Thursday, September 19, 2013

There Are Two Kinds Of People

You know what I'm talking about. Not the "you either like Niel Diamond or you don't" diametric opposition. No Red State/Blue State comparisons. No combination of people who like The Beatles or The Stones. This is the one you experience all the time. You know which one you are. I desperately hope that you are all the same type, but my chances on that are only 50/50 at best. Anecdotally, it plays out more like 80/20, and for the wrong side. I beg of you, if you are on the 'other side', switch teams now.

Still struggling to see where you fall on the line of humanity? I understand. Let me paint the picture for you...Imagine if you will, you are walking through a department store. You are perusing the rack of clearance priced tops, skimming through the hangers quickly, scanning for a color or print that catches your fancy. A cut that you love, the right size....skimming...boom. There she is. The other team. She stands there, unmoving, coming your direction. Instead of going around to the other side, instead of abdicating her position as you were clearly there first, she will do one of two things. She will stare you down, probably with an expression that says you are in her way, OR she will not make eye contact, and continue to touch the rack, making sure you have to go around her.

Depending on what kind of person you are, the scenario finishes only one of two ways. You either demure, move out of her path and onto another rack or around her to finish skimming, OR you look straight at her briefly, continue skimming and then she moves. It is a bit like two dogs, strangers to each other, meeting for the first time on neutral territory. You are meeting an alpha. This time, alpha = B.

This plays out every day in every department store, marketplace, workplace, parking lot, hallway, escalator, elevator, and freeway. Any time you have to interact with a lot of other people, you will be able to quickly make a distinction about which side that person plays for. This is important. You need to know who you are, who they are, and sometimes...just have to switch teams. Briefly. More importantly, you need to know when.

I live in a city with blessedly wide, flat roads for the most part. Lack of winter maintains these roads to a nice clean palate with nary a broken painted line in sight. But come across a Team B player, and you will find yourself getting pushed out of the way, nudged by someone for whom the world always splits their rivers, for whom their individual personal problems, issues and insecurity are the basis for which they believe you will live your life as well, if only when they are around. Nothing matters to Team B but Team B. Knowing that, as our wise friend G.I.Joe was known to say, is half the battle.

When you find yourself deciding between a car accident caused by a bluetooth headset wearing douche knuckle and driving up onto the curb to make yourself as small and out of his way as possible, you have a short period of time and an instinct to survive that is going to get in the middle of you leaving the comfort of Team A. Totally understandable.

But the next time you are shopping and someone is making that hard faced, dull eyed, gestapo march into your personal space, (with the unspoken but very loudly understood expectation that you will move out of the way so that they can continue doing what they want to do), just stop moving. Don't get out of the way and don't rush forward. Stand in place, look up at your natural eye level and scrunch your face into the expression for "Yes? Can I help you?" The results will change your life. No longer will you be moving out of the way, shifting your shopping cart for a yoga pants clad bitch too busy on her phone to realize she just raped you with her purse. No longer will you scuttle across the hall out of the way of the five people walking shoulder to shoulder like they are posing for the front of their album cover while heading to class.

And when you come across the Team B player who thinks they fucking invented Team B? Subtlety is not your friend. Stop in your tracks and start heading straight towards them. Right into their way. Human nature will take over and they will bolt out of their own declared path to avoid the collision. Look right at them and smile. They just witnessed the miracle of the switch and they are too hollow and entitled to know that they saw something amazing. They saw you not taking their shit. Go ahead, take a selfie now and Instagram that shit. You're the boss now.

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