Sunday, February 22, 2009

I Nearly Opened Up a Can

So tell me what you woulda done. The other day, Nate and I were coming out of the grocery store--me pushing the shopping trolley, Nate walking next to me, holding onto the side. As we started to step into the crosswalk into the parking lot, a jeep whizzed by me. I stopped short. I rolled my eyes in annoyance, but whatever. I've not seen people before entering a crosswalk, so it could be an accident, right? Well.

So we cross the crosswalk and we're walking down one of the lanes towards our car, and this same jeep has stopped while someone was backing out of their space. The jeep driver throws his car into reverse and starts to back up. Towards me. I put my hand up. He doesn't go too far and I move us out of the way anyway, but still. STILL. I know he saw me.

SO THEN, THEN. I am crossing one final little lane (like a "T"intersection) where our car is. I stop, look both ways and start to cross. And guess what. Jeep Dude turns right in front of me, fast, totally cutting me off.

I have never wanted to call anyone an a-hole more in my life. IN MY LIFE. I know--that's not exactly scandalous, but I am not a traffic or parking lot screamer. Maybe it's the preggo hormones, I dunno, but I was just livid at that point. Anyway, we get to the car and I put Nate in and start loading our stuff in the car. Jeep Dude and his buddy ended up parking just across from me. As they walked past, I stopped what I was doing and totally gave them the stinkeye.
I mean, I had an awesome Death Stare going on. But they were all, We are not looking at you, we are walking right by like we don't know that we almost killed you 3 times just now. So that made me even more mad!

As I told our church tonight (I was relating this story as a lead-in to my message--I have no idea why)when you give a good Death Stare, like when you are really selling that Death Stare--it's gotta be noticed or you just feel even worse. I couldn't bring myself to shout anything at this guy. Sniff. I felt it would be beneath me. Or I am a wimp. What do you think?

BUT, I got in the car, found a scrap of paper, and much to Nate's bewilderment, scribbled Reprobate Jeep Dude a note. (I come from a family of note-writers, you see. My dad's notes to various bad teachers over the years could reduce a grown man to tears and even loss of bladder control.)

"Hello. Due to the fact that you nearly hit me 3 times on my short walk to my car, I thought you needed to be made aware of two things:
1. Those transparent panels on your car? They're called WINDOWS. You might want to look out them from time to time.
2. Those reflective panes of glass attached to your doors? They're MIRRORS. You ought to use those, too.
Have a nice day."

But I didn't really want him to have a nice day, you see. I was using SARCASM. Get it? Like I was saying one thing, but TOTALLY meaning something else. I am clever like that. So anyhoo, I wrote the note, then darted across and stuck it on his windshield.

HA! That'll teach him. Way to stick it to all those terrible drivers out there! I'm sure he changed his ways after reading my note.

I wanna know...what would you do? Do you just let people have it, right there in the moment? Do you only yell when you know they can't hear you anyway? Do you laugh it off? Do you write a note? Or do you drive off and do lots of deep breathing to calm down?

On a serious note, those kind of experiences remind me how much energy we can waste on being totally ticked off. I mean, in the days since, I'm SURE I've thought more about that experience than Jeep Dude has. Laughing about it, but also hashing and re-hashing. Why do we do that? I personally think that's one of the reasons why forgiveness is such a big deal to God. He knows how much energy and space a grudge occupies in our brains. Space that could be used for much more productive, good stuff.

Sigh. Now that's nice. We've all learned a Very Important Lesson, haven't we? time, I'll just key the guy's car. That's better than a note, probably. Lesson learned.


  1. Well, that was aggravating as well as downright dangerous ! I know you were mad, as I would have been too. After many years of developing and using the Death Stare, I can tell you about the only thing it does is raise YOUR blood pressure. Oblivious, careless people like that guy are probably impervious to it. Where we make the mistake is in thinking that people doing something wrong can be shamed into realizing it. But some can't because they think they are above all that.Their needs of the moment take precedence over yours. I probably would have written a note too. And it was a lovely note ! Be careful in those Oz-rageous parking lots meanwhile !( Too bad Jason wasn't there.)

  2. A number of possible alternative responses come to mind:
    1) You could have written a the paint on the hood of the Jeep;
    2) You could have followed him into the store and screeched at him about overdue child support payments; OR
    3) You could have taken a photo of him and his vehicle, including his license plate, so your father could come down there and find him and conduct what we call an "Alabama mediation" session (that's where the Alabamian [the Mediator] comes between him and the rest of his life).

  3. NOOOOOOO NOT THE STINK EYE!! He should of dropped dead from that! I'm with "Camp Papa" I'm Mexican, and hot headed, don't mess with me!!

  4. Aargh, I'm feeling your rage. I think I probably would have screamed something at the guy the third time. And that would have done exactly nothing. Then I might have left a note too.

    HATE that! And yes, being mad really does use up a lot of energy. Being pregnant does seem to exacerbate these feelings.

  5. Why is it necessary to drive like that? It infuriates me when people don't seem to eve see me or, more importantly, my children.

    Well done for leaving a note. It wouldn't have occurred to me at the time then I would have wished I had later (if that makes sense).

  6. I just laughed out loud twice (I'm at work) and got a funny look from the cleaning lady. You kill me! This is so funny!

    If you wrote a book it would sell, like a lot of copies. Get on that!

  7. Nice ending! Ha!
    I think I usually freeze up in disbelief, fume, and then talk myself down (i.e. 'maybe they're having a bad day', 'at least I don't have to go thru life being a butthead like them-it is it's own punishment''I do stupid stuff too sometimes, maybe they're embarassed now')
    I think you did perfect-it would'nt do for someone from church (or Nate) to see you cussing loudly in the parking lot.
    After 3 times (especially if I was pregnant-MEOW!) I'm pretty sure I would've been dropping F-Bombs. Not good!

  8. Your recounting of the situation is hilarious... but I'm really glad no one got hurt. (Including Mr. Jeep. Heh.)

    While driving on the freeway the other day someone cut me off, and I had to hit the brakes. In the back seat my 3-year-old threw up his hands and yelled, "Dude! What are you doing?!" I was a little mortified and a little cracked up, all at the same time.

    Also... I'm actually L.-ing O.L. @ Alabama Mediation! Hahaha!

  9. Cassie--your 3 yr old is hilarious!! Love that. I laughed at Alabama Mediation, too, and especially at the part about yelling about child support payments!

    And Sara, you're right...I thought to myself, what if I call that guy a name and he shows up in church next week? Hello, awkward!

  10. i try to pretend that everyone is joking and then laugh about it. ever been tripped by a friend or pushed off a sidewalk? is that any different than a friendly mow-down in a suburban?