Inconveniencing Others Makes Me Feel AliveCommentary • revenge • ISSUE 44•36 • Sep 3, 2008 By Paul Hale Every part of my body is tingling with excitement right now.I just got back from the supermarket. It was a crowded Saturday, and there was barely any room to move my cart. Suddenly, without warning, an urge rose up inside me. "No," I told myself, "I only came here to get a few things for dinner and go home." But there was no use trying to fight it. Before I knew it, I was leaving my cart in the middle of the cereal aisle to check out the price of birthday candles two aisles over, and when I returned, people were backed up on either side of my abandoned cart, conducting an elaborate ballet, weaving in and out to make it past.Oh, sweet Mother Mary, what a rush! Nothing gets the blood pumping quite like making the daily interactions of those around me a little more frustrating.And once I start, I can't stop. Seeing the annoyed looks on their faces, it's like a drug, or an adrenaline rush, or—God, yes—standing still at the top of an escalator. When I got to the cashier, I decided that I'd had a change of heart on some items, so I had her deduct a canned ham and a box of frozen fish sticks. I could feel the eyes of every single person in line behind me as I dug through my pockets for the exact change. And when the print on the receipt came out too light, I made her change the ink roll, causing a three-minute delay while she dismantled the cash register.Just watching her sigh and rub her temples as she called her manager will be enough to get me through the week.I know it's wrong, but I just can't help myself. When I'm inconveniencing people, it's like I'm a newborn babe seeing the world for the first time. Everything seems better: the color of the green light I won't go through until five seconds after it's changed; the smell of the food I've sent back on a busy night because it wasn't prepared to my exact specifications, which I never bothered to voice to the waiter; the sound of my alarm going off every 10 minutes for two hours straight while my roommates are trying to sleep. It all becomes so vivid, so alive, and every loud, wheezy breath I take next to the coworker who shares my cubicle seems sweeter than the last.Why, even the simple act of buying coffee in the morning can bring the sound of bells to my ears. From the moment I step up to the counter with my headphones on, lost in my own little world, making the cashier ask three times if she can help me before I place my order for a half-caf skim latte with a shot of vanilla, but not too much vanilla like they did last time, and just one ice cube please, so it's not too hot—it's like a whole new day.But, oh man, I haven't even begun, because when she rings me up for my $2.85 coffee, you bet your sweet ass I'll try and pay with a credit card, which will invariably cause a long discussion about how they don't accept credit cards for purchases under $10. Then, I'll carefully but loudly explain to her that denying me use of my credit card is against the law. She'll rebuff me and I'll insist that I'm right, citing a number of pertinent laws and ordinances. She'll get her manager, who will have to stop what he's doing in order to escort me out of the store, but it won't matter.I'll already have gotten what I wanted.When they push me towards the exit, I'll loudly proclaim that I have never been treated so poorly in my life and vow never to return, only to savor the delicious look of revulsion and anger on their faces when I come back the very next day. That is, if I'm not up all night not RSVPing to the six weddings I'll nonetheless attend unannounced with a couple of friends.Every blessed second I spend walking slow and stopping abruptly on a busy sidewalk, getting into arguments with bus drivers, or tying my shoe in a doorway brings with it a sense of power. I find needlessly bothering those around me to be better than sex—even the loud sex I used to have in college while my roommate was trying to sleep only six feet away, pressing a pillow against the side of his head in a desperate attempt to block out the unnatural sounds of my animal rutting.But without a doubt, the very best, the most wondrous of all sensations is that spine- tingling jolt that grips the body when you begin telling a story no one wanted to hear in the first place, and then, just when it gets to the most important part.