Soooo...it's not even noon yet in my little corner of the world and I've already had my well-that's-a-first moment for the day. A complete stranger called me a "scumbag."
My unique experience began with me driving to the store this morning. As I was merging into the turning lane leading to the parking lot of the store, the driver in the car behind tried to speed up and beat me to the turning lane. His goal was to get into the parking lot--and presumably the store--five seconds ahead of me.
I could see in my side view mirror what he was attempting to do, but, being that my car was already halfway into the turning lane, I kept merging into that lane. He honked his horn at me to say “hi.” I waved back “good morning!” and went about turning into the lot and finding a parking place.
I had already parked my car and was in the process of getting out of it when an older guy advanced upon me and began yelling. I don’t remember his first words because, quite frankly, I’m not even close to being a morning person. I don’t focus well until I’ve been up and about for a few hours so all I heard was “wah, wah, wah, it’s trash like you that’s bringing this country down. Get a f’ing job!” And then, since all I had done throughout his little tirade was stare at him without speaking, he gave me a disgusted sneer, looked me up and down and said, “you f’ing scumbag!” Then he walked away.
With America’s negative view of law enforcement, I’ve not only been accused of a lot of things but I’ve also had the distinct honor of being called some very interesting (and inventive) names over the years. However, I’ve never had anyone say I was the reason the U.S. is going down the toilet nor had I ever been told to get a job, but it was the “scumbag” that stuck with me. I was like, “huh??” It had been so long since I’d even heard the word that it took me a full minute or more to recall what the insult referred to.
In my experience the term “scumbag” generally refers to someone who is low class, poor, and trashy. But I looked it up on Google, just to be sure. Because, yeah, Google now trumps Merriam and Webster.
According to Google, the primary definition of the word is: “a contemptible or objectionable person.” A popular secondary definition of the word is “a used condom” (Interesting, huh? I learn something new every day!).
Using my own experience with the word, the definitions I’d found, and recalling the accusations Mr. Angry-At-The-World hurled at me, I assume he wasn’t calling me a used condom. Presumably, he looked at me, my clothing, and my car and then made the astounding--and highly inaccurate--leap that I was poor, living off “the dole,” bordering on homeless, and a general waste of good space who is unduly burdening the country with my presence.
Admittedly, I hadn’t bothered to shower or even brush my hair before going to the store. I was wearing well-worn sweats, a t-shirt that proclaimed “Easily Distracted,” and worn-out tennis shoes; one of which had a hole right where my big toe was. And, the SUV I was driving is a good eight years old.
If one were the judgmental sort who makes assumptions based upon appearance? Well, yeah, I probably appeared to be poor-bordering-on-homeless. Now the truth behind the glamour? With the exception of the last few years, I’ve worked all of my life. I probably have enough money in my accounts to pay his yearly salary for a decade or more, buy him a new house, a new car, and send him and his entire family on a month-long, plush vacay to the Swiss Alps.
My financial status isn’t the point but I spoke of it to make a point: this sorry little man felt it was “okay” to lash out at me, insult me, because of the physical picture I presented at the time. He actually felt he had every right to approach me in an aggressive manner and hurt me because he felt I was lower than he is on the totem pole of society. Isn’t that akin to kicking dogs and drowning kittens?? I mean, what if I were the type of person who actually cared what other people think? What if I was someone who was poor or homeless and was working on trying to build a better future for myself? That insensitive little prick could have just decimated my self confidence and caused me to back-slide into hopelessness!
There is absolutely nothing wrong with being poor, homeless, or receiving government aid if one needs it for whatever reason. I’ve been poor. In my early adulthood, I have also been homeless for a short time. Neither condition altered the fact that I was a person deserving of the same respect and courtesy as anyone else.
What I find ironic about this man’s attitude toward me is, he was dressed in what I would term as “working class” clothing and his car was only slightly newer than mine. The only real difference between our appearances were that he looked like he had showered and shaved today. And, he was presumably wearing deodorant.
As I was writing this I was reminded of a Biblical verse in Hebrews: “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.”
So. Scumbag, huh? Interesting. Ah, well. On with the day! Maybe I’ll go put some deodorant on now. Maybe.
Causes Kati Kline Supports
Operation Smile, Catholic Charities, Salvation Army, and, doing my part to help the less fortunate (whenever an opportunity to do so presents itself).