There 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?