gather round tumblr it’s time for a story about why you shouldn’t solicit conversation with a stranger with a put down about their generation
i sat down about 30 minutes ago in the lobby of a very nice hotel, intending to do some writing. i have my laptop and my cellphone. as i settled, i checked some stuff on my phone, then turned to my laptop. because there aren’t many plugs, i’m sitting in a cluster of couches and instead of being by myself there’s an he’s an older gentleman across from me, polo shirt, salt and pepper hair. was very polite when i asked if he minded if i tucked myself in the corner of the couch
he thinks computers are full of satan or something
because no sooner have i opened up goddamn word when he goes, “you kids and your electronics.”
ah, excellent, unsolicited conversation with a perfect stranger that comes with a critique of modern communication. fight me, bro, you got no idea who you’re tangling with. so naturally i push up my metaphorical sleeves (metaphorical because i’m in a goddamn resort and pavement is melting; i’m wearing a very nice goddamn dress and i’d look like a fucking soccer mom named helen if i had blonde hair) and very politely, i smash his face into the floor with “i’m sorry?” in an utterly flabbergasted tone because dude wtf and no one delivers slick put downs when they’re caught off guard
“i’m here reading my newspaper and after this my wife and i are going on a hike” (lol good luck with that dude the pavement is melting and you want to hike in the mountains) “and we’re going to interact with each other.” he gives my computer a v pointed look
naturally, i have the perfect response to this. it is pithy and eloquent and will surely put him in his place: “i… like to write, and it’s easier on a laptop?”
“it seems to me” (HERE WE GO) “that your generation” (OH GOOD) “is losing the ability to interact with other people.” (O OK) “my grandchildren never take their eyes off their cellphones anymore!”
and here he pauses and looks at me. as if he expects me to agree.
so i say “you were born in the 50s, right?” he says he was born in 59. “well, it seems to me that your generation is really fond of adultery, embezzlement, and corporate fraud, among other things, and i’m really enjoying paying for your retirement.”
i admit: i had this line canned after a little snarl i had with my mom the other night.
he stares at me. i stare back.
“you also realize,” i say, quickly typing socrates kids these days quote into google, “that people have been saying kids these days since socrates said, and i quote, children now love luxury. they have bad manners. contempt for authority. they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise.” i look up at him. he’s staring at me still.
i’m shaking because man fuck confrontation but also how hilarious is this because i literally had a fight with my mom about this twelve hours ago. i literally have a cranky tweet about it. “so it seems to me that making sweeping generalizations about people based on pretty arbitrary age groupings is kind of ridiculous since i’m pretty sure you’re not cheating on your wife or stealing from your company.”
he goes beat red because now i’m embarrassed him, and i feel really fucking bad because i didn’t mean to embarrass him, but also hey dude fuck you
SO OF COURSE he says “did your parents teach you any manners?”
and there goes the last of my embarrassment because hey fuck you dude the only person who can insult my parents is fucking me. and i say, without even thinking because this is when you have the snappiest rejoinders, “well they did teach me not to open unsolicited conversation with a stranger by insulting them so.”
at this point the dude’s wife shows up and they leave, and the waiter asks me if i want anything to drink and i’m like “yes please give me all your vodka” but instead i say “ice water” because the pavement is melting and if i puke from nerves after that, i don’t want to snort alcohol out my nose
that’s it that’s my story