Tag Archives: entitlement

Saying the right thing at the right time

I have peeves. One of them is people who don’t control their dogs in public. My state has a leash law. My community has a leash law. Still, I routinely encounter dog owners with their pets off-leash in public spaces. (Even leashes aren’t a cure-all when the owner isn’t paying attention and/or lets the lead on the leash out way past the point they can control or monitor their dog. Sometimes owner & dog are so far apart I don’t initially realize there’s a leash between them, and when I do, it doesn’t fully win my confidence.😕)

The people who let their dogs off the leash usually have “reasons” why having their dog off-leash is okay: He/she is friendly. He/she doesn’t like leashes. I only took the leash off momentarily for “x” reason. No one else was here. My dog likes to run free. My dog likes to go in the water. He/she always comes when I call. My dog wants to say hello. It’s a good/obedient dog. It’s never bit me. It’s never bit anyone. He/she is old. Dogs should be allowed to run around. My dog wants to play. Dogs have rights too. And, if the owners don’t have one of the aforementioned or other reasons at the ready, they can always trot out the bon mot supposedly intended to put anyone taking issue with their illegal behavior unequivocally in their place: You must hate dogs.😣

I was out for an early morning walk. I was moving at a good clip along a public sidewalk in a residential area and saw a black guy (this becomes relevant) standing off to the left in a grassy area. When he saw me (a white lady) he picked up his pace, in my general but not exact direction. As I came closer I saw, previously obscured by shrubbery, a large, scary-looking dog off-leash with a thick chain collar (choke chain?) around its neck. On seeing the dog, I quickly stepped out into the street, at which point the guy, leash in hand, grabbed the dog, offering a reassuring comment to me, something along the lines of, “He won’t bother you.”

I kept walking but said, firmly and not smiling, “It should be leashed all the time. It’s the law.” As the distance between me and the dog owner grew, he retorted, “I see white people with their dogs off leash.”

I know you’re not supposed to argue with strangers. I know it’s best to let some (most?) things go. I know I was tired and not in a great mood. But in an instant, that instant, I loudly called over my shoulder exactly what I was thinking, no filters, no hesitation,

“It’s the law for the white people too!”

What was he going to say to that? Nothing in the moment.

This encounter irked me on more than one level but I am so glad I said what I did. It was the sort of thing you (I) usually think up after the fact when grumbling to one’s self, “I should have just said X“.

Later on in my walk (I was on a 4-mile loop) I saw the guy and his now leashed dog, but at a distance. I had no intentions of interacting again nor would I ever. Arguing with strangers is unwise, I get that. I had my moment. I’ll steer clear (and keep my mouth shut) should our paths cross. A civil nod if it’s appropriate maybe.

Finally, as a last thought, I googled the phrase I uttered and did not find it.

Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. (or Ms.) Narcissist

In my time I’ve known more than a person or two who were a strange combination of self-loathing and entitlement, the two bookends of narcissism. It seems counterintuitive at first – isn’t narcissism about grandiosity, extreme self involvement and self-love? – until you consider that self loathing is STILL self-involvement. The person telling you how stupid they are, what a fuck-up, such an idiot, who hates their life, and so on, is coming from a me, me, me point of view. They are STILL taking up your time and attention (whether you’d be using that time to do notably better things or merely watching Judge Judy is not the point). They are STILL not focusing on you or anyone else. Even a pitiful “I don’t deserve someone as good and wonderful as you,” if that particular tidbit is included, (or maybe “I’m not as strong/good/kind/honest/[insert word] as you are”), isn’t really about you at all, so much as a ploy for your sympathies and a pretty fair indication the narcissistic person sees those traits in you and aims to exploit them. Because what’s the next scene that’s supposed to follow? The part where you reassure them and build them up of course! (There goes your evening, afternoon, hour, day, whatever.) Whoever says, “Yeah, you are an idiot” and walks away?

Besides, if you deal with people like this, the flip side always shows itself in short order. They go right back to hurting people, doing selfish, oblivious things, running their own agendas, and taking real umbrage (or feigning cluelessness) if anybody points it out or has a problem with it. Bring up a problem or concern and watch how fast you’re suddenly in a conversation that is once again about their woes, interests, or issues.

One of the typical gimmicks of the narcissist is to do whatever they feel like whenever they feel like it – no matter who it impacts – yet act as if everything is normal. Perfectly designed to throw other people off their game and make them question what they know. The best defense is a good, narcissistic offense, no? The people around them are the ones feeling something is very wrong with this picture: Did he really do that? Did she really say that? Is this the same person who was crying and going on about how “rotten” they are? How they wanted to be different? Oh my yes it is.

Walking home and dealing with jerky children

So, it’s a Sunday afternoon in Spring and I’m walking home. I’ve been sick all week and I’m tired. I approach one of, if not the steepest hills in town, which I must climb. On it, I see two grade school age boys throwing a ball back and forth. I’d seen them earlier that day in the yard of a house immediately adjacent, so I know where they live and/or are visiting. One of the boys is completely turned away from oncoming traffic and has no view of it. They are in a really bad location to be playing since drivers coming over the rise have a huge blind spot and won’t be expecting children in the street as they prepare to coast down the hill. In fact I watch one car slow and swerve as the boys run to the curb.

I have already considered and discarded cautioning them about the wisdom of their chosen playground, and besides, I see the pair move their game of catch to the sidewalk. It’s the only sidewalk on this part of the road; i.e, I can’t cross the street and avoid them. I consider for perhaps a fraction of a second stepping into the street to go around but all the reasons it was a bad idea for them make it a bad idea for me.

My concern now is not getting thwacked in the head with the ball as I’ve already seen they aren’t particularly skilled and I’ll be passing very close. Fortunately, they stop their play as I come alongside them where the hill is steepest. I can see the father, a male adult at any rate, right there in the driveway so I know he’s sanctioned the ball playing in the street as well as that on the sidewalk. He says nothing to me or the children and busies himself with setting up a table with what looks like food.

I move at the pace I have been, but there’s some distance to traverse and as I walk upward, I can see the impatience in the stance of the child facing me, not to mention he is sort of popping the ball in his hands, as if anxious to throw it and he wants me to know that. There is no deference in his expression or posture. I move past him and just as I do he snidely says, “You’re welcome.” After I pummel his head into the concrete sidewalk and wipe the blood from my hands….I’m kidding. I do have the presence of mind to turn back and say, “It’s a public sidewalk.” I say it calmly sans attitude which I’m too fatigued and unmotivated to muster anyway.

Kids have mouthed off to me before on occasion, but they’ve tended to do it when they felt anonymous, not smack in front of their house with an adult they’re connected to so close at hand. Now though, all I want is to get home. It isn’t worth any more trouble and I know it. I also know where a kid like that would pick up his sense of entitlement and have a pretty darn good idea who he’d heard accost strangers with snotty commentary like You’re welcome before. And it wasn’t someone on TV.