If History’s power couple, Will and Ariel Durant, were still alive and continuing their epic documentation of human history, they would surely call our current age, The Age of Narcissism. It seems that everyone, young and old alike, are in a daily in-your-face struggle to preserve their “self esteem” and protect their ego turf.
Case in point: Today I had a meeting at an Italian restaurant off the island in the suburban hamlet of Saint Lambert. I arrived early and parked next to a sedan in which two older gentlemen (perhaps around 70) were sitting. I parked in the center of my allotted parking lines, as were they in their respective space. The space was fairly narrow, although still allowing adequate room to get out of your car without hitting the doors of the one parked next to you.
I was checking my emails, killing time before my appointment. After a few minutes, the passenger door of the car next to me opened and the elderly gentleman began to get out. The edge of his door banged my passenger door once, twice, thrice, and more; as he struggled to get his stiff, creaky old bones out of his car, he kept dinging my door.
Once he had emerged, I lowered my passenger window and said, “Thanks for banging and denting my door!”.
Now, in days gone by, another person might have said, “Oh, sorry, these spaces are so tight”, or something else by way of apology. Here’s the actual exchange:
Older gentleman: “Well, I had to get out of my car”
Me: “But you still have to be careful”
Older man: “Well, you’re parked too close”
Me: “I’m in the middle of my space”
Older man: “So am I”
In other words, excuses, excuses, but no acknowledgement of any wrongdoing, as if it’s everyone else’s responsibility to take into account the size of his car, his aging carcass, and his lack of consideration.
If that ain’t narcissism I don’t know what is.