I’m not perfect. Far from it. My past is littered with daily mistakes. And it’s not like I’m leaving this species anytime soon; I’m an imperfect human, living an imperfect life, like all of us. More daily mistakes are sure to follow.
But, I believe I follow the basic norms of decency and common sense. That’s why I don’t eat a soft pretzel while pooping.
Exactly. There are just sooooo many things wrong with the combination of gnawing on a snack in the bathroom stall with fecal matter coming out of your butt. Yet, it happened. I shit you not. (What did you think of that, Dear Reader? I made a pun. Yay! And about poop, no less.😬)
It happened like this: I entered the bathroom in the local Wawa.
A point of clarification: Wawa is a convenience store in the Pennsylvania neck of the woods. Think 7-Eleven, except dramatically better. Gas, decent food, and pretty darn good coffee, all rolled into one.
Interesting and coincidental aside: I have another bone to pick with humanity, routinely evident at Wawa. More on this later.
Back to the story:
So I walked into the bathroom, assaulted by this horrible stench. Disgusted, I hurried to pee. (I pee, a lot. I haven’t measured my bladder against the national average, but if I did, I’m confident it would be in the 99th percentile for being abnormally small. Accidentally peeing myself is not an uncommon occurrence. 😢😢)
Get back on track, Markie!
Bathroom + poop stench + me peeing = you’re all caught up!
Next, with my nostrils angry at me for placing them in a stinky environment, I hear loud talking coming from the only occupied stall. So the perpetrator of the vile odor was shitting and talking—loud as F—on a cell phone. Who does that?! I mean, seriously?!?!
Pet peeve: Loudly talking on a cell phone in a public place is just…rude. Like, dude, I do NOT want to hear about your hemorrhoids or relationship issues as I’m waiting to board a plane. Nor do the other 50 people that can hear your conversation, twenty feet away.
Back at Wawa: Shocked and eager to give my nose a break, I hustle to leave, washing my hands. As I’m taking care of my hygiene, the dude leaves the stall, cell phone in one hand, Soft pretzel in another. He continues his conversation, takes a bite, and exits the restroom.
I look down at my hands, still under the running water, than look over at the slowly closing men’s room door. What the F did I just witness? A bowel movement, a public phone conversation, and a simultaneous snack consumption, all rolled into one. Follow that up with his unwashed hands, transferring feces on the door handle, coffee supplies, and who knows what the F else.
Listen, I’m low-key appalled when people don’t wash their hands after urinating. Not washing their hands after taking a dump just takes the depravity to another level.
More instances of F’ed up human behavior:
Double-door and/or walking direction violations. As I said earlier, Wawa is responsible for producing another of my gripes against humankind. Here it is. When opening a double door, open the door on the right. The entrance/exit is like a road. Stay to the right. Same for walking paths. Stay to the right, as if the pathway is a mini-road. When you don’t follow this basic rule, head on confrontations result. Like I recently experienced down the beach. Proceeding along the rubber mat from the boardwalk, leading towards the ocean, everyone stayed on the right side. Except this jerk I ran into, who decided English driving rules applied. We stopped, staring at each other. A brief stalemate before she said in a snippy manor, “Well, what are we going to do here?” My response? “Walk on the right side, like the rest of humanity.” Indignantly, she moved out of the way, giving me major side-eye. What makes this even more shake-your-head-in-disbelief worthy? One, the beach entrance was slammed, making it very challenging to move out of the way without cutting in front of someone, which would be moderately dickish behavior. And I’m not a dick. Second reason this interaction was even more unbelievable? I was pulling a beach wagon, full of stuff. In this woman’s mind, however, it was easier for me to drag the wagon out of her way, allowing her empty-handed ass to stroll on by.
One week later, also at the beach, here’s what I encountered:
What do you see here, Dear Reader? I’ll tell you what I see:
- A beautiful, glorious day. The weatherman was whack, predicting a cloudy day with rain. The result? A day where I had minimal expectations with respect to Mother Nature. (See, there’s that thing about expectations again. Low expectations = sometimes, reality exceeds your preconceived notions = a great day. Alternatively: High expectations = sometimes, reality blows in comparison to your preconceived notions = a shitty day. Remember when you went to a movie where you expected greatness and got meh? Yeah, that sort of thing. More on expectations in my first blog, https://theramblingsofamadman.blog/2022/07/17/140000-miles/. Check it out! Some good stuff there, in my humble opinion.)
- Since the weatherman was whack, the beach was maybe 50% capacity. Note lots of open sand in photos above.
- Also note the wagon, next to the hole in the sand. (This is the same wagon where I had the head-on encounter with the woman walking on the wrong side of the pathway. One week later, same beach, different a-hole.) The wagon’s there to block this little girl from sitting in that spot, as her and her father were, seconds ago. They decided that, despite all the open territory surrounding, the best spot for her father to lay in the sand and be buried was right there, with the girl’s back just inches from my f’ing tent. When they were there, I was lying inside the tent, engulfed in anxiety, hearing the loud-ass voices of the father-daughter combo, all-the-while low-key concerned that sand was going to be tossed on my head through the tent’s screen window. For added irritation another tiny sibling was in the mix, constantly fighting with his sister. No joke, if I pushed on the wall if the tent, I could poke the little girl’s back.
A point of clarification: I LOVE kids. I have six of my own, and I love them beyond words. I coach youth soccer and kids just generally make me smile. I don’t fault the brother/sister for invading my personal space. Not in the least. The father, on the other hand? Clueless, and very likely a close-talker, getting up in people’s grills on a daily basis.
For those of you “Dear” Readers thinking, “Stop being a baby. Not a big deal, Markie.”:
Stop being so judgy! We’re just getting to know each, Dear Reader. Don’t ruin our budding relationship! If you were in the same situation, I’m sure you would’ve had a somewhat similar reaction: annoyance + disbelief = a feeling of shock = a feeling that I was being pranked or deliberately messed with = a feeling of what the F is going on = a feeling of living in the Twilight Zone.
In a final sand/saltwater memory, same beach (I’m beginning to suspect that this particular parcel of oceanfront is filled with weirdos), two weeks prior to the first offense:
We arrive, early, but already the beach is fairly crowded. We find a place to plop down, mindful of beach etiquette, maintaining a respectful distance between others (exactly the opposite of the burying-the-dad scenario described above). We put up our tent, ten feet away from another tent, very similar to ours. Thirty yards behind us, I hear, “Really? You’re gonna put up that tent right there?” Apparently, the dude behind us didn’t like his obstructed view of the beach. My response? “Sorry dude, you don’t own the beach.”
Look, I get it. It would be nice if I didn’t have to hear neighboring radios and that I was guaranteed a perfect view of the ocean. But since I don’t own a island, I have to share the Atlantic with the rest of the world.
After some mildly-heated banter back at forth, we went about enjoying our day. The people next to us collectively shook their heads at what they just witnessed and smiled at us, realizing there are all kinds of people that exist in this crazy world. And not all of them are nice.
Are Wawa and the shore the only places you’ll run in to “unique”‘individuals? Hardly. Those two locations just happened to provide ample fodder for this post.
I guess the point of this post is not to point out humanity’s flaws. Well…maybe it is the point, at least a little. But really, I think of point is that we’re not going to get along with everyone. Some people are going to annoy us, we all have our quirks, some people are going to be complete tools, and some people are those we just absolutely adore. We’ve got to get through the lows to truly appreciate the highs. Sometimes it’ll rain, but that just allows you to be marveled when the sun does come out from behind the clouds. And for me, personally? These moments and people that cause a little stress are are also subtle reminders of how lucky I am to have this:
And I’m grateful I don’t have a fiancé that eats while pooping.