Suzy Snapper
Monday, August 14, 2006
Dignity at All Costs
Been busy again lately and as usual, time does not stand still. I've been taking a lot of new photos and uploading them to my Flickr account. Take a peek when you have a chance.

Last night, an unfortunate experience occurred while we were out that I just can't seem to shake the annoyance of.

As I've mentioned before, my Mom has a lot of health problems. Emphysema and osteoporosis make the most common task a challenge for her. She has been down the last little while as her best friend passed away last weekend of lung cancer.

She received a letter from our local casino last week inviting her and 3 guests to a special concert with Julio Iglesias. 4th row, I might add. He's not one of my favourites, but any excuse to go to a concert works for me.

We decided to invite my Mom's sister, Peg. She has had her own battles of late, most of which are centered around caring for her daughter through breast cancer radiation. My cousin lives in a small town in Northern BC. As there is no cancer clinic close by, she must come down here 5 days a week for her treatment. I'm glad she has family here and we can help her, but it certainly does make me wonder what happens to those who don't.

Off we went last night to enjoy ourselves with a quick bite to eat and a little trip to the slot machines.

As my Mom sat down, a heavyset lady sat down beside her. She immediately turned to my Mom and said in a loud voice 'Excuse me but your perfume is horrendous. It's making me gag. You need to leave'.

I just stared at her incredulously. There are ways to say things, and there are ways not to. Clearly, she had been reading the manual on the latter. And for the record, my Mom wasn't even wearing perfume. As I suffer from migraines so badly myself, my Mom doesn't wear any when she is with me. The 'smell' this lady had to be referring to was the smell of the kitchen about 20 yards away.

My Mom, the picture of class, smiled at the lady and said 'I'm sorry, but this is my machine and intend on playing it'

At first, the lady sat at her machine pinching her nostrils with her fingers. Like a spoiled child, not a 50-odd year old woman. Then she progressed to sticking a tissue in her nose, leaving it half hanging out and making gagging noises.

I sat beside my Mom, watching her behaviour get more and more bizarre.

Then she called over for someone to reserve her machine so she 'could go throw up and get away from the stench'. I must have sighed or made some frustrated sound at her comment, as she turned on me.


There are few times in my life when I have truly seen red. Absolutely and completely lost my cool. This was one of those times. However, my Mom had drilled into me from a little girl to 'always keep one's dignity at all times'. I heard that voice in my head (or maybe it was my Mom's hand digging into my arm. ;-))

'Excuse me, Sweetheart", I heard my voice say very icily 'I absolutely DO know what chronic pain is so don't go judging me. The difference being I don't make my problem every one else's. I have class'.

The funny thing is I have never called anyone 'sweetheart' in my life and was quite surprised that was the comment my brain decided on.

She began to bellow some more about 'wishing me dead'. I simply said 'You're a very rude individual'. By this time though, my mom's nails were digging into my arm enough to make me sit back down and not make a scene.

However, I had decided enough was enough. Over my mother's protest, I found the floor manager and explained the situation.

He was empathetic, but as she had not sworn nor touched us, he was limited in what he could do. Unfortunately, being verbally abusive and acting like a fool is one of the 'rights' of living in a free country.

Pointing to the overhead camera, he told me that they would be watching. All I would have to do is say 'Help' or 'Come now' to the camera to summon them.

I went back to the machine beside my Mom, and my Aunt on my other side. Crazy Lady reappeared and promptly stuck her tissue back up her nose and continued with the gagging noises.

At this point, I was loathe to say any more and while part of me wanted to leave, we had as much right as she did to be there.

Suddenly, she grabbed a security guard and pointed at me. 'She is intimidating me. She needs to be kicked out!'

I turned to the security man and said as calmly as possible, 'I have spoken with your manager about this situation. He is aware of what's happening and...'

With that, she began screeching 'I'm TALKING! It's MY turn! Not YOU!'

She burst into hysterical tears and yelled 'I spend 12-24 hours a DAY in a casino. I KNOW my rights'.

It was now nearing time for our concert anyhow, so we were ready to leave. Not a moment too soon, though. The manager turned to me and said, somewhat conspiratorily, "If she'd treated my Mom like that, I would have hit her". I smiled and said, 'Yes, but I have too much dignity'.

As we walked towards the concert doors, we looked back to see her surrounded by 6 security personnel. I am not quite sure what happened after that, but I did enjoy the rest of my night.

It just saddens me that verbal abuse like that can be tolerated as 'someone's right'. I understand we live in a country where we can be free to speak as we like, but seriously, when did manners become an option?

Vancouver, British Columbia
A patriotic Canadian full of visions of a better Canada, random thoughts and a lot of hot air. Who am I? A struggling writer and photographer trapped in a corporate buyer's body. Steel shopping by day, and freeflowing prose by night. One day I hope to have the nights become my days, but am intimidated by the sheer amount of people who share my dream. So I read. A lot. I learn. A lot. I push myself. A lot. The world is a small place, and getting smaller every day. I'm proud to have friends in every corner of the earth, and abide by the old adage that there are no strangers, only friends we haven't met yet.
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