Day 331: Be too nice

July 30, 2011 § Leave a comment

I’m done being nice to strangers.

This afternoon, I took a break from working on an article to take a walk. A guy with a limp stopped me at the corner of Adams and Dearborn and politely asked if he could borrow my phone to make a local call. For all I knew, he needed to call the love of his life and tell her how much he loved her before she boarded a plane for Moscow. Or maybe someone had mugged him of all his earthly belongings and, no longer being able to afford a train ride home, needed his son to drive downtown and pick him up. So I agreed and we stepped off into an open square.

The first warning sign should have been when he got frustrated with the touch screen and angrily made me type the number in for him. I took pity on his fat fingers and did the deed. I can’t be sure who he was talking to or the content of their conversation, as he proceeded to mumble under his breath into the microphone, but what I can tell you is that his conversation took about 20 minutes, which is 19 minutes longer than I had anticipated. And I just had to sit there and breath in the stench of nearby construction. At about minute 11 I tried to tell him to wrap up because I needed to go, but he cut me off in mid sentence, holding his finger up for silence like a kindergarten teacher. When he finally wrapped up, I had to endure a five minute rant about crooked lawyers before he’d pass the phone back, sans thank you.

When I pulled my phone out back at the newsroom, I noticed that he hadn’t bothered to hang up, costing me another five minutes.

Now I’m done venting. I know it could’ve been worse. He could have shoved me down and limped off with my cell, never to be seen again. But I think I’m entitled to a few hours of mild irritation.

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