I have a temper.
Some would say it’s because I’m a woman. Or because I’m Mexican. I also have German and Scots-Irish blood. Some people have joked that my tutti fruity ancestry means I’m screwed in the temper department.
I usually opt for being nice to people, even when they’re trying to piss me off. Getting pissed off only ruins my day, and there’s enough stress in my life as it is.
About 12 years ago, I was living just outside Denver. It had been a bad week. Job hunting was a bitch, my Grandmother’s dementia was going strong and I was feeling homesick.
I drove up to Walmart to get some groceries and good grief, it was packed. I hadn’t realized that it was the day after payday and everybody and their brother was out shopping. I try to shop on low traffic days because well…..I’m an introvert. I just like it better that way.
I was driving an old, rattly Bronco back then. They’re not exactly small vehicles.
Anyway, I parked, walked in and bought what I needed as fast as I could and walked out.
The parking lot was so psychotically packed, there were long lines of cars going up and down lanes trying to find a spot. I started the Bronco, hit reverse and started backing up. Holy Moly, it was like piranhas when there’s blood in the water. I had people lining up to take the spot, and they were traffic-angry.
I started a three point turn, but every time I swung a little, the cars around me got a little closer as they fought for the goshdarn spot. It wasn’t even a good parking spot, but it was A spot, so they wanted it. They encroached on me so badly, that my three point turn ended up being a million point turn and I finally managed to get out. A car zipped into it almost before my truck was out.
I took a second to breathe and the lady driving the other encroaching car lined up to me, and rolled down her window. I was confused, but rolled mine down too. She looked me in the eye, said “FUCK. YOU”, rolled her window up and drove on.
After a week of crap crap crap, that was the last straw. I drove to the next empty parking lot I could find, pulled in and sat there, crying. I can be tough about a lot of things, but that was a bad time.
The scene plays in my head often, when I hear news about the country and the world. People are SO set on having their way all the time, that they often steamroll others in their path.
It doesn’t matter which side of which argument you’re on at the moment. We are all human. We are all in the same gosh darn rock circling a bright ball of gas. Unless you figure out how to settle a new colony on another planet, we’re all in this together. I see so many people failing to recognise this.
It’s like there’s groups of kids standing around specific pieces at a playground and they’re demanding that only they get to play with the monkey bars. Or the swings. Or the slides. And they’re so hell bent on hanging on to what they think is theirs that they don’t play with it, they’re just keeping everybody else away.
And it bums me out. Because my son is going to grow up in this world. And have to face these people. And someday, he’ll turn to me and ask me in his childish innocence, why there are so many angry people in the world. And it’ll break my heart to tell him that the world is a wonderful place, but the people in it are very often crappy. It’s a harsh reality he’ll have to learn.
You know, we spend so much time telling our kids to share. It’s almost as if the concept disappeared from our minds the moment we grow up.
What a damn shame.