I’m in line at a falafel truck the other night. The King of Falafel, if you must know, in Astoria. Pound for pound, the best falafel in the city. It’s a long line, like 10, 12 people deep. Fortunately they didn’t charge extra for all the exhaust we breathed in.
I get behind this woman in line. I stop paying attention and after looking at my phone for awhile, I look up and see she’s gone. I finally work my way to the front and another woman looking at the menu on the side of the truck abruptly cuts in front of me to order.
No one goes from 0 to 60 quicker than me after I’ve been cut in line. Doesn’t matter where: movies, DMV, handsome cab stand. I don’t tolerate it. I also get a huge justice boner for calling out people out who cut me. All line cutters are entitled pigs.”Oh, why should I have to wait?” They’re the lowest of the low in society, above only pedophiles and pretty much anyone leaving a YouTube comment.
So whenever I get cut, I decide to call the person out and tit becomes a little mini-movie in my head: here I am, the virtuous protagonist, speaking truth to power about the dastardly deeds of this despicable person (if you could even bestow person status on this monster). I become a mythological hero Joseph Campbell would be proud of. I’m John Wayne, Robin Hood, Luke Skywalker, John McClane, Riggs AND Murtaugh all rolled into one.
I confront her, ready to expose her as the corrupt, morally bankrupt scum she was: “Excuse me, are you just waiting on your food, or are you ordering?” Figured I’d ask her if she was waiting to pick up a previously ordered plate first. Give her the benefit of the doubt. As the righteous hero, it’s my duty to be a benevolent, just God.
She responds:”I’m ordering.”
Now was when I’d connect the dots, exposing her sin for the rest of the world (or at least, the rest of the falafel truck line) to see. I had her, dead to rights, and it was time to restore balance to the Force.
“Just so you know…you cut me in line.”
She looks confused. “No I didn’t. I was right behind that guy.” She points to the guy in front of me.
I smile, smug as can be. “Nope. I was behind him. I’ll let you order, but you should know you cut me. You did. You cut me.” I take a quick “can you believe the audacity” glance at the others in line, as if I was rallying them behind my cause. No one looks back at me. This is understandable: clearly because they’ve been conditioned to cower in the face of tyranny. Don’t worry everyone. That’s why I’m here. If anyone else tries to pull off the same heinous crime, I’ll be the one to stand up to injustice when you’re all afraid. I’ll be your silent guardian. Your watchful protector. Your Dark Knight.
Once she apologized, owning up to her act of sheer evil, I imagined everyone would applaud. They’d hoist me on their shoulders as they chant my name. The owner of the truck come out from the back and say, “Thank you Mike! Free falafel for life!” as the mayor of New York showed up to present me, Han Solo, and Chewie with a medal. A girl asks me to sign her tits.
The woman snapped me out of my reverie, however, when she shook her head and laid this shocking reveal on me: “No, I didn’t cut you. I walked over to check the menu for a minute and came back.”
Then it slowly dawned on me: the lady who had been in front of me before “leaving” and the lady checking the menu on the side of the truck? Same woman. She was right. I was wrong. She had been there the whole time.
This was devastating. Just seconds earlier I was the Superman of the falafel truck. Now? The villain was me. It was the quickest heel turn in history. The same assembled crowd I hoped to wow with my sense of fair play would now harshly judge me for jumping to such a hasty conclusion.
I didn’t even care about her actually cutting me and the 3 additional minutes I would have had to wait because of it. I just wanted the satisfaction of calling out a cutter. But now it was different. The same adulation delivered to me in my “call out” fantasy needed to be delivered to me inversely, in the form of punishment. I’d pay for her falafel, as well as the falafel of everyone else in line. I wouldn’t be allowed to have any, though I’d still have to pay. I’d announce my sin: “I falsely accused her. I stand before you, begging your forgiveness, falafel line. I know I”m not fit to lead you.” The owner of the truck comes out and says, “Banned for life!” The rest of the line escort me home, pelting my naked body with falafel ingredients the whole way while the weird nun from Game of Thrones rings a bell and yells, “SHAME” over and over. A girl asks me to sign her tits.
But none of that happened. Instead I just mumbled something like, “Oh okay, that’s cool,” awkwardly stood there next to her, then made my order.
Moral of the story: by all means, call out line cutters. The fabric of our society depends on it. But make sure they actually did the crime.
Or don’t, who gives a shit? How many times have you been cut in line in your life? Five, max? Don’t worry about it.