Tuesday, August 5, 2014


[apologies to Dick Bruna, creator of Miffy
"I think our Family were always subject to being a little Miffy." [1]
––Benjamin Franklin, letter to his sister Jane, August 3, 1789 [2]
I've been a little miffy lately.
I yelled at a stranger today. Hollered at her in public, in fact.
Can I blame the humidity?

I was walking around Lake Calhoun with bink and her dog Alfie. We'd stopped on the walking path to rearrange ourselves so Alfie could walk between us. 
As we walked on, a woman in pink and black Lycra ran past on my left and startled me by trumpeting in a haughty, commanding voice, 
"Please decide which side you're walking on."
I was incensed. She'd pushed one of my pet peeves: people who police other people, especially in recreational areas. Plus she just reeked of an "I always have the right-of-way" attitude.
Without missing a beat, I yelled after her,  "Get a life! You can just run around us!" 
She gave me the finger behind her back.  
I cupped my hands and hollered (she was running pretty fast and was getting out of range),

Boy, was I mad, but a couple 12-year-old boys were standing on the path ahead, rigging their fishing poles, and I felt some chagrin at the thought that the peace of their summer day was ruptured by this harridan (me). 
As we got close, I said, "I'm sorry, guys, I was shouting in your direction... I guess I overreacted to that runner..."

And they said, "Oh, she was rude! She just came charging straight at us." 

When I told Marz about this runner, she said, "I think I saw her running around Lake of the Isles too.  A group of runners passed me and one of them said to another, 'So how often do you get to see your nutritionist?'"  
[1] miff (n.): 1620s, "fit of ill humor," perhaps imitative of an exclamation of disgust (compare German muffen "to sulk").
miff (v.): 1797, "to take offense at;" 1811, "to put out of humor"
--etymology online
[2] Benjamin Franklin quote from Book of Ages: The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin (2013), a nonfiction book about the sister to whom B.F. wrote more letters than to anyone else. 
It's interesting, but I wince every time the author, historian Jill Lepore, writes a portentous sentence, which is often. It reads a bit like bad historical fiction.
You can almost hear a drum roll accompanying her chapter-ending sentences such as, "And then, she picked up her pen."  


Zhoen said...

Thing is, anything yelled at her just goes to her self-justification.

Good for you apologizing to the kids, I'm sure that made them feel a bit better.

Yeah, baffle next time. I Am Groot.

bink said...

I think the kids thought it was swell that you yelled at that rude jogger. I was certainly amused... and Alfie, God Bless Him, was deaf to it all.

Fresca said...

ZHOEN: Yeah, my response––yelling mean personal things–– was far from ideal. I reacted in a shocked and unprepared way.
I'm glad I said something but when something like it happens again (as it always does), I shall yell something goofier, like
Or, as you suggest, "I am Groot!"

BINK: Yeah, the kids did seem to think it was swell, didn't they, but I do wish my reaction had been less hostile and more FUNNY (see above).
Deafness has its uses, eh? :)

Krista said...

Deafness does have its uses, I'm here to tell you. And now I know all about what Miffy means!

Fresca said...

KRISTA: Heh, thanks for weighing in.