I was just insulted in public, and I’m still pissed an hour later that I didn’t come up with a comeback. I really hate it when I don’t get in the last word. Ha ha.
I went into this coffee shop to get my morning coffee. And, as usual, there’s a large crowd of people milling about between me and the front counter. There’s a guy ahead of me walking slowly towards the counter. And as I passed him I barely brushed against him. It was so slight I barely touched him, but just to be on the safe side I said, “Excuse me.” (that’s something people say a hundred times a day as they jostle back and forth on the crowded streets of Telegraph Avenue). When I get to my place in the back of the line, the guy putters over to me and unexpectedly faces me and shouts:
“YOU BUMPED INTO ME!!”
I took a quick look at the guy, sized him up, an elderly guy (well at least older than me), short, somewhat dapper dressed, with a neatly-trimmed white goatee, and asian, I believe Japanese).
“I said excuse me,” I said. “I brushed against you.”
“CAN’T YOU SEE WHERE YOU’RE GOING!!” he shouted. “YOU TOUCHED ME!!” He’s in a rage about it.
“I said I was sorry,” I said. (I considered mentioning to him about my glaucoma and cataracts eye problems but why prolong the exchange).
He continues to glare out me. His reaction is so exaggerated to the situation that I was completely unprepared for it. People in the cafe are staring at us, staring in the direction of the commotion and I’m slightly embarrassed. So I just figure, fuck it, and turn and walk out of the place and get my coffee at another cafe down the street.
But it’s one of those situations where I’m seething that I didn’t get in a comeback (like George in a “Seinfeld” episode with his “jerk store” line). I was almost tempted to go back into the place and say to him, “You suffer from mental problems, pal. I hope you get the help you need.” But it was too late for the comeback, alas.