I am awesome at comebacks – about two weeks after the fact. I’ll be shampooing my hair and suddenly the perfect sentence will come into my head.

“If my hard work is outweighed by a stupid mistake – and you know I’ve been busting my ass – then good! I don’t want to work here. Get ya’ll shit together.” And I’d say it in a super-calm manner with the slightest hint of fire in my eyes. But nope, in the moment my mind and mouth fail me and don’t allow my wise-ass self to shine.

Unfortunately, my mother did me a disservice and taught me to always! be courteous and polite because at the end of the day you’re the embodiment of class. There is nothing a person can say or do to ruffle your feathers. Turn-the-other-cheek type shit.

Unfortunately, my father did me a disservice by teaching me to always! stand up for yourself and say exactly what is on your mind at that very moment, in exactly the way you feel it, because ain’t nobody gonna make a fool out of me! By-all-means-necessary type shit.

The thing is…I fall on both ends of the “civility” spectrum. At the very ends. Sometimes, when people give me a hard time or say something I don’t like or flat-out disrespect me, I take it. At times I don’t say a word and I usually feel like crying. Other times – holy shit – I don’t think twice about the words that come spewing out of my mouth. The ugliest and most hurtful words I can think of, I’ll say. I’ll probably cry then, too, because I cry over everything.

I’ve always claimed to be this masterful wordsmith, but at the most crucial of moments, I’m a dud. The past few weeks have tested my assertiveness and feistiness, so my resolution for this year (other than take over the world, duh) is to always say what is on my mind. Like my mother says, you should never lower yourself to anyone else’s level, and like my father firmly stands by, you must always defend yourself. Don’t be at either extreme; be right in the middle.

Quick story: I was taking the bus home a few days ago, and had the most unsavory of experiences. The bus driver was a complete turd which had been left out in the California sun.

First, he closed the doors while I was still standing in the doorway. All I could say was “okay…thanks.”

Then he accused me of using counterfeit quarters (really? When’s the last time you saw a fake quarter? This ain’t Chuck E. Cheese). “Umm, they’re not fake,” I assured him with a raising of my eyebrow as I made my way to the back of the bus.

I’m a doofus, so I realized like a block later that I was on the wrong bus (don’t laugh). There was a ding! Stop Requested! as I pulled the cord. I watched as one bus stop went by…then another. My bus driver was practically drag-racing down Brook Street, the son of a bitch. I stormed up to the front, fuming!

Still being the polite idiot I am, I said:
“Excuse me sir, but you missed the bus stop!”

What does he do? He slams on the brakes! Errrr!
Physics kicked in and my body lunged forward. Luckily I have feline-like reflexes (not really) and I was able to grab on to something before my face made out with the windshield, splat!

The old guy opened the doors like nothing happened. I’d had it!

“You are a horrible bus driver!” I shouted, my face reddening with anger.

I guess he didn’t quite understand because all he said was “okay” with a stupid smile on his round, red face.

I pointed my finger at him for more emphasis. “You are horrible, absolutely horrible, you piece of shit!”

In that moment I was livid, and I walked down the street without my scarf or hat on in 15 degree weather because my blood was boiling like Mount Vesuvius. Right now, though, I am quite pleased with myself.

The work is never done, however, so if you’ll excuse me I will begin writing a scathing letter to whomever it may concern: over at RIPTA. It’s going to be a good year.

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