Like watching two French courtiers slap each other with hankies
I’m not proud of saying “fuck you” to a couple of Nader petitioners on the Exton train station platform this morning, but it was a knee-jerk response. In fact, I’d probably do the same thing again, except hopefully without the overwhelming aura of Pissy White Man that makes me curl my toes with embarassment when I think about it.
[John is walking to train platform, trying to avoid what look like two Greenpeace canvassers with thick clipboards.]
Canvasser #1: (Early thirties, slightly built, wearing denim-y shirt) “Sir, would you like to sign this petition to put Ralph Nader on the ballot for…”
John: (surprised) What? No! Fuck you! (walks away)
Canvasser 1: (calling after John) Up… up yours!
John: (PWM mode activated) What’s your name?
Canvasser #1: (PWM mode activated) Sasha.
John: Sasha what? You think Ralph is gonna be happy you’re shouting “up yours” at commuters?
Sasha: What’s your name? (Gets out pen and reversed business card, ready to write.)
John: Why, so you can sneak me onto that petition? Hell no!
Sasha: I’m an attorney, and you can’t go around saying… (pauses) “F-U” to people!
John: Sure I can!
Canvasser #2: (younger college student, fairly amused by PWM display) A simple “no” would have sufficed.
John: No, I disagree. I wanted a “no” with some mustard on it, a “no” plus a foot up Sasha’s ass here, so you guys will stop taking votes away from any candidate that can beat Bush! Christ, I can’t believe you guys aren’t used to this by now! Don’t you get this response twelve times a day?
Sasha: You’re the first “F-U” we’ve gotten.
John: Well, hopefully it won’t be the last. (Walks towards train, which has arrived)
Sasha: (calling after) You just got up on the wrong side of the bed this morning!
Now, reading this, it looks fairly charitable to me, like I got the upper hand in the argument. Doubtless, if Nader stumper Sasha has a blog (which seems likely; we’re practically demographic doppelgangers,) it will read the other way around. You have to remember, though, that Pissy White Man Mode means that all retorts and rejoinders are delivered in a high-pitched, whiny, half-smiling and TOTALLY FUCKING EMBARASSING way. Even if I had the forethought to call the Nader stumpers “deluded patsies of the Republican party,” I wouldn’t have managed to deliver it with a two-fingered poke in the chest, gravel in my voice, and steel in my eye; it would have come out more like “Do you have a pass to be in the lunchroom right now? You don’t? I’m gonna tell the principal!” Kate tells me that if I insist on aspirating the “wh” in “where” and “wheel”, I’m never going to convince anyone that I’m about to pull their arm off and hit them with it.
What’s worse, I’m pretty sure that I steeled Sasha’s reserve to get out there on the mean streets of Chester County and spread Naderism even in the face of occasional rude language from liberals. I guess I’m the deluded patsy of the Republican party today.