The Urban Dictionary describes Douchebaggery as:
1) The philosophy held by douchebags, holding that no one other than themselves (or perhaps their close associates) matters in the least bit, and thus that other human beings can and should be treated like complete excrement for little or no reason (and often for selfish reasons). Closely related to fascism, which has been practiced by control freaks such as Adolf Hitler.
2) The act of putting this philosophy into practice.
The following is an example of some profound L.A. douchebaggery (which is a particular subset of the standard douchebaggery).
Our tale begins at the L.A. Farmer’s Market, a place I’ve been frequenting for many years. It is a permanent haven of glorious foods and beverages. An L.A. landmark, to be sure. It’s a great meeting place for friends or casual business associates, for drinks, music or a place to read or write. Sadly, it’s next to the far newer outdoor mall-from-Hell known as The Grove. In truth, The Grove is more than a mall. It’s a malignant tumor both culturally, artistically and socially. But let’s not delve any deeper into that today. Suffice it to say that I think of the Farmer’s Market as being far less trendy than its neighboring Grove (though the trendy types do accidentally wander in from time to time, their inner GPS momentarily failing to warn them of the bewildering landscape ahead). The atmosphere is definitely more bohemian at the Farmer’s Market and social status seems far less relevant there somehow (as a result, those rare, disoriented souls almost always find their way rather quickly to the nearest exit and return from whence they came).
Here are the events I experienced today, on this seemingly ordinary sunny Southern California morn, of a particular douchebag who laid claim to the Farmer’s Market as his own personal stomping ground:
I arrive at the Farmer’s Market with my dog Gus. I sit down at an empty table. There’s what looks to be an old discarded newspaper on the table. I’m waiting for a friend. I’m early. I take a seat at the table and settle in. I read my book for a while, work on the computer, check email. After about 20 minutes, my friend arrives. She grabs us some coffee and we talk for about 10 minutes. Ironically, our discussion centers around how some folks in L.A. don’t know how to interact with other human beings in a respectful, healthy manner, how L.A. oftentimes attracts some pretty dysfunctional people who seem to have an overwhelming disregard for others (see douchebaggery above).
As if on cue, a young man walks up to our table and places his plastic cup of bright red juice down on it and proclaims that this is, in fact, his table. He says it in such a way that both my friend and I are a bit confused, but he doesn’t seem to be aggressive or crazy. Maybe this is just where he usually sits. He takes a piece of the newspaper and starts to read it standing up. I tell him to feel free to take the entire paper and he informs me that this newspaper is his. Then he goes to a nearby occupied table, asks the folks sitting there if he can use their free chair, they say yes and he brings it over to our table and sits down and stares at us. I inform him that I have been sitting there for nearly half an hour and he, unwilling to leave, informs me that he got there first and thought leaving the newspaper there was enough to let people know that this table was taken. I tell him that many people leave discarded newspapers on tables when they are done and, since no one was sitting here but me for the past half hour, that there was no reason I should have assumed this table was taken.
I should say, at this point, that the table next to us was empty. He could have sat mere inches away from where he had placed his newspaper down in what was clearly a failed social experiment. But instead, he opts to try and intimidate us out of there by simply being an entitled prick. He could have even asked us to move, which would have been weird, but at least friendly, respectful. He could have explained that he worked at the establishment that this table was in front of and would really appreciate us letting him sit there (and no, the table was not reserved for patrons of that establishment). In fact, there were a million ways this guy could have handled this situation as a decent human being with some measure of tolerance and respect for others. But instead, he acted as if he’d been wronged. As if we’d sat there with complete disregard for him, as if it were a personal “Fuck You.” My friend and I did move to the other table as we really didn’t want to make a scene over a table (though I was tempted). We did, however, talk extra loudly about how there are so many douchebags in L.A. and how the guy at the next table was the perfect example of why this town can suck.
Yes, I do know that there are many good people in L.A. Yes, there are douchebags to be found in every corner of the globe. But somehow this guy walking up and vomiting his dysfunction all over two strangers enjoying coffee and conversation in the moment that we were discussing such matters and how they pertain to L.A. life and lifestyle, seemed just a bit too coincidental for me not to question it as a message from the universe, if the universe is inclined to send such messages. In truth, I don’t believe the universe is so inclined, but events like this make me question my own beliefs.
L.A. may not lay claim of ownership to douchebaggery, but they do have their own specific breed of them and the town does seem to be a magnet of sorts for such reptilian creatures.
For the record and as a sort of “public-service”, I feel the need to share that the establishment this individual represents is known as The Barber Shop Club. I cannot say what the other employees of this establishment are like. They may well all be extremely nice individuals with a great respect for others. But based on this one unpleasant soul, I would say to any self-respecting individual with expectations of being treated even remotely as a human being (if I were to be asked) to take your chances elsewhere and to actively avoid such an establishment and warn friends and loved ones to do the same. Unless, of course, you are the adventurous type and want to possibly come face-to-face with a real, live, honest-to-goodness douchebag. But be warned, they are more tolerable from a distance.