Bullies in a Civilized Society

Happy International Woman’s Day

March 9, 2019

 


“Sir, you need to have your ID out when you go in,” said my colleague who was stationed at the door to the early voting polls. He’d said the same thing to hundreds of people that week, but this fellow took umbrage.

“WHAT DID YOU SAY TO ME?”

My friend repeated the message.

“YOU CAN’T ORDER ME AROUND! I’M AN AMERICAN!

I thought he was going to start a physical fight, so I walked over and interrupted. “Sir, there’s no waiting at the line. I can take you right in.”.

He looked me over and said, “OK FINE! I can see that YOU are an American!”

“This way,” I said, “Oh, can I see your ID…?

We got him through the process as quickly as possible.

I think he was referring to the fact that my friend is brown and has a Hispanic accent and that I’m white. But the guy had dark skin, too, so I didn’t know what his problem was.

Maybe it was racial but I think he acted aggressively because he was so much bigger than my friend and he thought he could get away with it. He backed down when there were two of us.

Most of the thousands of people who came through the line were quite pleasant but there were a handful who were hostile. One fellow yelled at a coordinator because he didn’t like her tone. Another actually slapped an attendant in her face with his ballot.

One day another greeter had to tell a man that the polls had closed and it was too late to cast his vote. He yelled at her that she was wrong and he indeed was on time. And he kept yelling as he pointed at his watch. Again, this man was much bigger than the greeter, and he loomed over her as he continued to yell at the top of his lungs.

I stepped up and showed him the time on my phone, showing him that he really was late.  I explained that the machines were already shut down for the night. He hollered at me that he had paid six thousand dollars for his watch, and it said he was on time.

I laughed because I thought he had to be joking. Who pays that much for a watch that can’t keep time?

But he was serious, so I apologized for laughing and promised him we’d be open again tomorrow. He never got happy, but I was satisfied because I had distracted him from the woman. After another minute or two, he took his watch and left.

Maybe he never learned that trick about the big hand and the little hand….

On one other occasion, an old guy approached a young woman who was working there and said, “I turned in my ballet. Now, do I get a kiss?”

She was embarrassed and didn’t know what to say. The guy kept pressing her. “C’mon, how about a kiss for doing my civic duty? Just one little kiss.”

I approached and said, “Aw hell, man, I’d be happy to kiss you.”

For an old guy, he moved pretty fast as he made his way to the door, especially when I said, “Pucker up, buttercup!”

All these people behaved this way because they could get away with it.  They were bigger and louder. And with the exception of the first person I mentioned, they were men trying to intimidate the women.

It’s ironic these things happened at a place of voting, which is for civilized society. People are not supposed to get their way because they’re big, loud, and stupid.


Happy International Woman’s Day

March 9, 2019

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