Some people are merely petty, childish, bitter, and immature. And I just experienced a profound example of this concept.
My wife and I sat down to dinner with some friends at a local eatery recently. And as we were preparing to leave, a guy walked up to my wife and awkwardly stood there, looking at her without speaking. After a few more awkward moments, he finally extended his hand and spoke to her, slurring a drunken sloppy sentence resembling, “Hi, do you remember me?” The words stumbled out of his clumsy mouth in the same way he would later clumsily stumble out of the restaurant; it was painfully obvious that he was quite inebriated.
My wife did not reply as she sat there, understandably confused.
But I recognized him.
“I’m Michael,” his drunken voice declared in a Neanderthal monotone. “I used to be friends with Abhilash.”
“Yes,” my wife replied politely. “I remember you,” she said with a polite smile as she pointed to his last name (stenciled in a patch on his work shirt from whatever shop he worked for).
I sat quietly and politely, knowing exactly what was going on as this guy, Michael, a former friend of mine made it a point to say hello to my wife without saying anything to me.
I’m certain this was his ignorant attempt at insulting me — not saying anything to me while acknowledging my wife. He thought he was being slick and sly by subtly ignoring me, but in reality, he came off as petty, ignorant, cowardly, and bitter.
I grinned the entire time, somewhat on the verge of laughter.
The truth is, if he had acknowledged me, I would have gladly shaken his hand, told him it was good to see him, and carried on a friendly conversation. But he didn’t see it that way. He was less interested in greeting my wife and more interested in not greeting me. This was his petty attempt at a silent insult.
But here’s the truly ironic part: While we were all friends in college (well, I was in college and most of my friends were in college, but Michael wasn’t exactly the “college type”), all of the people he thought were his friends — people he went to high school with, people he knew in his peer group — all hated him. They made fun of him and mocked him relentlessly behind his back and to his face, but he was too “slow” to catch-on to the fact that he was being mocked. He was absolutely oblivious, and just ignorantly laughed along with jokes to which he was the punchline. There were times, back then, when I genuinely felt sorry for him when he was being mocked; he simply wasn’t bright enough to realize his “friends” were mocking him.
But in this particular instance recently, he thought he was the one on top, “dissing” me by not talking to me, greeting my wife instead. And all I did was smile, knowing my wife was entirely too good for him, so I clearly had nothing to worry about; he simply slurred his drunken salutation to her, concluding his brief conversation with (what sounded like), “It’s always a pleasure,” before leaving, stumbling his drunken way toward the door, never once looking at me.
After he left, my wife and I both had an extensive laugh about it. It was clear what he was trying to do — why he didn’t acknowledge me — but his attempt at “dissing” me only came off as some petty childish bullshit. I wonder if he thinks it bothered me. No, it didn’t; but it was quite entertaining, and definitely entertaining enough to merit a blog post — so thanks for that!
But the truth is, I still feel sorry for him.
And considering it’s me saying that, that’s quite a sentiment…
But, I mean, let’s be honest here — the guy ate a live goldfish at my wedding. This is the kind of guy we’re dealing with here. So, not exactly a mental giant. But that’s okay. He doesn’t know any better.
Some people, right?