Miss Manners Gets Shanked

We're supposed to be a modern, civil society. We're supposed to be polite to each other, share public spaces and practice acts of common courtesy.

As such I've heard of instances of people spotting another person dumping trash on the street, and then approaching that person, and politely saying "oh excuse me you dropped something" to remind them that it's wrong to litter on many levels. I've done this sort of thing too, and generally I believe it's necessary that we enlighten the ignorant among us.

So, last week a guy was walking just ahead of me into a Tim Horton's, and although he clearly saw me right behind him, he didn't seem to have any interest at all in showing a little bit of the aforementioned common courtesy by holding the door for me, even slightly.

So, I quietly said "Thanks".

He heard me, but he said nothing and we both joined the line.

Minutes later though in front of about 20 people in line and a jammed lunch-hour T-Ho's, the guy decides to make his move, and he starts squawking and shouting and swearing at me, and basically challenges me to a fight.

This is a grown man.

I ignore him. That is, until he escalates his tirade, and starts yelling louder and proceeds to call me a "fucking pussy". Kids, I might add, are also in this store.

Now my Irish blood is up. Way up. So, I calmly take off my sunglasses, put down my coffee and rush briskly right up into his face with my arm fully cocked. I should add that although I was still in control, a guy in the lineup sees my rage boil over, and puts an arm in between us, which what might have separated me from a visit to jail.

As I rushed up to him and got nose to nose with this douchebag, for a split second I see fear in the guy's eyes, and for me, that was enough.

So I calmly said, "you're not worth it", turn my back on him, put my sunglasses on and very slowly walk out, sipping my coffee. This was quite deliberate to project to him that I didn't see him as a threat.

As I exit, I hear him continue but I simiply ignore him. I fully expect him to come outside after me, and I'm fully ready for anything, but he doesn't.

So I slolwy walk back to work and try to settle down. About 3 minutes later I hear him yelling again, this time from about 200 yards away, jumping around and continuing his threats. I guess he wanted to scare me by suggesting he was following me.

"Oh I know where you work you fucking pussy! You fucked with the wrong guy!", he screams, with his cellphone up to his ear as if he's on the phone calling some gangstas to come take care of me.

So, perhaps I was wrong for saying what I said initially, or perhaps it's just the price to pay for trying to remind our fellow man, that we're all in this together.


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Comments (32 - click here to join in!)

Mississauga phil

@ Mike - No, you weren't wrong. Rude people need to be reminded that there are ways to behave in a civilized society..it's akin to a high level politician flipping the bird to a mother and daughter who reminded him that it is illegal to drive and talk on your cell at the same time...

May 28, 2013 @ 1:51 PM

Speysidephil

@Miss.Phil
Phil it was posted by Ryan G. And yes this guy sounds like a real Dickhead.

May 28, 2013 @ 1:54 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@Mississauga Phil

I didn't write this entry. This one is from Ryan G.

May 28, 2013 @ 1:54 PM

mrmojorisinca

Wrong wouldn't be the correct word...not sure what word would apply here..I realize this is easier said then done as you were the one confronted..but your words too him "you aint worth it" should ring loud..this also applies of wasting your time thinking of it any longer..people like that don't deserve the time.

One World, One People, One Love

May 28, 2013 @ 1:58 PM

4x4 Time

That's why Drive Thru's are so popular at T-Ho's...You do not have to put up with miserable people who do nothing but steal air.

May 28, 2013 @ 2:00 PM

Advice

99% of lifes problems can be wrapped up in a roll of carpet with the ends chained and tossed in a deep dark river

May 28, 2013 @ 2:00 PM

Argie

Kudos to Ryan for standing up to this moron.

My only concern would be what type of individual are we dealing with here? Meaning, what kind of dirtbag gets on like that in a public place to someone he doesn't even know. Therefore, a certain amount of caution must be used when dealing with said dirtbag - in that there's likely a chance he may be carrying a weapon. The last thing you want is for this freak to pull a knife or gun over something stupid like this.

I'm sure we would all like to think that we would do the same thing Ryan did but you never know how crazy the other guy is. Sometimes you just have to let this shit slide. I wish it wasn't so.

May 28, 2013 @ 2:04 PM

Curmudgeon

Ryan you were definitely in the right here, but when he called you a pussy you should have punched this guy out and then maybe punched a few of the kids just to send a message.

May 28, 2013 @ 2:21 PM

Ryan G

@Carmudgeon

You're right.

Also, moving forward I'll keep a variety of crumpled up foil chocolate bar wrappers in my pocket, and when shit's about to go down, I'll take one out and place it on the counter and see the fear in the other guy's face as the foil opens back up in a terrifying fashion, just like in No Country for Old Men.

May 28, 2013 @ 2:45 PM

Jamie

Good job Ryan.... I can't count how many times someone will deliberately not hold the door for me both men and women. I always make a point to shout "HEY THANKS" but I've never had someone try anything after I said it or it would be light's out. I have a bad temper and can't walk away from ignorant people that push my buttons like that. I've had a few road rage punch ups in my day of ignorant people cutting me off or tailgating. I don't start shit but I make sure I end it and no I'm no tough guy, I just don't have the time for assholes.

May 28, 2013 @ 4:19 PM

JasonS

Ah, Toronto people. If only they had more respect (not you, the other guy). :)

Can I ask why he was so mad? Surely you interacted with him in some other way?

I'm not really sure Ryan stood up to this guy. It's not like Ryan's response will stop him from doing that again, if anything it will promote it. Bullies like it when you walk away, they win, and this guy was a bully. (In my elementary school, we kicked the shit of all bullies until everyone was cool, lol. So I only know one response.). Then again, I'm not really sure how to teach a guy like this, he's kind of crazy (assuming we got the full story which is never the case). Even pummeling him might not do the trick. Thoughts?

May 28, 2013 @ 4:59 PM

Tron

First I was really confused as I thought Mike wrote this and the first thing I couldn't get over is "Mike a Timmy's guy? always seemed more like a Starbucks dude"

Second if you are about to get into a fight that you don't know what the outcome will be. It's best to KEEP the hot cup of coffee close by, if the fists aren't working, might have to go to plan B.

I've heard some bad things about Timmy's line up, there not "Entertainment district on a friday night" bad, but heard some horror stories from inside and in the drive-thru of Timmy's

I have an instict of saying sarcastic things to people who are acting douchey around me. I been told off back but not to the extent that happened to you. If everybody I was sarcastic to every decided to fight back against me I would end up looking like Glass Joe from Mike Tyson's punch out.

May 28, 2013 @ 5:15 PM

Glen

I'm going to miss you, Mike.

I really enjoyed your blog and podcast.

Toronto Rosie has a nice ring to it though.

May 28, 2013 @ 5:26 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@Tron

My girlfriend prefers Starbucks but when I'm not making my own coffee at home with the French press I'm quite happy with a McDonald's coffee.

May 28, 2013 @ 5:27 PM


Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@Glen

It's Ryan G you're going to miss... this one isn't my fight to fight.

May 28, 2013 @ 5:30 PM

Gump

@Ryan
Oh, to be young and full of testosterone (and not Toblerone)!

I have to say, these things don't happen to me anymore. Living and driving in Toronto, these things that can quickly escalate over real (and perceived) 'wrongs' seem to occur daily, but now I just let them go. Like you, my blood use to boil and I would (sometimes) confront them, but now, the aggression seems to dissipate very quickly and I resort to the "not worth it" mode.
I now embrace this mode of non-confrontation.
The thought of getting punched in the back of my head (like you above) or getting my car wrecked just don't seem worth it to me anymore.

May 28, 2013 @ 5:32 PM

Franco

I think the stress of daily urban living influences people to behave in ways they would never think possible. I often observe individuals disrespecting complete strangers almost everyday. I myself have been a victim of such thoughtlessness on countless occasions as I recently wrote about here: http://francocignelli.com/2013/05/21/according-to-a-lot-of-straight-men-im-a-faggot/
I try to remind myself in situations similar to yours that they're not worth filling negative space in my brain. Sometimes I succeed in laughing it off and I keep walking. However, that's easier said than done. It's shocking how quick to anger some people are, and how little awareness they appear to have. There are a plethora of reasons why people loose their cool so easily, but in moments like what you described it's more about his personal unhappiness and has little to do with you. Anyway, I'm sorry you had to go through that.

May 28, 2013 @ 5:42 PM

Glen

I'm going to miss Ryan G.


I really enjoyed that thing he does.


Toronto Mike has a nice ring to it though.

May 28, 2013 @ 5:51 PM

Anon&on

You brought it on, you started it.
This kind of thing used to happen to me frequently, without any instigation or provocation on my part, just minding my own business. I guess I look like an easy target. I used to get flustered and nervous. Now, I bring it on. I'm proactive. I will call you out. I'm mostly a check-out line/ grocery store confrontationalist, but I can adapt. I don't back down, I remain calm even if I'm convinced cro-magnon man is going to pummel me into the ground. Surprisingly, it has never come to blows. Some day though.

May 28, 2013 @ 5:53 PM

JasonS

@Franco.
I tend to agree with you, but someone who's having a bad day (or month) doesn't continue ranting like that, and certainly doesn't follow you down the street after it's over. That person either has (serious) mental issues or is a complete jerk.

I'm interested in anyone else that has similar stories... and how they were resolved. I haven't really had anything like that.

I had an occurrence where I almost hit someone at an intersection and he spat all over my car... I didn't get out because he looked crazy and the last thing I want is him taking head shots at me as I'm getting out of my car (or biting me). Plus looking back it was kind of funny, even though I was shocked (that I almost hit him) and angry (that he was hitting and spitting all over my car) at the time.

Had a homeless person attack me too after an ACC concert, but surprisingly I had a bunch of strangers just grab him and take him down. So weird.

OK, storytime is over.

May 28, 2013 @ 5:58 PM

Tron

@Mike - Thanks for the love. Great to read your Punch out review, thinking back to it that game sure likes to play up stereotypes though lol.

Ryan calmly removing off his designer sunglasses (okay I added the designer part) is a pretty bad ass move. I still would have a hand full of sweetener just in case.

May 28, 2013 @ 5:58 PM

Franco

@JasonS I agree with you completely. I think I was trying to convey how I have responded to similar experiences, but I know it's not easy. I once had a group of guys throw rocks at me over a streetcar all the while yelling homophobic comments. I was with my bf and we kept walking. We were outnumbered! I think what Mike did was admirable, and took courage.

May 28, 2013 @ 7:11 PM

Franco

Oh yeah and not to bombard your comments sections but in my original comment I meant "lose their cool" and not "loose" I swear I know the difference between the two. :)

May 28, 2013 @ 7:19 PM

Peter

"for a split second I see fear in the guy's eyes, and for me, that was enough"

Last weekend my girlfriend and I were standing on a bridge overlooking a creek in Thornhill when a large rock flew at us. It almost hit us and could have hurt us. I see two teens running away down the path into the trees, and after first checking that my girlfriend was OK, I instinctively sprinted after the culprits, as I used to be a sprinter. I then realized I was 51 years old, but was not deterred as I felt I had to teach these kids a lesson. I did manage to catch up to them as they both fell into the creek, got soaked and ran off. That was enough. I was so out of breath I couldn't speak anyway.

May 28, 2013 @ 8:02 PM

Liz

Yikes! I see this kind of shit go down all the time downtown - and it can be pretty unnerving. I have yet to see anyone ever instigate anything. I've watched all kinds of men and women completely devolve and lost their shit while standing in a line that's not moving fast enough for them. Once a woman started throwing things in a Shopper's Drug Mart around the lunch hour rush because the person at cash gave her the wrong change. And I mean throw shit - all over the place, whatever she could get her hands on. She looked to be a well-dressed professional who completely and inappropriately lost it.

Then there was the personal situation that scared me big time. Going north on the 400 around 4:30 one workday afternoon, it was busier than usual. For once I wasn't in a hurry so I just set the cruise to 115 - totally fine for the right hand lane on the 400. Lots of room all around me. I though, "Cool." I exited at Lloytown and stopped at the light to wait to turn left, going west toward Schomberg. There was a loud - and I mean LOUD - thud that scared the living shit out of me. Some guy was pounding on my car, yeling "You fucking animal!" He reached into the car and put his hand around my neck - it all happened so fast. The guy in the car in front of me saw what was happening so he jumped out of his car and on to the fucking lunatic, yanking him away from my car. Turns out this asshole believed I was the black VW Jetta who cut him off by airport. I'd been in Pickering visiting a client. NOWHERE NEAR PEARSON. Once I clued in I jumped out of the car and started losing my shit screaming at this guy. Tons of big guys were now around helping me - I was so grateful for their help. And one of these good guys had called the cops - thankfully. So Captain Fuckwad was taken away in cuffs. It took me some time before I could get back in the car and drive home. To this day I remain grateful to those great guys who cared enough to stop and help. Turns out Captain F-wad had a bit of a violent history - and has/had a high pressure, huge salary job and the pressure was doing him in (learned from the cop later). The Captain was driving a Porche SUV that more than a few of us would have loved to ram up his ass.

Even now, thinking of this rattles my chain. As one of the other posters said, story time's over.

May 28, 2013 @ 8:10 PM

Rick C in Oakville

I never cared much for Michael Bryant when he was in politics, and his "Stunt Driving Law" still irks the crap out of me, but the situation he found himself in on Bloor a few years ago, where the aggressive bike courier was killed after attacking him made me step back and let the sh$t slide off now. Just too many unknowns and life is too damn precious. Glad you had the sense just to let this punk fester from a distance, and not draw you back in.
@ Liz: my sister had a similar incident a few years ago, guy followed went ballistic on the on ramp, verbally threatening etc. Thank god for cell phones and fast OPP response.

May 28, 2013 @ 10:17 PM

Cheryl

This guy sounds like a jerk, that's for sure. I would try to just ignore him. Not worth it in case he does have a knife or something.

May 29, 2013 @ 11:29 AM

Nigel Trousershrapnel

@ Jamie,
If you've had a few road rage punch ups in your day, look in the mirror pal, there's an asshole looking back at you.

Gotta learn to turn the other cheek, keep things in perspective. Surprised the regulars here gave you a walk on that comment.

May 29, 2013 @ 2:09 PM

Rick C in Oakville

The thugs/bully's even pick on defenseless seniors. Hope Karma is a B**ch and neuters this creep http://www.torontosun.com/2013/05/29/seniors-assault-in-acton-store-caught-on-video

May 29, 2013 @ 9:48 PM

Geoff

A guy yells at you and you want to beat him up? Good for you. I bet those words really hurt! Hope your wife doesn't yell at you.

May 30, 2013 @ 9:42 AM

Curmudgeon

@Geoff

I know right. How dare anyone become enraged in a situation like this and then humorously discuss it in a public forum. Why can't everyone just be calm and perfect and named Geoff?

I hope your wife yells at you.

May 31, 2013 @ 10:44 AM

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