Cantankerous Old Buttface

Monday, July 16, 2007

Being elderly is no excuse to be a bitch.

Now before you start to write angry e-mails, this is not a rant about the elderly. I love many elderly people, and feel that with their experience and wisdom they deserve respect from people which society seems to deny them far too often.

This post is about using your age as an excuse to be old sack of bitter and mean. The kind of people who turn on the sprinklers when the girl scouts approach their door wishing to unload cookie merchandise.

I was at a little pastry shop today trying to pick out a tasty little lunch (oh yeah, dessert for lunch, love that 20-something metabolism). I was going through the cases of nummy treats when a senior couple approached behind me; I hadn’t decided what I wanted so I offered for them to go ahead of me.

"You young people don’t know how to make a quick decision anyways," snapped the old lady.

"She’s old," I thought, "I’ll let it slide."

"Well, it’s my first time here, and I’m just seeing what they have first. There’s a lot to choose from."

"Get the sacher torte," she noted, not looking in my direction.

"Not sure if I’m really down for that for lunch." (I have to keep some kind of restraint, right?)

"You just don’t know what’s in it. I can tell. You’re too young to know anything about refined food like this."

"Excuse me?"

This was the wrong thing to say because at this point, apparently all of the meds wore off ans she showed her true inner sociopath "Oh just take a class and learn what a cake really is!"

Now in the many instances of stupid people I seem to magnetically attract, I think I hold my cool pretty well. I like to think I have good manners, and despite the demagoguery of politeness I try to embody, sometimes, well, even the best of us lose it.

"Excuse me but first, that’s a nice way to be polite after I let you ahead. Second, I can MAKE a torte! Third, just because I’m young doesn’t mean I’m an idiot or that you can talk to me that way."

She was taken aback. Apparently when she deals it out she’s used to people succumbing to her and her grandma status. She wasn’t used to back-sass. She soon recovered, "How dare you speak that way to me! I’M OLD!"

The entire restaurant just stopped and starred at her. And then at me. The person who had upset the little old lady.

I smiled and held back the idea of telling her to just buy her cake and to watch out in case someone drops a house on her. That and the image of slamming her face into the first cake I see danced in my head. Thank god for restraint.

While all of this was going her husband / man friend / croney / whatever just stood there and ignored this whole thing. Like it never happened.

She ordered her cake and took it home, attempting to burn me alive with a baleful stare. To which I simply smiled and waved as she left. Yay for passive aggressiveness.

So you’re old? Congratulations, in X amount of years on earth you didn’t die from disease, freak accident, or bad luck. Doesn’t mean that you can use your age to be a total cantankerous buttface. Maybe you do know more about food than me, there’s a good chance you do. But I guess no one will ever want to hear it from you with an attitude like that.

As I approached the counter, I watched her through the glass in the door as she took her cake and got in the car with her not-a-care companion.

"Jesus, I’m sorry. She’s always like that. She’s screamed at me more than once before," noted the girl behind the counter, a pallid and apologetic look upon her face.

"You mean she’s ALWAYS like that?"

"Yeah, even to the pastry chef when she tells him ‘How to do it right.’"

I left a big tip in the jar. Along with my condolences.


  1. What an ass. And I agree wholeheartedly- don't use your age to be an ass! I think you were right in what you did.

  2. Oh my favorite part about your story was not letting a house drop on her. hehe. I live in Miami Beach and have loads of these "don't yell at me I'm old". I typically will let anyone elderly hop in front of me in line- but most of them here will just squeeze themselves in front of you without looking at you or asking. Kudos to you for keeping such a cool head.

  3. Garrett.
    There is a lot of that about. My absolutely worse worse moment was on the London Underground when I commented that the train was running late to the person next to me who happened to be blind and who then for no reason at all shouted at me to leave her alone and not to assume blind people needed talking to. I hadnt even registered she was blind until that moment. There was I the nasty person in the Tube who had upset a lady with a guide dog. And she wouldnt stop shouting. I got off three stops early.

  4. If I didn't know my grandmother was ensconced at an assisted living center in Tennessee, I would swear you just had a run in with her! That's her and her attitude to a tee!

  5. You know I used to think I was a magnet for asses, but you really are a magnet for them. They just find you everywhere. But I really do love reading these stories.

  6. I love the title of your entry. And I'm all for respecting old people but the sense of entitlement just kills me. I'm still laughing at the Can tankerous Old Buttface title. How horrified would she be if she knew you were blogging her?

  7. I bet she still refers to her car as the "horseless carriage" and the fridge as the "ice box."

    (OK, now what am I saying? I refer to MySpace as "The My Space -- that thing that all the kids are doing now days.")

    The simple fact is that nice people grow up to be nice old people. Jerks are still jerks at any age.

  8. WOW, unbelievable. Good for you for not taking it. I love the word "sass"

  9. Jebus! I've never encountered such a bitter old woman before. :( I wouldn't have known how to reply to her. GO YOUUU!!

    Mm, dessert for lunch is where it's at.

  10. Ohh, I would have been so mad. I've run into quite a few of those kinds of old people. I always try to play devil's advocate with them, and start acting all twitty and air-headed, like they expect young people to be. I can't believe she acts like that and gets away with it. She'll get put in her place sometime. And what adds salt to the wound is that she accused you of not knowing about cakes/tortes, and you're a foodie blogger, grrrrr!!!

  11. Ah bless you Garrett!

    If it wasn't for the fact that my gran died earlier this year I could have sworn you had run into her. Mind you, she would not know what a sacher torte was...

    I commend you for standing up for yourself.

  12. That was funny...the only thing that would have made that better was some background music from the wizard of oz (the scene during the tornado when she's riding on the bike).

    Bonus points for using "Cantankerous"

  13. I'm proud of you for confronting her - I would have just grumbled about it all day.

  14. I'm stunned at the people you encounter on a regular basis. Have you checked your toiletries for any clandestine asshole-attractant? :D

  15. Wow. Just wow. People like that flabbergast me. I doubt she was any different when she was young---she presumably just used some other excuse for why she should be able to get away with it.

    Anyway, nice blog! Hope you don't mind my adding it to the errant dreams cooking links. I've been finding such wonderful cooking blogs to add of late.

  16. ugh! I used to deal with that kind of old people all the time when I worked in Borders. They though that just because they are old they can skip the super long line of people waiting to pay.

  17. rude of that woman. But, I loved your retort. Good for you. It's amazing the characters that you encounter.

  18. This is a great story. I am always repulsed by people (of any age) that think they can talk down to strangers or people in the service or retail industry. So, of course, I speak up and start a confrontation. I could never do it while I was employed in those fields, so it is good to stand up now and tell them to act like civilized humans. Needless to say it creates quite the scene sometimes. My coworkers or other shopping companions dont always appreciate it, but I feel it is important to call people on their ****. Not enough people do that, so they end up continuing that behaviour. Congrats on standing up to her, and thank you for sharing this story so eloquently.

  19. holy shit.
    you kept your cool and showed them how it IS done. Good for ya.

  20. I love this story and I will be subscribing to your blog now... I am a jackass magnet/jerk magnet myself.. i even keep the 'witch on a bicycle' music from Wizard of Oz on my mp3, so that I can put it on when i have a close encounter with them. Well-handled!


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