Monday, June 18, 2012

Ignorance Met... "Dude!"

Over the course of the weekend flagging the USAC .25 Generation Next race in Hagerstown, Maryland my mind was always going back to the blog post from Thursday and the ignorance of those people. I mean, who are those people that are so mean for no reason?

The racing went long on Sunday so I only got to my sister's house in Indy (arrived just shy of 3AM) and then this morning I headed home. Quickly on the drive I was starting to feel anxious and trapped as I have been in a car for too much time over the past three months so I decided to break up the monotony by playing golf.

I quickly began to find a suitable course and I was getting excited because I love playing golf at small town courses because I believe people are nicer at those type of courses. Big city courses are often hectic, much like a big city, so I do try and play at smaller courses (or big city courses when it's 100 degrees outside and I'm the only fool foolish enough to play in that type of heat).

When I got to the course I instantly thought about last year's dramatic episode on a course in Indy and I was so looking forward to a quick round and then a drive home. Well, as my luck would have it there was an "outing" on the course, a 10 team scramble but the lady at the counter said it'd be no problem.

Quickly I found out that it wasn't a problem at all. Each time I caught up to a team they were more than happy to let me play through. This is why I like small towns! Eventually though I caught up to the majority of teams and there was no getting through and I felt the time ticking away. I wanted to play golf, but I also wanted to be home. When I got to hole 14 I noticed I could skip to 16 and there was nobody there all the way to 18 so I skipped ahead.

Things were going great and I reached hole 18 and I teed the ball up, I looked down the fairway, addressed the ball and swung. As the ball left my club and I looked ahead I noticed a golf cart parking on the left side of the fairway near some trees. I thought nothing of this as I watched my ball sail. It was my best drive of the day although I thought it might have been a bit to the left, but I was proud of the distance.

I drove down the cart path planning this evening's blog post when I got near that parked golf cart. Now, I have no idea where they came from or what hole they were on (they certainly weren't on 18) but as I slowly approached with the inquisitive look on my face as if to say, "where's my ball" the driver of that cart looked at me and said, "Dude!"

Dude. There's a lot of things that can come from dude. Like, "Dude, nice shot." or "Dude, are you lost." and then again maybe he was just saying "Dude." for the sake of saying dude. I was at a loss as to what he was wanting or stating so I stopped the cart and stared at him blankly. "Dude!" he said again and there was a pause as if we were waiting for me to reply, which I didn't, because I didn't know how to.

"Okay" he said with a prolonged voice, "dude, your ball landed right there" and as he said that he pointed to about a foot to the right of his cart and at this point in time the vulgarity began. I will not use those words on here, but every other word had some sort of nasty word preceding it. "See that right there? Your ball landed right there. Right there! Are you hearing me?"

Was I hearing him? I was but my body was in panic mode. I was just as paralyzed then as I was when I was trying to figure out the definition of "dude." I tried to respond but I couldn't because I was processing too many things; one of which was what my escape plan would be because he kept slowly rising as if he were about to head towards me. He then said, "So, are you hearing me?" and I thought to myself and I just about said this, "Well, that's what happens when you drive and then park when someone is hitting, but why are you mad? Yes, why are you mad? What right do you have to be mad? Were you hit? NO! I've nearly been hit today on four separate holes but was I mad? Nope, so why are you mad?"

Why are you mad? That question kept circling through my brain when everything was derailed when the driver turned to the person in the passenger seat and said, "What's with this guy? Is he stupid? Deaf? I think he's stupid." Instantly my mind went back in time to last August and the complete feeling of being powerless. I now had no idea what to do and my blank staring at him continued which just made him madder and madder.

With that barrage of verbal insults I stepped on the gas and was done. I had been verbally abused long enough and I don't know what that man's problems were but I knew if I stayed there any longer I would be the root of everything wrong in his life. Even as I got to my ball 20 yards away I could still hear him bashing every ounce of my being and my intellect and my awkwardness and the fact that I had slip on dress shoes on and I glanced back and I could see the passenger staring off into space as if he wanted to be anywhere but there. I shared that feeling 100%.

I thought about picking up my ball and leaving, but that would be letting the bully win, right? I hastily made my shot so as to not antagonize the mad man behind me and I hope he saw my shot because it was a beauty that sailed high into the midwestern air and came raining down onto the green about 4 feet from the pin. I turned back to the man with a sly smirk but I did so so fast that I don't know if he saw me or the shot, but I got to the green, made my birdie putt, and quickly vacated the area. Then it hit me and I felt scared, alone, and isolated.

The feelings grew and grew and grew. Why did this happen? How can people be so mean? I then realized I met the type of person that puts those comments I mentioned in Thursday's post. I was now torn internally because I felt belittled, abused, and to be honest I felt somewhat less of a person, but at the same time I know I met the enemy face-to-face. I met intolerance and ignorance. As bad as I felt I quickly came around and realized this person was the type of person that needs to be reached the most. Of course I have no idea how to do so because even if I gave the best presentation in the world and he was there he probably wouldn't take one bit of info away. And this is something I don't understand because, as I asked earlier, how can people be so mean? How can something so accidental set someone off so fast? I wish I knew the answer and I wish people could just be more understanding regardless the situation. If people were this entire world would be a much better place. As for now my memories are filled with the angry golfer on the 18th hole and to that man, wherever he may be, I say, "Dude! I hope you read this someday!"


  1. Remember that you wondered how being bullied feels like? Well, think of this experience and imagine having to go through these type of experiences every day, maybe even multiple times a day. Some even draggin the situation out, following you while still making these comments, while you're trying to walk away.
    Imagine all that anger and frustration and confusion you had... And then getting that every day and for a longer period of time. Now imagine what something like that can do to a person.

    Now you have a slight grasp of what bullying is like. And this is why I have zero tollerance of bullying. It destroys lifes.

  2. Aaron.. I read your blog and then walked away thinking of how to answer. Then I paced back and fourth in the kitchen for a while before coming back because I was just at a loss. I do not know how you feel in these moments, but the way you express yourself thru the words you choose, make me feel that I can actually feel the anxiety you are experiencing. This past weekend, I was at a dance recital for my niece. Afterwords, we went and had a late lunch and a family member was talking rather loudly over how some of the other dancers were not that good. There were two other tables with dancers and families at the restaurant, and we quickly hushed her. I tried to make her understand that you don't know who is listening and you don't know who's feelings you might hurt. When the gentleman decided to question your mental well being, it's obvious no one ever taught them to think before they speak. For this, I'm sorry on their behalf. I do hope one day they can read this and remember how awful they were so that maybe someday, someone else will not have to feel the awful verbal wrath that you had to endure. Keep your chin up tho, you inspire me everyday with your words. You've made such a difference in our lives and you don't even know it. I wish the old saying, Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me actually were true. But, we're only human and words sometimes hurt.

  3. People are the best and worst beings on Earth.
    You are one of the best.

  4. You have so many gifts. One of those is to teach. Others also have gifts; sometimes seemingly small like standing up for someone who is being bullied. You are a blessing. He was wrong.

  5. There are bullies every where.........don't let them take your energy. If you hadn't been the next person at that 18th hole, someone else would have been berated, just as you had been. He was rude,wrong, and obviously a bully. Even the person in his cart felt uncomfortable.........let it ride off your shoulders..............he will never never get it. Thank God you do! Kindness and actions show the true character of a person, he had no characteristics of kindness and probably never will. These types of people you can only do what you did.......move on. Leave their bad energy behind. Sorry it ruined your day, but don't let it stay with you! You have too much to give.

  6. They just don't know about you.

  7. He's just jealous of you because you have the following:
    Game skills
    Talent at presentations
    Ability to touch hearts with words (and not surgery, eee-uw.)
    Unique perspective
    Willingness to do things I would NEVER do in my life (like driving at 160 mph, but can cars go that fast?)

    Asperger's Syndrome is what made you who you are and so many intelligent, successful people that don't do it to make bank. Instead, they do it because it's their passion.

  8. In this situation, I don't know about this hole in particular (since I wasn't there at the golf course nor I know about the design of that hole). If that person is really bullying you, then how you handled the situation was OK. But if what that person said indeed was true, then you do have to apologize. Otherwise, how that scene played out was that you were making things worse by ignoring him.

    Since you played golf a fair bit, you might have watched some golf on TV. If you watch golf on TV on drivable par 4's or reachable par 5's, people wait for the green to clear before they hit their shots unless the group ahead of them gives them the go ahead. If there is a group breathing down their necks, they probably would just explain to them that the group ahead is taking a little long.