About that mean old white lady with the yellow toenails…

07 Jul

The other day I was getting a French pedicure when an elderly woman in white see-through capris and granny underwear threw a childlike tantrum in the middle of the local nail spa.  She was ten minutes late for her appointment and was furious that she now had to wait.  “That’s not very nice of you,” she spat at the kindly Asian man who owns the place.  “What are we having here…some kind of language problem?”

What I hear loud and clear, whether it’s out of the thin-lipped mouth of a racist patron like her or the rotund man with the sweaty brow who spent five minutes (I timed him) bawling out a waitress in a steakhouse because his medium rare meat wasn’t pink enough, is that our society has contracted a sick form of rudeness.

There are hardly ever any apologies that go along with bad behavior.  And if there are, they are not exactly genuine.  Although one of my students out of over five years of teaching did share that once when he worked at Macy’s, a woman called later, maybe two weeks later, to explain her volatile outburst that rocked the dinnerware department.  She was a photographer who had taken pictures of the aftermath of 9/11.

At work I’ve had someone inexplicably curse at me while I passed her in the hall.  Apparently she was in a foul mood and didn’t like the smell of my Chinese take-out lunch.  My husband who once wronged the wrong person was warned through an email of that cryptic cliche’ – Karma is a bitch.  While he doesn’t believe, I do.  On days when I sense it most, I wear an evil eye bracelet I picked up at a Greek festival to ward off the darkness that just might be coming at me in the seemingly inoffensive guise of a female senior citizen in bright white capris.


Leave a Reply


  1. Alicia

    July 7, 2011 at 6:41 pm

    It is sad that our society seems to be getting more rude all the time. And the reasons are various. It is so rare for the photographer to call back to apologies let alone two weeks later. Nice to hear an example of someone being aware and actually sorry for their bad behavior. Thanks for the post, Paula.

  2. Fiona

    July 8, 2011 at 12:55 am

    Thanks for the article Paula. I don’t believe in the karma either, but some people (grrr, say no more!) This Internet age means it is near-impossible to be nice all of the time and if ‘losing it’ is a sign of weakness, then to err is human, to forgive divine….

  3. Naoko

    July 8, 2011 at 7:42 am

    I hope your evil eye bracelet working for you? Those people who can’t control themselves from shooting their nasty bullets to other people must be unhappy with their lives.

    • Paula

      July 8, 2011 at 1:33 pm

      Well, I was wearing it when that lovely co-worker walked herself into a trash bin at the sight of me. I’m sure it was just a coincidence.

      • Wyatt

        July 18, 2011 at 4:26 pm

        A friend turned me on to your site. I’m a lawyer of all things and couldn’t help but be intrigued by the brief description of your memoir. I’m looking forward to the read next year.


        • Paula

          July 29, 2011 at 5:20 pm

          Thanks, Wyatt. I appreciate you looking for my memoir when it comes out next year. As a lawyer, whichever side of the aisle you might argue from, I think you’ll be able relate.

          • Wyatt

            September 1, 2011 at 12:09 pm

            When are you going to write again? Patiently, or rather impatiently waiting…


  4. Sunday Times Book Reader

    August 31, 2011 at 7:41 am

    So many people out there are rude and superficial. Life is too short. Please keep up the blog.