Tuesday, June 14, 2011


I'm at the library.
Katy sent me out of the house to write.
Tonight I had a crazy thing happen on the way home from day care.
... Some kind of bullshit...
I'm so upset, I can barely make sense of it.
I am still tachycardic and breathing heavy.
I barely understand what is going on in my body...

I picked up the boys from day care. I was in a pretty good mood. It started pouring when I was about 2 miles away from them, but no big deal. Then JB decided that he didn't want to hold his lunch bag and somewhere in between, "I don't want to hold it," and "I WANNA HOLD IT RIGHT NOW!!!" (He has some "normal" 3-year old mental block(s) when it comes to decision-making) He lost his shit.

I found myself saying, "That's not how we get things, by crying and screaming..." This is our mantra some days and Katy and I try hard to not cave in. Like, these kids have to learn that they can have whatever they want (pretty much) but not if they are screaming and shouting and crying to get it... He wanted to HOLD HIS BAG... Not a big deal, but I didn't want to let him because "screaming and crying is not a way to get what you want". But then I got a "get out of jail free card" because he wanted to "HOLD HIS BAG- THE FIRST TIME".
(That's JB speak for "I changed my mind, and even though I said no when you offered that option, I want to do it. But I don't want to do it NOW, I want to do it THEN, as in- Can you please re-wind the tape and send us back in time so I can do it 'right' the first time?!?")

No, son. I cannot.

Cue hysteria.

These little fuckers don't know anything about quantum physics or the lack of advances in time travel.


Pouring rain. Driving in traffic- headed to the grocery store. JB just screaming and crying in the back seat. I pull over and try to reassure him and reason with him. I try to wait it out a bit- sometimes a change of plan like sitting in a parking lot instead of just driving on, snaps him out of it. While we pulled over, i washed his face with a pre-moistened towelette. I tried to get him to take a sip of water. I am really really frustrated, but I am actually doing the right things, not screaming, not outwardly over-reacting, trying to find some way to distract him.

I start driving again... I'm a little raw and jittery... I almost have him calm- we are at a stop light and I am flipping though iTunes on my phone trying to get the Disney play list on for little mister "losing-my-mind" in the back seat.

This guy in the right lane next to me (but diagonally in front of me) in a big red pick up is trying to say something. I don't know what he is saying, but he is animated. I roll down the window and hear "light". I'm thinking It's something about my tail light... I panic a little in reaction to how he is gesticulating, like maybe my taillight is on fire or something. Then he's like shouting at me about how I have two kids in the car and I'm on my phone....

I'm not on my phone.

He's still shouting.
My blood pressure is rising.
JB who has stopped crying is like, "Why that guy is yelling, Mommy?"

I'm about to flip out on this guy- I don't know what he is talking about, but HE DOESN'T KNOW WHAT HE IS TALKING ABOUT. He has no idea what has just been going on in this car, and he is giving me some "I'm-a-white man-in-a-pick-up-and-you're-a-female-driver" kind of reprimand. The light turns green. I lock eyes with him when i finally realize what is going on and curse him out to the tune of "YOU fucking ASSHOLE!!!"

Kids in car.
I have never done that before.
I'm shaking. Trying not to cry. At wit's end. So mad I could spit. He pulls out in front of me and goes straight, even though he's in the right turn only lane. I stall the car. Restart the car. Try to stay focused through the rage. I expressly concern myself with not tailgating him or smashing into him. I am as mad as I can remember being.

Mistake #1: What kind of truck is it? Didn't notice- red, shiny, new-ish looking... that's all i know
Mistake #2: What is the plate number? Fuming... Didn't notice- there are some chains hanging near the plate.

He turns right, into the grocery store parking lot.
That is where I'm going too. I had briefly considered following him where ever he was going- to give him a piece of my unstable mind, but then discarded the notion. I take the right turn as a sign from God that I am suppose to follow this guy and tell him exactly how much or an !$#% *%^&@# he really is...

I park 4 cars away.

I leave my kids in the car and approach him. It is still pouring:
"You are some kind of !$#% &@#!!!"
I don't even know what I said, but he blew up at that point.

Me: You have no idea what was going on in that car!
Him: You ran a red light!!!

(I did not run a red light but I seriously would never say that b/c maybe i did... I have no idea what this guy is talking about. If I ran a red light, when was it? Where was it? Whoa! that's pretty scary... an Hour later I realize he is talking about the stale yellow light that I took a little liberty with when JB was freaking out)

Me: Who do you think you are?!?!?!
(I start to back up away from him, I want this conversation over)

Him: What would your husband think?!? You driving like that!!!

Pause for my brain to explode.

The world goes quiet for a minute. I see plastic bags blowing in the breeze, but hear nothing. There's an echoing whooshing sound in the distance, that i realize is the sound of air moving in and out of my lungs. Somewhere, on the other side of the parking lot, I hear a Qtip fall onto the pavement, and then sound rushes back into the world. My pulse is pounding in my neck. My mouth is dry. I am shaking.

Pause again to consider whether or not something in my brain might have actually exploded...

This guy looks to be about 40 to me (give or take 5 years.) He's got chiseled features, and looks fit. He's wearing hunting pants or army fatigues and either has 2 day's growth of stubble, on his face, or is one of those wolf-men that needs to shave twice a day. Though he gives the general impression of a redneck "fisherman", he does not give off a "psycho" vibe, just a self-congratulatory "asshole" vibe. This is not a grouchy, old man. This is not a plucky, young punk. This is the worst kind of arrogant adult male- who thinks he is in charge of personally reprimanding a total stranger in traffic. Who thinks he's somehow in the right when he decides to berate a women who is carting her two kids to the store in the middle of a rain storm after a 9 hour work day.

So, in my head I'm like, "YOU'RE going to determine some safety violation and create a situation AT A STOP LIGHT that is truly UNSAFE!?! YOU think I was the person that created an UNSAFE SITUATION back there?!? Oh, and this is the best part... YOU THINK THE BEST WAY TO "MAKE ME FEEL BAD" about something that I might have done wrong is to bring up my HUSBAND?!? The supposed man in my life that is in charge of me and makes sure I'm taking good enough care of HIS CHILDREN?!?

Oh Buddy, you are so barking up the wrong tree...

I wished I had said so many things. I wished I had just been calmer and more "ON" my game, I could have been all like:
  • My husband died tragically when I threw him from the car while texting in a pizza order and running a red light.
  • My husband doesn't care at all about these kids- they look too much like his brother, he encourages me to drive recklessly all the time; just hearing about how upset you are will please him very much!
  • My WIFE... (If there is any karmic justice) is in a parking lot somewhere on the other side of town, doing EXACTLY what you are doing: verbally assaulting your gay lover with a barrage of loud, self-righteous, misogynistic, uninvited commentary dripping with contempt and condescension.
INSTEAD... I go with the truth:

Me: Yeah, I don't have a husband. I'm married to a woman.
Him: (silence)
Me: You've got a lot of nerve and no right to speak to me about this.

He's close enough for me to smell the smoke on his breath and he doesn't back down a bit. He is completely unapologetic and he suddenly shouts that he is a town police officer.
HA! (that almost sends me into orbit). I swear if this guy is a cop, i might have to move.
Also, if he's an asshole cop, he wouldn't have waited this long to bring his occupation up.
And, if he's a good cop, he wouldn't be doing this in the parking lot.
So he's either in between an asshole cop and a good cop OR, he's NOT a cop at all.

Me: You're a cop?!? Great. What's your name?

Mistake #3: He TELLS me his name (supposedly) and once I hear the name, I immediately forget it. Like, I don't have any clue... Maybe it was Mark... Maybe it was Dan... Maybe it was Janet Jackson... It could have been anything...

I don't even remember the rest of the conversation. But I know when he starts going overboard with the "hand quotes" gesturing, saying something homophobic-sounding about "your partner", I better walk away before I end up in jail.

The rest of the shopping spree is a blur
The rest of the dinner hour is a bust. I am wiped out. Scared. Feel threatened and unsafe. I get home and send the kids in the play room, and cry as I tell Katy the story. She tells me I did not do anything wrong. I seriously consider calling the Police Department in town to report the incident and to tell them that either they have a very inappropriate cop on the force, OR they have a guy IMPERSONATING a town cop... Katy advises against it (see Mistakes 1-3).

I spend the time up until now trying to figure out why this has caused such an emotional reaction from me... It is hard to put my finger on. There are a lot of things- the assholes always seem to win; justice is rarely a possibility; I feel shamed (even though any mistake I made was unintentional); I feel "in trouble"; I feel the weigh of the absolute plausibility that the people that are supposed to be "the good guys" are more than occasionally not actually all that "good"; I feel I was put in a position where my safety and the safety of my children was tampered with; My parenting and intention to keep my kids safe was called into question...

But mostly I realize, I am angry because I am very disappointed in myself.

I consider this whole scenario an epic FAIL:
  1. I lost complete control of my emotions
  2. I lost my sense of humor completely
  3. With my sense of humor gone, my ability to come up with snappy one liners disappeared also; if you are going to lose your cool, at least win the debate...
  4. I totally forgot to remember the important stuff - as a nurse... as a women who has always been taught how to stay safe and how to report breaches of this safety, I don't remember what he looked like, what his name was, his license plate#, etc, his height, hair or eye color... I"m not sure if i would recognize him if I saw him...
  5. I forgot the number one rule about being a woman: No matter how much of an asshole another person is being (especially another man), you should just walk away/ turn the other cheek. You should assume he's armed and dangerous; Even going up to this guy in the parking lot was "my mistake". If you are a woman and a man, a stranger, is acting like he owns you (or has a right to berate you), your job is to just quietly let it go, be non-confrontational, and let him go on believing he does
  6. I was unable to disprove #5
  7. This blew my day apart
  8. I'm sure this wasn't even a blip on his discomfort radar; his sense of entitlement and certainty in the notion that he was right is just too high.
I am seething still. I am actively working on letting it go...

But the audacity and hubris of this guy. The general lack of compassion and the blatant aggression. The pretend concern for my offspring when really you are putting them in danger...
These are just a lot of really sensitive buttons to push on a Tuesday...

1 comment:

Marilyn Sargent said...

Looking forward to your memoir, "Just Let The $@&#ing Tail Light Burn." Have a peaceful day!