It must be genetic. As much as I would like to be one of those people who sits back and doesn't rock the boat, I can't help myself. I find myself getting involved when other people just look on, afraid or dumbfounded.
You know what they say - "Fools rush in where angels fear to treat." Might as well be engraved on our escutcheon.
One of our favorite family oft-told tales is about the time my mom stood in front of a California pepper tree in the lot across from our house to prevent a workman with a bulldozer from removing it. The punch line is that it was my dad who had ordered the removal as a gift to mom, thinking the tree blocked the ocean view from our home.
When you have a mom who is willing to stand in front of a Caterpillar to save a tree, á la the Tiananmen Square guy, you learn that you can get mad as hell and not take things anymore.
Today at water aerobics class at my stupid gym, about 15 of us ladies were bouncing around like maniacs to some ABBA tunes ("Waterloo whoooaaaa whooooaaa whooooaaa Waterloo") with Avi, our timid Israeli instructor leading us from poolside.
This big beefy tall dude in red board shorts came in and stood around for a while before approaching Avi. I thought he was going to try and pick up on her, a not altogether uncommon occurrence at the gym.
(Why random men think they can walk up to a female instructor in the middle of a class and chat her up is beyond my ken. But they do.)
He spoke to her briefly and she shook her head. He spoke a little more emphatically and she gave him a look like "We just went over this, didn't we?"
Out of the blue, Beefy Dude started yelling.
"Why? You people aren't using the whole pool! I used to be a lifeguard! You could put in a lane line and people could swim. Why do you need so much space?"
He raved on and on, getting louder and louder. We just continued Waterlooing and doing our side kicks. We didn't bother arguing with him or mentioning that we have the pool for 1 hour a day while swimmers have it for 15. Or that the schedule is clearly posted. Or that he was acting like a total boob.
But finally someone had enough. A baby's cry was heard. A loud, big whiny baby cry. Waaa-aaaa-AAAAA. Waaah-ahhhh. It echoed off the walls. You couldn't tell where it was coming from, because everyone was still just aerobicizing along.
Beefy Dude's face grew crimson and he swung his big head from side to side, trying to determine the source of his humiliation. He finally stalked off, pride in shreds.
Of course it was me. You knew it was, right? I could have gotten out and talked to him, but the guy was truly acting like a maniac, and I didn't want to get hurt.
That's part of being a troublemaker. You have to know when to stand in front of the bulldozer and when to sneak up and drain the oil out.