All I am is considerate, and that’s the problem.
I want to share a little story, inspired by true events (from this afternoon). I thought some other moms, or just human beings in general, might be able to relate.
My daughter yelled from her room, “MOM! You didn’t cut my apple yet!”
I burst into tears. Not because I hate cutting apples or because my 6 year old was treating me like her personal waitress, but because I had been crying on & off all afternoon ever since I had a brief, yet wrecking, encounter with a guy in a blue Jeep.
I was driving through a parking lot and saw a bright blue Jeep starting to pull out of his parking space. But we made eye contact, so I assumed he saw a car coming. I kept driving, while also fielding the same question about why I didn’t pack 3 apple sauce packs for my toddler that I had already answered 53 times. I had only packed two, so you can imagine his disappointment with me.
Just as I was trying to think of a way to defer my toddler’s mind to anything besides applesauce, I slammed my minivan to an abrupt halt when I realized Blue Jeep Guy wasn’t going to stop backing out, even though he had looked right at me coming. I threw up my hands and let them fall to my lap in a moment of “What the heck slash, I give up on humanity slash, but why?!”
Blue Jeep Guy proceeded to yell at me, vigorously pointing downward motioning for me to roll down my window, presumably so he could yell at me more. Not sure why I complied, but I guess that is again, the issue.
Blue Jeep Guy did as presumed, and yelled at me, scolding me as if I were his child and demanding an answer to the question, “Why couldn’t you just be considerate?”
His claim: that I saw him pulling out and I could have just been a nice person and stopped to let him back out, but I chose to be inconsiderate and he needed to know why.
My brain, half functioning after working until midnight and then getting up at 4:45am to turn my computer back on for more work, had trouble thinking fast and comprehending what my side of the argument should be. Common sense led me to argue that it was actually inconsiderate of him to pull out in front of me when I had the right of way.
He continued to berate me, clearly not satisfied without me relenting an apology for being the most inconsiderate human on earth. I had nothin’ left. My brain hurt. All that came out of my mouth was, “You’re an idiot”. I’m not really sure why this was my response, that was the best I had. The mom who spends her entire day telling my kids not to call their siblings names, and I just called some random guy an idiot. Just great.
And then, he replied…. “You’re an absolute asshole.”
Not just an asshole. An absolute asshole.
As I drove off, my thoughts ranged from… “Why didn’t I think of that?” to “How did he have the quick wit to throw ‘absolute’ in there?” to… “If he only knew…”
And then I cried. I cried and cried. I cried so much that I proceeded to drive past Publix, which wouldn’t be a problem except that I had an Instacart order ready for pickup and I had already clicked that magic “on my way” button.
As an aside into my thought process…
Once you say you’re “on your way”, they can then see where you are thanks to GPS, and when you get close they come outside. When I saw the notification that my shopper was outside of Publix waiting for me while I was 2 miles down the road crying at a redlight, my heart dropped. I pictured a guy with a shopping cart, standing in the Publix parking lot, all my frozen and refrigerated items baking in the Florida sun, staring at a handheld tablet that shows a little dot. That dot is my minivan, and it just drove past Publix and kept going. He is confused. I am clearly confused. All my stuff is melted, including my poor Publix shopper, and it’s my fault.
I defer back to the story and out of my thought process. I cried some more, pulled myself together, lost it again, all the way to my kids’ school. But once I got into that parking lot, I pulled myself together one final time, wiped my tears, sighed a huge sigh of relief at the sight of a sleeping toddler in the backseat, and picked up my kids from school.
I asked them about their day, told them I was making tacos for Taco Tuesday and totally took credit for planning that as a fun thing. In reality, I didn’t know it was Tuesday until one minute before, and we were really having tacos because I saw a box of tacos shells in the pantry earlier and thought that would be an easy, quick dinner.
As we filed into the house I embarked on my typical after school mission of unpacking lunch boxes, washing things so they can be repacked tomorrow, investigating homework so I know what lies ahead for the evening, and preparing all the snacks that are immediately requested.
As I fast-walked to the laundry room to flip loads, I was just in the middle of making a mental note not to forget to take the trash out so we don’t miss trash morning (for the second week in a row) and I hear…
“MOM! You didn’t cut my apple yet!”
Queue the tears. It’s an absolute (see what I did there?) miracle that I didn’t cut my finger off as I sliced that apple, barely able to see through clouds of unrelenting tears.
And then I thought, quietly to myself as I arranged the apple slices nicely in a bowl… “Blue Jeep guy… all I am is considerate. And that is why I couldn’t stop for you today.”
All I do is for others. I put absolutely everyone else before myself all the time. I worked until nearly midnight last night to meet work deadlines and was back up at 4:45am on my computer to start today’s work before my kids got up. Made them breakfast (some of them twice), packed their lunches, and tried to find a moment that wouldn’t be inconvenient for anyone else so I could take a shower because I didn’t get one the day before.
I came home and made myself half a bagel, and then handed it over to my toddler when he said, “I want one those!” I thought about going to the gym, funny enough, the one that Blue Jeep guy was parked in front of when our paths crossed, but then I looked at today’s workload and decided I would start back another day.
I could go on, and on… and on. But I’m behind on work and need to cook the tacos.
So if I could go back in time, rewind my life to where I was pulled up beside Blue Jeep guy, taking his lashing for being “so inconsiderate”, I would reply…
“All I ever am is considerate…I am always the last person I think of and care for. And so just for today, just for right now, I needed to keep that right of way that was mine in this parking lot and just drive. That is why I didn’t stop and let you out. And if that makes me an absolute asshole, then I am absolutely okay with that at this point. I hope for the rest of today, you cross paths with people who have enough capacity to think straight and that they stop for you when you take it upon yourself to disobey traffic laws, but I’m afraid that most of us are just a little overwhelmed right now. ”
If I could go back, and if I was ever good at thinking things up on the spot, that’s what I would say. But I am not, so I write. Hang in there, moms, and dads, and everyone else. And when you need to be, to protect your mental health or just get through the day, it’s okay to be an absolute asshole sometimes.
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Hi, I’m Jessica! I am wife to Chris, and mom to Kaiper, Alana and Koa. I am a graphic designer, website developer and aspiring author. In this space, I share about everything from parenting, working from home, food we cook, and lots of things for kids! Learn more about me here.