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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

They said the F word. I said nothing.

 photo F-word_zpsefef1b15.jpgThere I was, minding my own business, soaking up free WIFI at a McD's, biding time until I had to go pick up my daughter. About 20 minutes and one large iced tea into my solitude, a group of 20-somethings seated themselves two tables over from me. They were loud and they were vulgar.

Every sentence was peppered with the F word and the B word and the S word. I'm not a stranger to those words, but I don't use them often. Or proudly.  But these "kids" were flinging them around without remorse as though they were saying "very" or "heck" or a thousand other more polite and intelligent-sounding words.

I wondered if the young family I'd heard sitting behind me earlier had left the restaurant. I hoped they had. And I sat there wishing these profanity-prone hipsters sitting four feet from me would just shut up and go away. I opened my Facebook page and mused with my fingertips when such vulgarity had become so commonplace, so mainstream.

What I wish I would have done, what I should have done, was stand up, walk over to the table and asked them to not use that language. Not so loudly. Not at all.

But I didn't. I didn't because I feared what they might say, already imagining the red embarrassment climbing up my neck and across my face. I feared what insults they might hurl in my direction. I didn't because I worried that after I'd said my piece, I would feel compelled to pack up and leave and I didn't want to go just yet. I had things to do, time to spend and I had been there first.

I didn't say anything because I allowed the people-pleasing anxiety I carry to take my mind to scenes of them following me to my car, threatening me, hurting me.

I wish I'd said something. It wouldn't have saved a life. It wouldn't have conquered a great injustice. But maybe it would have made this corner of the world for that moment on this night a little nicer place to be.

What would you have done?

14 comments:

Momza said...

I have actually spoken up to a group of young men who were talking like that, in the presence of my children. I walked over and said, "I would appreciate it very much if you would not use that kind of language in front of my young children. Thanks." I haven't been in that situation as an adult, but I can imagine my self speaking up if it bothered me. I think each situation is different...and maybe next time, you'll react differently.

Angie said...

As a fellow people-pleasing, conflict-averse friend, I can see myself doing the same thing. Had I been with my kids I might feel more compelled to say something. Still, you never know. I know my older nephews can be this way, and they honestly don't notice they're swearing until you point it out. Like you said, these words are as innocuous to them as "crap" or "shoot."

Eternal Lizdom said...

If my kids were with me, I definitely would have said something. If other kids were nearby and I noticed parents looking uncomfortable, I might have said something.

I've stood up to teens about saying "retard" when they mean stupid. So I hope I would stand up in other situations.

Tough call...

Eternal Lizdom said...

I might also be immature and passive aggressive and start loudly saying alternate words for their swears. So when I hear the loud f bomb, I might just yell FUDGE. And the next time yell FARFEGNOOGEN! And then FAIRIES! Maybe I can act crazy enough to drive them away.

Michelle said...

Being conflict-averse myself, I'm unlikely to say anything unless my kids are there or there's someone else distressed by the behavior. Ugh.

rcam1230 said...

As the others have commented, if my 5-yr old was with me I would say something in a heartbeat. If my tween/teens were with me, I'd probably not have said anything, but made a point to tell my own kids that *that* behavior is unacceptable. They are always quick to tell me that they "hear the same or worse at school," but I want them to realize heavy swearing is unattractive. I had a dear teacher in high school tell our class that "swearing is a sign of weakness." Whether he meant weakness of vocabulary or weakness of character I don't know, but it's stuck with me ever since. When I see/hear teens, young adults or grown adults habitually peppering their conversations with f*** and its friends... it grips my last nerve.

Cherie said...

Wow friend. Let's start with the fact that you even contemplated saying something is different from most. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness - who dwell in the tension of identifying the brokeness of humanity and see the need to reconcile things, making them right with God & man.

Sadly, if my kids were there I would have said something but if I were alone I would have been too embarrassed. Which makes no sense because if I long for purity for my girls, shouldn't I want the same things for myself?

Thanks for giving me something to chew on this morning. ;)

sunshinegirl said...

I would not have said anything if it were just me. When similar things have happened and I had my kids around, I gave pointed dirty looks. I'm kind of passive-aggressive like that. Unfortunately, My kids have now reached an age where they hear those words so much when they are NOT with me (school and the bus) that I don't think they even notice it when they hear them and I am around. Except that they look at me like "uh oh...is mom going to flip out and embarrass us?"

Miss Stewart and Students said...

I have been known to say things and have the cuss users be embarrassed, and I have been known to react as you did.

It all depends on, well, lots of things.

Ellie (who is, for some reason, signed into her work identity on this Saturday morning)

WritRams said...

I'm not going to lie, I can have a mouth like a sailor. However, I would use those words like that in a family setting. You shouldn't feel bad. It's not your job to finish raising someone else's children.

I have said things before to people. (Uh, did I tell you about the time I said something to parents fighting and demeaning and cursing in front of their kids?) I always try to be polite and it's met with different responses. Sometimes the people apologize, sometimes the people turn their boiling internal hatred on you. And, some days you just can't handle it so it's OK to say NOTHING.

WritRams said...

*never use those words

Nancy said...

Yesterday when D and I were leaving the grocery store, there was a group of adults standing by the car next to us using those same kinds of words. I didn't say anything except excuse me when I needed to get into my car. Once in the car, D made a comment about their language and it led to a good conversation about how you sound when you talk like that.

Skyline Spirit said...

pretty nice blog, following :)

Nicole said...

I curse a lot, and sometimes don't notice that I'm doing it. And as someone pointed it out politely I would be the one embarrassed.

Overall, I try not to curse in a family setting. Because, well, it's not appropriate.