Tuesday, November 20, 2007

In Which my Bad Mood leads me to behave in a most unmannerly fashion

First, I posted at the League of Reluctant Adults blog, about what I'm thankful for this Thanksgiving.

So here's what happened.

It's raining today. So after I picked Princess up from school we're walking along the gravel road that serves as a parking lot, and we're sticking fairly close to the cars because there's a lot of puddles and I'd rather the girls not get their legs and feet wet (we're all wearing raincoats.)

There are two cars left to pass before we get to ours. The first is a red minivan kind of thing, and the woman who owns it is loading her kids in. All her kids are standing in the fairly narrow space between her car and the blue car next to it, beyond which is mine.

We wait, but she sees us and steps back a bit so we can pass. At which point, Blue Car Woman starts backing up and almost runs over Princess.

I yank Princess back. Blue Car Woman has stopped. I yell, "Hey! You almost hit my child!"

She sits there another minute, then rolls down her window. So I say it again. "You almost hit my child, were you even looking where you were going?"

She says, snippily, "Yes, I was."

Me: "Well, you weren't doing a very good job of it, because you almost hit my child."

She: "Do you drive a car?"

Me (who knows good and damn well what inspired THAT little comment, and it has to do with me not pronouncing "can't" as "cahn't": "Yes, I do, I drive every day, and I certainly know how to use my mirrors. This is a school, you fucking moron, you need to be more careful."

She starts to say something else, but I say, "Oh, fuck off," and turn away. So she pulls back into her spot. I wait for her to pull out. She is apparently waiting for me to walk behind her, as if I'd give her another shot at my kids. Finally she rolls down her window and I say, "Are you going to go, or what?"

And she--I still can't believe this--crinkles up her snotty little face and says, "Are you going to stand there, or what?" Yes, that's right. I was mimicked by a grown woman.

It goes a little hazy there. I'm sure I told her she should go because I wouldn't walk behind her car again. I suspect I called her a fucking bitch. I know I told her all she'd needed to do was apologize, and she should be more careful in future.

She started to pull away, yelling something unintelligble about how I should wash my car because it "looks disgusting" (it's RAINING and has for days), to which I gave her the finger.

I'm not proud of it...but if I had to do it again I probably would have been even nastier. I cannot believe she almost hit MY child with HER car and had the nerve to act as though something was wrong with ME for saying something to her about it. What if she had hit her? Should I have let that go too? It's a school parking lot, you need to be careful. My daughter was in a white raincoat.


Unholy Ghosts

New Words: 5,205 (in three days or so again)
Total wordcount: 50,002
The Good: Remembering someone else thinks we’re brave gives us the strength to be brave, aaaw.
The Bad: Library stalkers, terrified in pitch darkness.
The Gross: Decaying bodies in a tunnel
The rampant drug use: a little speed, a pill or two
Location: Library, platform of the train to the City of the Dead, tunnels under the regular city
Downspeech: Hardly any speech at all—I’m a little worried about that
I Hate My Work: You’ve tried to make this taut and scary, but everyone’s going to hate it, aren’t they?


Anonymous said...

People are just too irresponsible these days. So many refuse to take ownership of their mistakes.

If you didn't have the kids with you you should have given her a good old American ass-whoopin'. -V95

cyn said...

ugh. i'm so sorry december. i would have been livid, too. it's sad to know that the obnoxious soccer moms have infiltrated the english countryside. here, it's the moms in the suv's that are the WORST! there is a four way stop by the middle school at my house. i stopped and was about to go, when this suv just PLOWED THROUGH it without pausing.i was so pissed. i honked her. but i doubt she cared. or learned from it.

Sam said...

Oh, I love a good slanging match now and then, and protecting innocent children is the best excuse.
It feels good to just let yourself go once and a while. And if someone had just nearly run over my child, I would have been screaching and giving the finger with the best of them.


You go, mama bear.

I'm in Florida, which is largely populated by individuals who believe advanced age conveys the privilege of everybody else getting the hell out of their way when they're behind the wheel. We've had some near-death experiences, too. Man, some people are lucky I don't keep a gun in the car...

Rebecca said...

She'almost' ran over your kid ... but your car was dirty..... she must have felt justified!

what a twit!

bettie said...

I read somewhere that there are two things everyone thinks they do well: writing and driving. Me, I know I'm a terrible driver. But everyone else--all those people who think they're the second coming of Dale Earnhardt, Jr.--they get so offended when you call them on shit that could have killed you or someone you love. They're not bad drivers, you're just mean/stupid/slovenly/totally unworthy to breathe the same air because you don't recognize their genius.

I don't know what it is about cars that makes people think they are Christ in a Camero, but the only proper response to a near miss is an abject apology and the expression of your sincere intention to be more careful in the future.

It's not just good manners--every driver should drive with the knowledge that a careless mistake on their part could harm or kill someone else. People who forget that shouldn't be driving.

Robyn said...

I don't know if you've talked about it before, but do you take a lot of shit because you're American?

Charles Gramlich said...

School parking lot rage? Geeze, the woman sounds pretty snotty.

Bernita said...

What Bette said.
Almost ran over your child - but you're the Ugly American?
Early in learning to drive, I discovered that, while I have very fast physical reflexes, I have slow visual recognition.I decided then and there I would be a danger on the road and did not continue.
I do not drive.

perla said...

Hi Stacia,
I found you through the League, and I'm so excited to read Personal Demons! I've linked you on my blog, until dawn. I've even pre-ordered my copy from amazon.
And I love that you fliped that lady off, I'm always amazed what an unconsious reaction it is. I get angry, turn green, look at my hand and there it is. The Bird.

December/Stacia said...

Oooh, V95, I was so tempted. I think if I hadn't had children hanging off both my hands I would have attempted to hit her. Hell hath no fury like an American with a cold who's protecting her children.

Oh, yes, Cyn, they're all over down here. Everywhere else in England it seems, people are almost exclusively kind and lovely but here...ugh. And the best part of your story is if she'd been busted she would have screamed at the cop, because how dare he stop her!

Thanks Sam! I admit, it did make me feel a bit better. I woke up this mrning as cheerful as can be, lol.

Thanks, Kerry! Oh, I am very familiar with the South FL drivers--we lived in Ft. Lauderdale before we moved here, and I was in Miami for a few years before that, so 12 years in all in SFL. Those old people are the worst, aren't they, driving too slow with the left turn signal on? And then they get mad at you. Ugh.

December/Stacia said...

I know, Rebecca! I guess as long as your car is clean it doesn't matter how badly you handle it or how many children you maim with it. Funny thing is, I saw her car in the school lot this morning--she'd backed in to her space. Ha! Ha!

I love you, Bettie. Foreals. Yes, that's very true, everyone thinks they can drive and write. And that's wht gets me, too--no matter how good you are, accidents can happen. If she'd just apologized or even acted like she cared in the slightest I would have said, "Well, with all these people around it's probably difficult to see, so no harm done." I was willing to meet her halfway, but no, she had to get all snotty with ME. Every time I back out of a space in that lot I'm terrified because of all the children around. I would think everyone else would be as careful.

Hmm. No, Robyn, I wouldn't say I do--at least, not to my face. But I also know I get ignored for the most part. Heads turn when I talk in stores but no one will wait on me, that sort of thing. But in all fairness I've also had some people go out of their way to be kind and friendly and ask questions. So it's a mixed bag--but I knew exactly what she was implying when she asked if I drove "a car". Because driving here is much more complicated than it is in the US, thanks to the counterintuitive left-side driving and the antiquated road system.

That's right, Charles. School parking lot rage. It's like road rage, but with more spectators and children. Lol. Yes, she was indeed snotty. Bitch.

Yep, Bernita, apparently I should have just smiled and let her almost maim my little girl, so as not to be rude and draw attention to myself and the unfortunate circumstances of my birth.
As for you not driving--I would expect nothing less than a decision like that from one as thoughtful and responsible as yourself. Once we forget that we're the dangerous ones when we're behind the wheel, and that cars kill people every day, we become a danger to ourselves and others.

Hi Perla! Thank you so much!
Your last sentence made me giggle. The funny thing is, they don't actually do The Bird here--they do two fingers, like a reverse peace sign, but yeah it was such a reflex that it didn't even occur to me that it was the wrong sign to give, lol. I'm sure she knew what it meant, but still. It just went up of its own accord.

December/Stacia said...

BTW, Perla, I have to apologize--I tried to visit and comment on your blog but my computer has some issues with Java and it froze up.

Anonymous said...

Oh no! I'm glad no one, er, you and your children weren't harmed. School parking lots are insane because everyone thinks they have the right to get in and out faster than everyone else and they shouldn't have to obey rules or wait in lines. I have to say my son being on a bus turned out to be a good thing because those drivers are much more careful and have the help (and take the help!) from teachers clearing the lot before anyone moves.