I compete with strangers on the train in made-up categories such as, "Better choice of walk-to-work-flip-flops," and "More contained hair toss." I compete with work colleagues, colleagues from grad school, "She got a job WHERE? Really? NO!" And - I am not proud - once googled every name I could remember from decades ago, to make sure no one is anywhere near as important a fellow graduate of Mrs. Powers' kindergarten class.
Even so, I am nice enough not to fight for seats on the metro. I also never yell at passing cars, passers by who are in my way, or service workers. Which in this town, has to put me in the top 20 percent of nicest citizens. (See what I just did there?)
I'm guessing half of the people reading this think I am crazy. The other half are already wracking their brains trying to top my stories with stories of their own competitive urges.
For these fellow sufferers, I have prepared a helpful quiz of unkind, anti-social or just spectacularly annoying traits which seem specific to the D.C. area.
You participated, as a candidate, in a student government election in any educational setting, including (and yes, I know several of these people) elementary school
You participated, as a candidate, in a student government election in any educational setting, LOST, and then ran again
Multiply the original 5 points by the number of failed attempts.
You have strong opinions on the current bus route schedule
You have strong opinions on the current bus route schedule, and you share these opinions with the bus driver while in the presence of multiple other passengers who really, really want you to shut the hell up
Multiply the original 5 points times by the number of fellow passengers who do not hit you. Add 10 more points if you do get slapped.
You correct strangers in public
You correct strangers in public on such non-public-safety related topics as, "Which country invented pastrami," "The best McDonalds in the city," or, "The name of the next metro stop."
You correct strangers in public, and you are wrong
Just go to hell
You own, read, or laughed at jokes repeated from something called a 'Pick Up Artist' manual
You wrote such a manual, or you introduce yourself in public as a 'Pick Up Artist
I would give you points for that shit but I know you haven't had sex with a non-plastic or non-passed-out woman in years, so nothing I can do will make you feel worse.
You forward mass emails sharing your political convictions to everyone in your contacts list
You write a cutesy email about how you don't appreciate mass emails, and then forward it to everyone in your contacts list
Do you GET what's wrong with that? Do you? Obviously not, so 20 points
You memorized a politics-related article before going out, and demand that every person you meet that night share some sort of opinion on the topic
20 points (unless it's an article I also read)
You wear an outfit copied, in total, from the J. Crew catalog to work.
You secretly believe you are a Malcolm Gladwell* "connector" of people.
You TELL PEOPLE you are a Malcolm Gladwell "connector" of people.
* Author of "Tipping Point," a book about the theory of making masses of people do what you want.