Ethics, the Old Woman and My Coffee

Last week, I found myself walking toward the front door of my local Starbucks at the same time as an eighty-something-year-old woman.  We were approaching the door from different angles, but given that we were the only two persons headed toward the door, it probably appeared to a neutral observer that I was racing her.

Which I was.

You see, my big cartoonist brain told me at that moment that old people  take exponentially longer to take money from their purse.  Plus, they like to talk to the person behind the counter.  Old people treat society as a place where humans should smile and interact.  That’s a risk my brain and I were not prepared to take.

So I walked faster.

I’m not trying to brag when I say I beat her handily to the door.  Which by Starbuckian law entitled me to not only go before her but even let the door shut gently behind me.   (Once inside, I probably can’t pull on the door to prevent her from getting it open, but everything short of that is within bounds.)

And then I pulled a funny.

I held the door and let her go first.

I don’t want to analyze this one moment of kindness I’ve shown thus far in 2009, but suffice it to say, I think I just felt bad engaging in a foot-race with an eighty-year-old woman for the front door of Starbucks.

I bring all this up only to tell you that today, as I was pulling my car into the Starbucks lot, the same old woman was in her car pulling into the driveway at the same time.   So I did the only thing I could do.

I gunned it.

I parked that car so fast that the tires squealed.  I was out of my car and at the front door of the Starbucks before that old woman could even pull her keys from the ignition.  No foot-race here.  No ethical dilemmas here.

Just two people pulling their cars into the Starbucks lot at slightly different speeds.

I had done the right thing.

20 thoughts on “Ethics, the Old Woman and My Coffee

  1. Did you let her get in line in front of you after you held the door for her?

  2. Wow .. you and I are a match made in jackass heaven. If my husband wasn’t my jackass soul mate, I might be tempted …..

  3. Here’s my Dear Abby / Miss Manners / Carolyn the Hack / Hints From Heloise analysis:

    It is OK for you to race to the door ahead of the Senior Citizen.
    It is OK for you, having won the footrace, to enter the door in advance of said Senior
    However, what you must do is flawlessly execute a maneuver in which you hold open the door behind you, where the door is open, your arm is extended, but you would be blocking anyone from entering through the foorway whose door you are holding open. Best of both worlds! Chivalry and manners for holding open a door without forgoing your rightful place at the front of the line.

  4. I race everyone into everyplace I go. I’m under the assumption that everyone else is stupid and will take forever to decide what they want from the menu. Like they have never been to a Burger King before.

  5. Hi
    I’m 75 and I would have beaten you walking and driving and literaly!! LOL!

  6. uh, a 8dy something women? you where nice? IS THIS THE APOCOLIPS!?!? i’m kidding, you can be nice sometimes. but really IS THIS THE APOCOLIPS?!

  7. But, Stephan, you have to make sure that te old person you race isn’t one of those motorbike/fun-loving/fast-paced old maniacs!

  8. Regarding Starbucks:

    I never use my real name in Starbucks. When they call your name out, they steal a little bit of your soul. Sort of like how american indians felt about having their photograph taken.

    When they ask, i make one up. Bob is my favorite. I’m pretty secure in my manliness, so sometimes I use Susan.

    My son wants me to use Satan. As in “2 Splenda Venti-Lattae for Satan”.

    It drives the guy at Starbucks nuts, which is worth it in itself.

  9. I am exactly the same way… I just assume that the person I am racing is a complete dumbass, and that they will hold me up from getting what I want. It’s horrible, because I am sure that they are doing the same thing to me….. If not, then they are completely oblivious to the race, and then, it’s just not fun… They don’t even know that I beat them. Very sad. I guess I must be Rat… with a touch of Goat, and sometimes a Croc or two, maybe a little Guard Duck here and there… But anyways, keep doing what your doing Stephan, you are making people more aware of their Ratness….

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