Intentional Assholes – Mall Edition

If I had to pick the number one thing that grinds my gears, it would probably be Intentional Assholes.

Intentional Assholes come in all shapes and sizes, are all skin colors and all ages. Their population is growing faster than a Jumanji vine, and we’ve all known at least a few. That guy that won’t let you change lanes even when you’ve had your blinker on for 190,348,109,234 miles? Intentional Asshole. Your ex who would take your car keys with him to work so you couldn’t leave the house? Intentional Asshole. Rush Limbaugh and Fred Phelps? Intentional Assholes.

Intentional Assholes should not be confused with Accidental Assholes. Accidental Assholes say the wrong thing at the wrong time, insert-foot-in-mouth, didn’t really mean for “it” to come out “like that,” are genuinely sorry after the fact, care more than they don’t. Most people fall into the Accidental Asshole category at one point or another, because, well, accidents happen.

Tonight, I had a run-in with some Intentional Assholes.

While shopping for some new black pumps in one of Qatar’s many malls, I passed the Haagen-Dazs store. I strolled by, thinking mmmmm ice cream, when suddenly I smelled cigarette smoke. The locals here rarely abide by “no smoking” signs; many of them are viewed (by themselves and others) as being above the law. Even so, few things make my blood boil like people INTENTIONALLY IGNORING THE “NO SMOKING” SIGN ON THEIR TABLE WHILE THEY SHAMELESSLY PUFF AWAY ON THEIR CIGARETTES.

As luck would have it, that is exactly what 2 local men were doing at Haagen-Dazs – just puff puff puffing away, blowing stank ass cigarette smoke on every man, woman and child that walked by, with zero regard for the NO SMOKING sign in the middle of their table.

(Keep in mind, it was only about a year ago that a mall fire here killed 13 children and 6 adults. While that fire wasn’t caused by a cigarette, surely people can respect NO SMOKING areas at family friendly establishments, if for no other reason than to be mindful of fire prevention!)

I approached the Haagen-Dazs manager, telling him there were men smoking at a table that was clearly marked NO SMOKING. He acknowledged they were smoking, and explained that his superiors instructed him to allow Qatari men to smoke indoors, and to give them ash trays. He admitted even the mall security officers would not apprehend local men for smoking in no smoking areas. While this isn’t news to anyone who lives here, it is nonetheless MADDENING.

I thought about walking away, I really did. But GOOD GOD I HATE CIGARETTE SMOKE AND INTENTIONAL ASSHOLES. The combination was too much to bear.

So, I went up to their table. I plastered on a big, fake smile and said something along the lines of, “Excuse me, there is no smoking here.” Whether they understood me or not, I really am not sure. I got the impression they thought I wanted a cigarette, which would not have been the first time I was offered a cigarette when asking a local man not to smoke in a no smoking area. Exasperated, I just turned the sign on their table toward them. “No smoking!” Two and two suddenly made four, and Intentional Asshole #1 reluctantly dropped his cigarette into their water cup ashtray. Intentional Asshole #2 continued to smoke, so I smiled and asked them where they were from, knowing damn well they are from here. Indeed, they confirmed they were local, so I said something about what a nice country they have and how they ought to take care of it. Finally, Intentional Asshole #2 dunked his cigarette. I thanked them and walked away, feeling very small and insecure under a facade of confidence.

The Haagen-Dazs manager, presumably having watched the whole ordeal, apologized to me as I was leaving. I told him not to worry; I understand they can lose their jobs for saying the wrong thing to the wrong person.

Unfortunately, I did not find a new pair of black pumps tonight. I’ll have to return and face the wrath of Intentional Assholes at the mall another day!