Let me start with a story:
We had gone to the Hindu Temple in Flushing, and had stopped by the temple canteen for Madras coffee and snacks. When we walked in, we saw a bald man (possibly North Indian but that doesn’t really matter), maybe in his fifties, ranting about how slow the service was and occasionally yelling to the servers, “I want my dosa!” and disparaging them, blaming their being Madrasi or from some other part of South India, for their supposed ineptitude (I should add that it was particularly crowded today so they really were not to blame). Naturally we found the whole thing entirely too amusing and the guy eventually got his dosa and came back to his table, where his family was waiting. I figured the whole thing had passed, and we spent the time making fun of him and how incredibly immature he was. We saw him get up and go back to the front, where I guess they had asked him to pick up after himself. He had left a mess at his table, and yelled at the servers that he was not going to clean up the table.
Here is where stupid became downright embarrassing, if not despicable.
Another man, trying to play the role of good Samaritan, went up to him and tried to get him to stop raising his voice and starting a fight. Instead of backing down and leaving, the man raised his voice even more, yelling at the man and now proclaiming that he was “not going to clean that f*****g table.” Naturally there was a collective gasp, as there were several children around. The man’s wife attempted to pull him away, but instead got a slap on the wrist. Not only did the man not stop, but now he continued to hurl a string of expletives in Hindi and English at the man and the servers, all well within earshot of the rest of the people in the cafeteria. The servers nervously called security…which consisted of one very confused man. Eventually the man was herded out, and he could still be heard yelling as he left the building.
There are a few things I’d like to address:
1) Being an egotistical (insert word of choice) does not solve anything.
2) There are ways to criticize something without cursing.
There are people with inflated egos everywhere, but for some reason, the real class-acts seem to come from the Indian community. That’s a pretty broad generalization to make, but I’m basing this off of my experiences. We just seem to be teeming with people who tag themselves with a level of prestige that they don’t deserve, and are quick to find fault with others, while proclaiming themselves blameless. This guy…who I will call 92, because I think that was the number of his order, does not help matters.
The world doesn’t revolve around any of us, even though many of us (myself included) go through life assuming we are the center of the universe, to some extent. I don’t think there are very many people who go through life recognizing they’re one of many people, and keep that realization alive every minute of every day.
In this case, he should have recognized that they weren’t intentionally slowing things down. Weekends at the Hindu Temple mean large crowds, both in the temple, and in the canteen. The line was about ten people long when we got there, and the tables were mostly taken. No one purposely goes out of there way to deliberately screw with people…at least that’s the case with most people.
The second part is sometimes easier said than done, but the most important thing to keep in mind is that it can be done. It takes a special kind of lowlife to yell and curse about something so petty. It takes another kind of lowlife to yell and curse within feet of a temple or other place of worship. It takes an entirely different brand of lowlife to yell and curse about something knowing that both his children and the children of everyone else within earshot are listening to them. There isn’t a therapist in the world that could change that man’s approach to problems, most of it arises from his own view of himself in the context of the world. He’s probably one of those guys who constantly go through life thinking the world owes them something, and feels slighted by the smallest misgiving.
Cursing is sometimes cathartic, and I totally understand that because I’m guilty of it on so many levels. Yet his cursing wasn’t so much cathartic as it seemed to be some sort of feeble assertion of manhood and toughness. Seriously though, was it even necessary? I was so embarrassed for him, since clearly he felt no shame whatsoever.
Basically he came across as a balding baby with a tiny arsenal of curse words that he brandished with all the effectiveness of a rubber dagger. He didn’t look tough, he looked like an idiot, and if a non-Indian was looking in on this, would probably (unconsciously) generalize his behavior to the Indian community as a whole.
In conclusion: it’s never a good idea to pick a fight in public. You risk looking like an idiot and embarrassing not only yourself, but everyone around you. Save the melodrama for something else. Seriously all I wanted to do was sit down and relax with a cup of (amazing) Madras coffee, not be an unwilling audience to a man’s descent into idiocy (though I’m not sure the descent was that steep, in hindsight).
The corollary to that would be it’s definitely never a good idea to pick a fight with the servers at a restaurant or cafeteria. They work hard and they’re serving your food. Besides the fact that there’s something wrong with getting mad at the people sustaining you, you also don’t know what pissing them off could make them do to your food. I’ll end off with this little story:
A woman had gone to a deli and was, for some reason or another, not happy with their service and raised a scene. She then ordered a sandwich, demanding mustard. The guy making the sandwich was clearly pissed off, and though he gave her mustard, he squirted the mustard onto the sandwich so that it formed the word “bitch.” Unfortunately for him, she caught him in the act, and started to fight anew…