With the exception of a two-word, 7-letter expression that is pretty much a one-size-fits-all comeback, most of us are not instantly ready to emit a snappy return insult when a complete stranger suddenly lobs a verbal attack in our direction. I'd like to think it's because we are civilized and were not raised in a barn. But it's probably because we are too wrapped up in our activities to notice some weirdo lurking in the corner, fuming, panting and preparing to attack an innocent bystander.
It's an assault to our daily lives and interactions, these unexpected bursts from strangers. It temporarily freezes us. Because that kind of unacceptable behavior can't be explained. The wheels in your head spin. Is the rude person demented? A homeless person? On drugs? We run through the gamet of types of people who would behave in this manner. By the time we realize the guy is just an asshole, the opportunity to respond in a timely manner has elasped.
At least that seems to be my process. How about you? You can read more about this disturbing topic in my personal blog today at this link: A Creepy English Toad at Halekulani's Orchids.