Do you ever just feel like you've got the kind of face that people want to yell at?
Some people are the type where things just always work out for them. Others? The magic ability to get past any bouncer, security guard or restriction, no matter what the circumstance. But while my pale, goofy face would seemingly lead to friendly encounters with wrinkly old men at half-empty bars, it never goes that way prior to showing my Midwestern colors and knack for being unnaturally open with people I don't know.
I'm never wearing enough makeup to necessitate being misinterpreted as a snob, and I wouldn't say my mint green fur coat and torn up t-shirt has the direct equivalent to me being an asshole. But, similar to how some people have a face you just want to punch, when it comes to me? I seem to have a construct of cartilage, skin and bone that folks simply enjoy dumping on.
The irony of being bitched out by a gigantic, flamboyant gay man while voting so that those like him in other states could have equal rights not withstanding, I got nonsensically and very publicly shitted on today, simply for standing three feet in the incorrect direction. But, while swimming in that familiar pile of shame, sweats and nausea that sets in while being blindsided by an angry human, I suddenly noticed something — this happens all the time.
There was the guy, who yelled "Go get a tan, bitch!" in the bar underneath my college apartment. The police office who physically shoved my friend Kelly and I down the street during Fashion's Night Out. All the times stuff went down and then I drank a drink with a sprig of rosemary in it and woke up the next morning with no recollection of it.
After spending half a week in Iceland with our New York thinking caps on, I finally gave in halfway through when I realized how ridiculous it was that every single person left their towel on an outdoor hook at the Blue Lagoon...and we locked ours in a locker. (Side note: I, of course, got yelled at for doing this, too.)
What were we so guarded about? Why did we think everyone was constantly trying to rip us off? Not everywhere is as me-first-me-now-me-me-me as the isle of Manhattan. Not everyone is going to trick you into paying for a shitty hip-hop demo on the street! Expect the best of people, and you'll get the best back. That guy talking to you all night probably just wants to be your new friend, even if he is dressed as a gigantic cartoon penis. Besides a handful of Icelandic tchotchkes and a stomachache from all the sulfur, I brought that mentality back to a post-storm West Village, grateful to have a roof over my head to come back to and a town full of people who also valued that they walked away unscathed, save for a longer trek downstairs and an annoying string of days without power.
So, for someone who typically opts out of government and paying attention to any of the media circus surrounding it, I was unexpectedly excited this year to fill in a little bubble next to someone's name and get confused about how many court justices to vote for. I have the ability to take 40 minutes off to go stand in a high school gym to cast a ballot, I have legs, I'm lucky. I'm doing it. The wait was bad, but it wasn't that bad! It took a long time, but it could have taken longer! All terrible Manhattan misery seems to have melted away with that recollected value of life after a storm that continues to effect everyone in every possible range of ways. That newfound notion of gratefulness just for having what you have; the case of the "it could have happened to me"s that cause you to view everything with a deeper hue of appreciation when something terrifying happens too close to home.
And then, the sass attack. Now, at the time, I felt like a shamewad, like the turd of the earth. But afterwards, I just felt bad. I felt bad for a person who would get so easily enraged over something that would set his day back a mere 45 seconds. Who could so easily forget how lucky and incredibly fortunate all of us are, to even be voting in a community that not only still has streets and electricity and no one to mourn, but is one of the most beautiful in our neck of the city. To have two legs, running water, a home that's still standing, and the financial ability to spend $4 on a cappuccino if you feel like it without thinking twice. To be the type of person who is too ungrateful for all of that and chooses to be miserable instead? Makes me much more content being the type of person someone would scream at, instead of the type of who doesn't know any better.