inadequate consolation for such an inane and demeaning encounter. Quelf, however, managed to reclaim my formerly affable nature through much more unconventional means.)



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