Sunday, March 25, 2007

Bravery and Confrontation

Today we visited the Wild Animal Park to check out the new tour into the Heart of Africa. It's a bio-diesel bus ride that lasts between 20 and 30 minutes and drives through enclosures belonging to animals from Africa. The usual tram ride we are accustomed to has been closed down and will be closed for about 4 years. I guess the electric tracks used to break a lot. So we missed our usual tour, but it was nice to try out something new.

We approached Simba Station and proceeded through the switchback lines that pretty much define all lines these days. The Animal Park has metal ones installed, and they had several sections of it still closed off so we weren't forced to wind through an insane number of switchbacks. We couldn't just duck under the rails because we had the double-wide stroller with us, both kids buckled in. And that meant everyone behind us was pretty much stuck, too. There was a family of five in front of us, and they did duck under the rails. But it's not like they cut anyone off.

Imagine my irritation when we arrived behind this family of five, after following the trail through the metal fencing to our spot in line and there was another woman behind them-- in front of us. Now, we had wound through the line long enough behind the family of five that I was confident the only way this woman could have ended up between us and them was if she had ducked under the metal poles. Which meant she also cut in front of the five to seven parties of people behind us. Now I admit one person in front of us really isn't that big a deal-- it wasn't going to keep us off the bus we would normally have ridden on. But still. People should not cut in line.

I'm not sure what I was thinking, but the next thing I knew, I was talking to the this woman. "Excuse me, you're not with that group in front of you, are you?"

(I have to interject here to just let you know that I have this cold, the tail end of which leads to major laryngitis. Not only do I not have control over how audible every syllable is, but this laryngitis has pretty much destroyed my ability to modulate my voice. So I guess I was kind of loud. Not intentionally, mind you. But it probably made the woman even more uncomfortable than be confronting her in the first place.)

She told me she was not with the group in front of us. And if she had said she was, I probably would not have pressed further, even though I would have known she was lying. But she admitted she was on her own. So then I said, "So you do know, then, that you just cut in front of us and all the people behind us, then, right?"

She actually denied it! She said she hadn't cut in front of us at all. "Really?" I pushed even further. "Because when we got in line we were immediately behind that family in front of you. And we followed them all the way through the line until they began ducking under the bars. And we couldn't duck under the bars because we have the stroller. So the only way you could have ended up between us and them is if you cut in line. By going under the bars."

Ok. So I said my piece. But she didn't let it go. She actually said something along the lines of, "Well the line isn't defined by the fencing/bars. That's just ridiculous!" And of course, I couldn't let that go.

"Of course it is," I responded. "That's why all those people are behind us. Because we blocked their way in the line. That's why the Animal Park has the metal bars-- to show people where to go. And you just cut in line in front of all those people who waited their turn behind us."

She said, again, "That's ridiculous." And then, as she passed us to go to the end of the line, she said, loudly enough for my kids to hear: "You bitch!"

My legs were shaking. I'm not sure why I confronted this woman. I did not respond to her calling me a bitch. A woman in front of the family that was supposed to be in front of us turned and gave me a thumbs up. The man behind me tapped me on the shoulder and thanked me for saying something. I swear, I'm not normally confrontational about stuff like that! I might complain-- even loudly-- to Jason about it, but I wouldn't normally confront the person. I have no idea what came over me. . . and I secretly avoided the mean woman in the brown jacket the rest of the time we were at the park. But at the same time, I'm kind of proud of myself.


Johnny said...

Good for you! People like that get away with things like that because they're counting on others not having the gonads to call them out.

Anonymous said...

way to go!!!!! aalison frm dallas

Doug said...

Ahh yes....a lawyer in training in deed...

God bless and good for you!

Amanda/MayhemMama said...

The line isn't defined by the bars, huh? Interesting...

Femeros said...

You go girl!

Denise is mortified that I speak to strangers and is also completely embarassed when I speak "too" loudly about unfair situations (such as yours) to her.

I had a reverse situation the other day that was funny... I was in line at the Customer Service desk at Office Depot and there were two ladies in line behind me - standing ever so slightly off to the left. This older gentleman walks through the "line", puts his stuff on the counter and starts a conversation with the cashier.

I turned to look at him, then back at the ladies in line. The gal next in line winked and shrugged and said, "Thanks for noticing."

She ended up going to a different cashier, but stopped me on my way out the store to say thanks again for noticing her plight and that she wasn't feeling confrontational that day. :)

AmandaD said...

I am so proud of you. The only way it could have been better is is someone had mustered the cojones to step up and say, "You know what ma'am? She's right. You are a big old nasty cutter-in-liner." I'd like to think I would've had the nerve.