Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Are You Clueless or Just Stupid?

If you're anything like me, you are continuously amazed by the cluelessness of the general population. You know, the people who stand at the bottom of the escalator looking up with their mouths open. Or the people who drive down the highway with their left blinker on, mile after mile. Or those poor souls who walk five-abreast down the rush-hour sidewalk, unawares that the entire population of Dupont Circle is trying to get around them to walk home. But sometimes what first seems like cluelessness is actually deliberate stupidity. Cluelessness I can forgive; I can even laugh at it good-naturedly. Heck, I've even been clueless a time or two. Stupidity, however, is not so easy to forgive.

Take this morning's bus ride for instance. I was riding my usual route at the usual time to the usual location. About halfway there, the Electronic Lady that we all know and love started mechanically repeating, "Please do not stand in the rear door well," like a three-year-old trying to goad her older brother. Over and over the Electronic Lady kept saying her line, not even pausing to take a breath (I suppose this is the advantage of being electronic).

I looked up from my magazine to see what was causing the Electronic Lady such distress. Lo and behold, it was someone standing in the rear door well. Over and over, she reminded us to stand clear, and yet my co-rider just stood there, iPod headphones in his ears, seemingly clueless. After about 47 (I counted) of the Electronic Lady's announcements, another rider tapped the Rear Door Well Man on the shoulder. The RDWM plucked his headphones grudgingly out of his ears, and looked at the man who touched him. It was clear that the Electronic Lady was about to blow a gasket with her announcement by this point, but as it turned out the RDWM was well aware of her dismay, shrugged his shoulders at the man who had tapped him, and continued to stand there anyway. All of this time (about five minutes had elapsed), the bus driver did nothing, callously ignoring the electronic lady's obvious agitation.

After what seemed like an eternity (and in bus years, it probably was), the RDWM exited from the rear door and the Electronic Lady finally got to rest her vocal cords. And I was able to return to my magazine secure in the knowledge that the Electronic Lady was at last at peace, and that nobody was going to fall out the rear door . . . at least for now.

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