As I am walking into the grocery store today, a woman on her cell phone cuts me off — with a look. I apparently crowded her space bubble and she stopped abruptly — with a wrinkled nose, as if she walked through somebody’s fart grenade — and looked me up and down. Holy entitlement! I paused to let the diva pass and continued on my way. She marched right out the door to her battered Subaru with two dogs writhing in back, blabbing ferociously into her cellphone as if running a political campaign.
Customers at the Cafe expect immediate, special treatment; every mountain motorist ever confronted with a roundabout assumes it belongs to them alone; Summit dog owners expect their dogs can frolic willy-nilly; and bi-otches at the supermarket expect the automatic right away. How did everyone get so damn entitled?
To paraphrase my good friend Merriam-Webster, entitlement is “a belief that one is deserving of certain rights or privileges.” Entitlement — not gasoline or organic whole milk — is the fuel of Summit County. But just like a twin-turbo engine running on low octane gas, the fuel is severely lacking. As a waitress, I notice more entitlement than a person on a diet notices Krispy Kreme donuts.
Let me give you an example. A week ago — during the busy Martin Luther King weekend push — most people were kind, happy and friendly. But there’s always at least one bad apple lurking in the bottom of the barrel.
It all started when the host innocuously seated a pair at one of my two tops. The couple immediately wanted to sit at the only four top I had left. Other customers were orbiting the restaurant like ravenous asteroids, countless others funneling through the door like sand in a sieve. At barely 6 p.m., it was evident a busy night was in store — a fact more lost than Paris Hilton’s virginity on these two crusty baguettes.
“I’m sorry, but we’re filling up quickly and I’d love to save that table for a larger party,” I said upon receiving their none-too-polite “request” to move to my four top (as they placed their menus and coats upon it).
“Well, we’re here,” the man said, sitting down resolutely. His lady followed suit, glaring at me. “They’ll just have to wait.”
I wanted to say, “Can I get you a glass of *sshole Ale?” Like, I’m sorry ma’am, sir, I didn’t realize who you were (wait, who are you?). Here, let me wipe your chairs with bleach water so you don’t have to sit where mere mortals have sat before. I’ll whip up a new table-cloth so you can rest your pristine palms upon an unblemished surface. While I’m at it, I can construct a new, elevated section of restaurant so you can look through your fake eyelashes all the plebeians dining below like Roman magistrates over the Colosseum.
Take it away, Louie CK (warning, this one’s a little vulgar, because that’s how Louie rolls):
Instead I said, “Well, we have two lovely soups today — A tomato, Asiago and spinach and a roasted poblano pepper, chorizo and corn.” I followed this statement with a saccharine smile that would put a heavily iced cinnamon roll to shame.
Honestly, surrounded by entitlement as a Lucky Charm is surrounded by a bowl of milk, the attitudes of folks around here start to grate on the psyche. And the reason for the entitled act escapes me completely. No one cares that you have an arsenal of Patagonia clothing, four unruly organically fed dogs, three pairs of well-used Telemark skis or several houses scattered across the country like birdseed. No one cares that you skiied Vail today, bossed the staff around at your swanky Beaver Creek condo or guzzled gas in your pimped out Escalade. All I care about is that you’re polite — which you aren’t because you’re employed full-time at Entitled Snobs Corporation, LLC.
Let me just break this down for all you entitled folks out there: none of us is entitled to a single thang. As of mid-2011, there were 6,987,000,000 people crawling all over this round orb we call Earth (yes, I check my facts — this one courtesy of the Population Reference Bureau, http://www.prb.org). If every one of those people felt as entitled as the majority of the 27,972 Summit County residents (thank you U.S. Census Bureau, July 2011), the world would be even more selfish and messed up than it already is.
With our snowboards and skis, condominiums and Subarus and leisure time for legal pot smoking and Netflix watching, we are some of the wealthiest people on the entire planet. Yet some still feel the need to scale above our innate blessings just to greedily claim a swatch of restaurant or grocery store entrance. Puh-lease.
I honestly feel haunted by ghastly entitled people. Just like in “The Sixth Sense,” they won’t leave me alone in my living room until I listen to their sad, twisted demands. But, I hear the end titles starting; I see the writing on the wall. Hey, Ed and Betty Entitled: get over yourselves! Go buy a state-of-the-art Titanium hurdle and some Marmot track shorts and be done with it.