Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Sometimes people baffle me

        Look at the bicycle in this photograph. Study its lines, its geometry.

Okay, now imagine that you see this bicycle chained to a post outside a pharmacy. You go into the pharmacy and see two people in line, waiting to pick up prescription refills. One of them, the second in line, is holding a bicycle helmet. You don't know him, he doesn't know you. You walk up to him and say "Think you ought to lose some weight?"

Did that make any sense to you?

Right. It didn't to me, either, when it happened a couple of days ago. I had ridden a bicycle identical to the one in the photo above (except for the color and additional saddlebags) to my local pharmacy to pick up a prescription. I was standing behind another person, waiting my turn, when this guy got into line behind me and said to me "Think you ought to lose some weight?" I starred at him for a moment, wondering what the hell his problem was. Then he kind of gestured at the bicycle helmet under my arm, and said "That your bicycle out there?" Still not grasping what he was getting at, I nodded. "Looks like you're so heavy you've bent the seat post way out of line!" he continued.

By this point, I had mentally classified this guy as (a) an idiot, and (b) obnoxious, and proceeded to ignore him. And his subsequent conversation with another person sitting in a chair nearby confirmed my observations, especially (a). He started talking to this other person about my bicycle. "Lookit that seat post! Look how it's bent way back! Like somebody really heavy's been sittin' on it!"

Now, I think anyone of at least average intelligence can look at the photo of my bike and realize that THAT IS THE WAY IT IS MADE. It does not look exactly like a standard bicycle in the geometry of its frame, because it is not a standard bicycle. It is a slightly different type of bicycle called a "crank forward", for the fact that the crank, with the pedals, is positioned about a foot forward of where it usually is on most bikes. But take a look at those beefy frame tubes, and the fact that they are also doubly triangulated, and imagine the kind of weight, the sheer force it would take to even slightly deform them. I may have a few pounds that I should drop, but I am far from being heavy enough to even remotely come close to what would be necessary to bend those tubes. And that should be obvious to everyone except the incredibly dense.

Fortunately, I was able to get my prescription and exit without having to listen to much more of this guy's ridiculous utterances. But it stayed with me as I rode away. I kept trying to figure out what would possess someone to address someone you don't know at all in such a manner.

After mulling it over, I realized that he was trying to make a joke… but it was one of the lamest, most strained attempts at humor that I have ever mad the misfortune to be subjected to. And the social ineptitude necessary to try to build on that shaky joke's foundation by telling a total stranger, out of the blue, that you think he needs to lose weight, is just --

Well, I was going to say "mind-boggling", but it isn't, really. I'll save that description for something that deserves it. This was just really stupid and sad. -- PL


Jeff M said...

Hmm, maybe he actually knew who you were, and got nervous? I say some pretty dumb things when nervous. It's about the only explanation I can think of --well, other than the fact that he truly was, that dumb. Oh well... takes all kinds I suppose...

Adam Riches said...

Wow. That's about the best word I can think of at the moment. I'm really sorry that you (and all intelligent people for that matter) have to deal with such unbelievably classless and stupid individuals in this world.

I wish I could say that I'm shocked to hear your story, but I'm not, and have many similar stories of astounding idiocy I've encountered over the years. Like you, I would ponder them in my head "what would compel someone to say or do ___?" but that is the thinking of someone rational. Which is the root of the whole thing: anyone stupid enough to say something that rude whether joking or not, and especially to someone they don't know is clearly someone who's problem is that they DON'T THINK...ever.

This almost goes without saying, but that idiot isn't even worth your continued thoughts.

Adam Riches said...

Also, I forgot to mention this, but you've lost a very noticeable amount of weight over the last year or so! In fact, I even made a comment about this on your post "Organically Grown" on Sept 4, 2010.

That guy was lucky you dealt with him in such a classy way. Something tells me I wouldn't have handled the situation quite the same as you ;-)

Lea said...

I am not even involved and I want to apologize for you even having to deal with the ignorance of this individual.

Having worked with the public for a number of years now I have come to one sad conclusion. A good portion of the population has forgotten or never learned a majority of social norms.

People say and do the most ignorant, rude things and then often times either don't understand why someone else get's upset or are proud of the fact they had acted like an idiot.

It genuinely frightens me for the state of our future generations.

I wouldn't dwell on this event too much, because frankly this man isn't worth the time of your thought!

W.Peabody said...

Nice semi-recumbent! Looks like a great ride.

cloud said...

Hi Peter,
My guess is he might actually was trying to be funny. I label it as a person with poor social skills. You know with the same material or even the same joke word from word, a person can say it and be dead funny and another can say the exact same thing and end up having an awkward moment.
Sometimes you'll find one of those guys that wants to be funny but fails most of the time.

Mark H said...

Wow, I can't believe that guy had the nerve to tell a total stranger that he "needs to loose weight".
I would guess he was joking too. The angle of the seat post is clearly designed to go with the angle of the frames center post.
Also, I have seen you in person. You are not a heavy guy at all. I would say you are a man of average build. Not nearly big enough to bend that bike's seat post in any way.
With that in mind I have to conclude it was just a joke. A joke done in poor taste. I could never imagine saying such a thing to a stranger. That does not seem funny at all. It just seems rude!
I would not think on it for another second. Unfortunately we live in a world with people who do and, say lots of stupid things. All we can do is tolerate them to the best of our abilities and, hope they don’t breed! ;)

Miserable Dreamer said...

I've suffered from male pattern baldness since I was 17. That's like me taking my hat off and some stranger saying "Sure are bald, ain'tcha?"

What did Luthor say his father told him, in the first Superman movie? "People are no damn good."

PL said...

"W.Peabody said...
Nice semi-recumbent! Looks like a great ride."

Wendy, it IS a great ride! If you ever get a chance to try one, I would highly recommend it. The brand name is "RANS", and the model is the "Fusion".

It's very comfortable, with the wide seat and upright sitting position, and very light. Not QUITE as comfortable as a recumbent (no back rest), but pretty close. --- PL

BL said...

Classy way of dealing with such an ---! You DID NOT take the bait...and as Ben would probably say...."He was just a hoohah"!

CG said...

Some people are just nasty people. And I've been a big guy most of my life, so I have run across more of those kind of people than I'd wish on anyone else.

mikeandraph87 said...

Wow, I'm sorry you had to deal with that jerk. Its just one of many examples of unintelligence in this world.
Your defintely average build as I've met you in person and since the sale of the TMNT it has been obivious in your pictures that you have slimed some as well on top of that from bike riding, Organically Grown,etc.
Your a classy guy, who dealt with it in a way as Adam mentoned not many could have. Props to you for that. Also its good to let it off and the blog here is the perfect way to do so.

Anonymous said...

If that happens again you should try and convince the person that the bike is designed that way to help you lose weight and that the special shape helped you lose over 200lbs already! That would be funny.

mikeandraph87 said...

I'm sorry you had to deal with that jerk. It just shows the unintelligence in this world.

I agree with Adam, since the sale of the TMNT you have slimmed some and it shows. More time for biking,Organically Grown,etc. There is also the fact as I have met you in person, your average build.

You did something that not many of us could do and props to you for how you handled him. This blog is a good way to let it off as well.