Monday, December 12, 2011

Sharing is NOT Caring

Last week I was walking home from
dropping off the whippersnapper at school. I had Rainbow Puppy in a baby pack, wearing him in front of me, and I entered a crosswalk. This car comes shooting down to the stop sign at the crosswalk, and rolls right through while I'm still in the crosswalk--in fact, barely half way across.

I turned and give the driver A Look.

The driver stopped the car, just past the crosswalk. She rolled down her window and asked,"Do you want to share about that?"

Oooh. I bleeping HATE it when people talk like that. Did I want to share my feelings, as though we were in group therapy and not me nearly being hit in a crosswalk by a driver who couldn't stop at a stop sign? Did I want to communicate my anger, and presumably talk about it in a rational way? Did I want to share like it was show and tell day in Kindergarten?

You bet I did.

"Yes, I want to share," I said. "Why don't you not go through crosswalks while people with babies are still in them?"

She didn't miss a beat. "I can tell by the look on your face that you're not happy with that. Would it make you feel better if I waited here til you're on the sidewalk?" This last was delivered in a SUPER patronizing tone, as though I was the asshole.

"No," I said. "What would make me feel better is if you actually stopped at stop signs, especially when people with babies are in the crosswalks."

She smiled a frosty little smile. I could tell she was trying to do one of those happy-bright-positive things, but it wasn't working because of the way she'd opened with the confrontational inquiry as to whether I wanted to share. And she'd probably ruined any possibility of any goodnaturedness when she'd chosen to roll through the crosswalk with me still in it. She said, "I'm sorry you felt angry. I'll try to remember to stop."

"That would be great," I said. "Have a nice day."

None of the above was said with any sincerity. We were two mean bitches, angry at each other and full of morning vigor. Although she was clearly in the wrong, and she was condescending and rude when she had no place to be, I was mad and righteous about it.

When she drove off, I was still angry. I didn't expect to be nearly run over and then confronted about it. She probably didn't expect (or like) being called out on bad behavior, and chose to confront me about it rather than apologize and move on.

Man, what a way to begin the holiday season!

We're all rushing these days and especially now up til Christmas. Here are a few reminders on navigating the season:

  • Please, please take a moment to slow down. Hurrying causes accidents.
  • Be courteous. Say you're sorry when you bump or transgress, and say excuse me.
  • When someone else pushes or bumps, try to restrain yourself from lashing out. Move on.
  • Have a hot cup of coffee and be glad you're alive and (I hope) healthy.
  • Don't ask people if they want to share. It's gross and smarmy.
Have a good week. And for goodness' sake don't ask people to share.

13 comments:

DL Hammons said...

Wow. You must give some really nasty "Looks". :)

Excellent advice, especially for this time of year!

Teri Anne Stanley said...

O. M. G.
I actually gave someone "The Look" last week when she made a turn in front of me just as I was about to cross (with the crosswalk sign on my side) and she actually stopped, rolled down the window, and apologized!

That ALMOST makes up for the six zillion people who sometimes actually take their foot off the gas pedal as they roll through the stop sign at the top of my street. Almost.

Paige Kellerman said...

"I'll try to remember to stop."
Why thank you so so much! Here's to you Sierra for keeping your cool. If I'd been that lady, I would've rolled down my window and apologized instead. Really apologized. It only takes one little slip or "not remembering" to cause a bad accident. How hard is it to own up and say "oops, I should be more careful. I'm sorry." Ok, jumping off the soapbox...LOL Try to have a great Christmas season regardless!

Patty Blount said...

OOOOOO, I am so angry for you. WHat nerve!

"I'll try to remember to stop?" SERIOUSLY? When did this become optional?

Travener said...

Thanks for sharing!

Travener said...

OK, now... Sounds like that woman went to anger management classes and/or is in some kind of zombie 12-step program.

Gerard said...

I used to slap at or kick cars that came close to me. Not sure why it never ended in a fight. I was much younger then. I do understand your frustration.

Julie Dao said...

What a complete idiot! Those are the kinds of people who go around breaking all the road rules, waiting for a serious accident to happen before they pull their heads out from their butts. I'm so glad you and the baby were okay!

Meghan Ward said...

OMG, that woman must be a therapist! That was straight out of Parenthood the TV show that takes place in Berkeley. Unbelievable. And it's always scary crossing crosswalks with two little kids - I'm so glad you didn't let her intimidate you.

Sierra Godfrey said...

Don, my Looks get me in more trouble than I like.

Teri, I'm so glad someone said sorry and was an adult about it. It's easy to slide through crosswalks when you're the car--but it only takes a second to hit and kill someone.

Paige, I didn't really keep my cool--or I did, but in a passive aggressive way. You have a good soapbox there lady, you're welcome to soapbox here anytime.

Patty, I know right? When did it become the pedestrian's fault? When did breaking the law twice over (not stopping at a stop sign, and not stopping for a pedestrian which is California state law) become MY fault?

Trav, ha ha. And I agree. Sounded like a totally lame anger management tactic.

Gerard, I've seen bikers with mallets on their bikes take the mallet and wham a car with it if they came too close at stoplights. Wasn't pretty.

Julie, Thanks--I'm glad we were okay too. It doesn't make any sense.

Meghan, I'll have to take a look at that show. Didn't know it was set in Berkeley.

J. R. Williams said...

It takes a lot to keep your cool when somebody is pushing your buttons like that. I'm glad you kept control when you were "sharing." What she did was extremely dangerous. That "frosty little smile" would've prompted some choice words in Chicago. Glad you both are okay.

Lt. Cccyxx said...

I feel like this exchange has a very California vibe to it. It's hard for me to picture such a scene here in D.C. at least. Just reading your description of it, though, sent my blood pressure through the roof. (A credit to you as a writer - I have to say you really drew the scene well.) Props to you also, Sierra, for keeping your cool. I happen to be one of the folks who has got no qualms with whacking someone's car with my umbrella, hand, or whatever is near if they get so close to me that I can reach.

Sierra Godfrey said...

Thanks JR, my only regret is not reminding her that it only takes a wrong step in one second to hit and kill people with cars.

Lt, Thanks for the props...my primary concern was the baby strapped to my chest so I couldn't engage in any further altercation. Plus, she was so clearly aggressive, stopping in the middle of the street, that my brain was shouting "get away get away get away."

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