In the grand balancing act of Polite But Direct, I can generally hold my own, but today I was stumped twice in a row because how do you explain to a stranger that everything they are doing is what you hate most in the world of living in public and also take off that atrocious hat that I definitely had, in brown, found in the basket of winter things when I was seven? You know, but politely. 

What are we calling hipsters these days? Or the special subset who look like someone’s weird and potentially dangerous uncle who lives in the basement but then you see their face close up and you’re like, “nah, you’re 22, and I think you’re wearing moisturizer.” 

That guy was at the end of the bar seating where I had my coffee today, singing exactly one phrase ahead of every part of every song while stomping his expensive-yet-tarnished low-tops on the metal foot-bar and shaking the entire row. 

“I AM NOT HERE FOR THIS.” I texted my best friend. 

But in real time, it was either sit still and stew, or run over, snatch the beanie and scream-cry, “IT IS 65 DEGREES, YOU SOCIOPATH.” 

I sat and stewed because today I have no in-between. 

Eventually he left and made way for a group of three, who seemed promising until the guy closest to me broke out a vape pen and tried to hide it by blowing the smoke under the lip of the bar, directly onto both his thigh and mine. 

After the fourth surprise attack of aerated Flintstones’ vitamins, I turned my back on him and visibly coughed. It felt cheap and I hated myself for not just saying something, especially since I would have been right, but what exactly do you say? 

“Um, excuse me, I hate that because it smells like hospital death and raspberry chalk.”

Actually that is exactly what I would have said if I wasn’t second-guessing how angry I was from all the pre-singing earlier. 

By the time I turned around again, the group was gone and I was alone with no one to ask if they could watch my stuff so I could use the bathroom like you are supposed to in times like these. Instead, I went to Rite-Aid and pretended to be fascinated by Easter candy and ladies’ hand weights, which wasn’t really a stretch because why is there a separate section for Girl Workout Things, tucked in the same aisle as the feminine products, when two rows over one whole aisle houses Regular Workout Things, alongside tools and toys? 

A couple of months ago, I went to Ulta for similar reasons (see: wasting time by making errands last too long) and happened into Workout Makeup

Designed not to wipe off with sweat! 

I was LIVID. 

Do I need to explain why this is such a bad idea? I feel like it’s obvious, but I also feel like a lot of things are obvious, and anyway I have only extremes today, so let me just say, “FUCKING NO.”