Sipping on ginseng coffee on an idyllic Sunday. Taking mother out for Cantonese food in the evening with the family. A little bit of prep-work for the coming WW20. Reading the Sunday papers. Writing a post or two online. Visiting a few blog friends (who have been oft-neglected due to work :P). It’s a good Sunday.
On a Friday Night
“You F*cking idiot! You think that’s an excuse. IDDDDIIIOOOOTT! F*CKING MORON!”
These were the words that greeted my & my companion on stepping out of a sundry store where we stepped in for 5mins to buy a couple of beers & some chips. We recognized the wizened old man with the white beard & pale ‘ang moh’ skin from earlier walking out of the same store. Caught our attention as he was telling something of his wife being sick with something.
The Rant & the Reaction
I realized to my chagrin that I had actually parked my car in front of the entrance to a small car park at the Hillside in Penang. Smiling apologetically, I apologized & explained that it was my fault & that I truly did not know that I was blocking an entrance/exit point. Did not help that the area was poorly lit & that I wasn’t from the area.
Still the old man ranted on. I raised my hand in apologies to the Chinese chap with his family in the SUV behind me.
Casting a last glance at the old man, I decided to get into my car & drive off.
My colleague asked that she was curious why didn’t I respond. In fact she wanted to tell the old man that we had apologized & that it was an honest mistake – if only to avoid me from blowing up & giving the old man a piece of my mind.
I pondered on that for a moment.
I knew that I was in the wrong. Yet I knew that the old man was asking for trouble & being on the verge of public harassment. Still possible given the fact that he had significantly more white hair or lack of hair (Asian upbringing of respecting elders?) & the glimpse of conversation from earlier that his wife was sick – that probably held me back.
If the situation had occurred another day or time, I would have probably wanted to actually walk over to the Chinese chap in the SUV to apologize. And then tell the old man firmly but politely restating that I had apologized, it was an error & that if he continues – I will take action deemed appropriate to avoid this verbal harassment.
Maybe life, work & dealing with all sorts of people has helped me to grow up a little bit in a way.
Have you been in a similar sort of situation before? How did you respond? Or what would you do if you were in my shoes?