I Apologize To The Woman I Was Incredibly Rude To In The Subway
This morning I did something really out of character for me. I cursed at an older woman. This happened about 25 minutes ago, and it's been eating at me.
As I walked towards the exit of the subway station at 34th St. Herald Square, I was reading AM New York. I do this pretty much every day. I've become pretty proficient at walking while reading. I haven't bumped into a stranger yet, and I have the good sense to put the paper down when crossing the street or navigating heavy traffic.
But today, a woman, mid to late 40s, I'd guess, spoke up behind me. At this time in the morning, I'm only half awake, so I'm not completely sure what she said, but it sounded to me like a command: "Don't read the paper while walking, people are trying to get by."
She said it in a snide, not so polite manner, talking down to me like I was some punk kid. Maybe this wasn't her intent. Maybe she inadvertently left out "Excuse me" or "please." And around us was enough space to drive a truck through, so it wasn't like I was causing a bottleneck.
But in response, I did something inexcusable. I said "F*ck Y*u." Without the asterisks.
As I said, inexcusable. And completely out of character for me. I can't really explain to myself why I did it. I had been sandwiched into a subway car with a guys hand up my ass moments before, and I was half awake, and I was shocked that a stranger would actually say something to me. But none of that would typically make me lose it. That's just not me.
The woman and I jawed back and forth until I finally got up the stairs and hightailed it down the street. I felt remorse as soon as she went out of sight. That's somebody's mother, I thought. What if someone yelled "F*ck Y*u" at my mom?
Even if I thought the woman had an attitude with me first, I took it to another level. It's like if someone pinched me and then I hit them with a baseball bat (note, this hasn't happened, just a metaphor). What I did just soured things all around. If I had just stepped aside and stewed silently about my perceived slight, I would have gotten over it and never thought about it again.
Its amazing that a curse word, even now in 2010, can still make the record skip and the whole mood of the day turn sour. A badly placed curse can really escalate a situation to a place it doesn't need to be.
What a shitty start to the day. For both of us. It didn't have to be like that.
So I apologize, woman in the subway. I totally gave a harsh reaction to you, and it wasn't warranted. I'm truly sorry.