I know, I've been away a while. I'm not saying nothing funny happened while I was not blogging. I'm saying after I released "Missing in Manitowoc" I spent some quality time on my couch binge watching "Scrubs."
I'm back now and I have to say, I've noticed a few things, now that we're in December and it's a holiday season for pretty much everyone...
We are a crabby bunch.
I don't know how it is in other countries, but here in the US it really seems like the minute they start playing, "It's the most Wonderful Time of the Year" on the radio, we all get crabby and by the time we get to the month of December, getting in your car and going someplace feels a lot like being a participant in "The Hunger Games."
Case in point: Earlier this week I ran to Woodman's, our fantastic grocery store, to pick up a few things. I tend to go right after work, at about 1 in the afternoon, because it's a little less crowded and as you all know I don't do well in lines at stores. I picked up my few things, along with one of those bags of food they sell for $6 to help the hungry. Seriously, let me through down this challenge: It's $6. I challenge everyone who shops at a Woodman's (That would be a lot of people in Wisconsin anyway) to pick up one of those bags every time you go to the store. It's $6. You're going to spend that much on wine and beer and you no you are...don't deny it...it's the holidays and we all drink our body weight in wine and beer and vodka slush just to get through the endless stream of parties and family gatherings. So everyone who shops at Woodman's, every time you go in, pick up one of those bags and do something nice for another family this season. And if you don't live in Wisconsin then I challenge you to add $6 worth of non perishable items to your cart every time you go to the store and put that in the bins they have there for your local food pantry. They have them there. Do it! And while you're at it, those bell ringers? Give them a buck. Every time. So that's $7. Not even the price of a movie ticket. Pretty much the price of a venti Starbucks anything. You don't blink twice at those purchases...do this. For the poor, for the needy, and for your own peace of mind this holiday season. You have no idea how great it makes you feel to put food in the bin or toss a buck in that red bucket.
Where was I?
Oh, right, so I'm at Woodman's, and I'm feeling all warm and fuzzy because I bought a meal for the needy and put a buck in the bucket. That's when I decided to do something nice for my husband, who was on vacation this week, but had to tie up a few loose ends on Tuesday so he spent the morning at his desk. I was going to pick up lunch for us both at Culvers. I was craving a cranberry bacon blue salad and he wanted a chicken sandwich. Since Culvers shares a parking lot with Woodman's this was a no brainer.
This is the part of the story that gets complicated, so stay with me.
I pull forward out of my spot, (I always park in a way so that I don't have to back up) and I start driving. The parking lot is loaded with stop signs.I stop for the first one, then make a left. I stop for the second one, which is a four way stop. I wait my turn, and I go, except the person to the left of me thought it was his turn and nearly hit me. To be honest, the guy to the left of me barely slowed down for the stop sign and apparently didn't see me making my turn as he was in the process of blazing through the intersection. his response? he honked at me and flipped me the one finger salute.
Okay, well, maybe he missed the sign and thought he had the right of way...no problem...no one got hurt.
The I come to another stop sign, another four way stop. I wait my turn. In fact, I'm halfway into the intersection when a woman in a mini van flies up to the stop sign and looks like she was just going to whip around the corner when she saw me at the last minute and had to slam on the breaks. As I drive past her, I can read her lips. If I repeated what she was saying my mother would come over here and wash my mouth out with soap.
So now I'm in front of Miss Mouth and it's very clear we are both headed to Culvers. It's also very clear to me that her mission, her one goal in life, is to get there before me. She's weaving around behind me, trying to figure out a way to get around me. This is all happening in a the span of about 150 yards. We get to the Culvers, and there are two entries to the lot. I signal to turn right into the first entry, but at the last moment I have to not make the turn because a supply truck barrels forward, taking up the entire entry. While I was signalling my right turn, Ms. Mouth was swerving left to get around me and get into the next entry, but when I didn't turn she nearly rammed into my drivers side. And there are more readable comments.
I drive another 15 feet to the next entry and turn in. Ms. Mouth does as well, only she then makes a hard right to get around the parked cars on the far side and get into the drive through lane. I make a left to follow the arrows to the drive through, but in doing so I must drive in the lane between parked cars. And that's when car #3 decides to back out, very nearly into me. I'm moving at about 4 miles per hour at this point because I've almost been hit three times by two cars, and this guy backs out of his space Steve McQueen style. I hit the brakes inches from him and I wait.
I can't back up because there's someone behind me. I can't go forward because McQueen Wannabe is at an angle in front of me. So I wait. McQueen Wannabe is looking at me, cussing so hard the air in his vehicle is actually turning blue. I smile and say, "Try using your mirrors next time. Oh, and I can't move so you're going to have to straighten out and drive slowly like a normal human person."
It takes some moments for him to figure out how to undo what he's done. Meanwhile. the person behind me is honking and the woman in the minivan has driven by me, with a triumphant one finger salute in my direction.
Geez, all I wanted was a salad.
By the time I get my salad and hubby's lunch I'm crabby and exhausted and I have to lie down.
So my point is this: how about we try a little patience and tenderness this holiday season? It doesn't matter what religion you
are, what skin color you have, what age you are, what your medical status is, none of that matters. Take things slowly. help someone you don't know with something, no matter how small. Shovel your neighbor's front walk, not because you know they're going to wait until fifty people have crushed the snow and then they'll just dump a pile of salt on it and it'll make the whole block look terrible, but because it's a nice thing to do, you're out there, and what, it's going to take you an extra five minutes. Buy food for the food pantry. Donate a new toy to a toy drive. And maybe, when you're in a parking lot, chill out. Culvers isn't going to run out of anything...and it's unlikely that if you get someplace 15 seconds before I do that your life is going to be measurably better.
And maybe let's stop looking for reasons to be upset. Starbucks red cups? Really? This is how we're going to celebrate the high point of the religious and secular year? By getting all up in arms about a red cup, and by getting up in arms about people who are upset by a red cup? How about if, instead, we buy a beverage in one of those red cups for the guy behind us in the drive through and see how that feels? There are real problems in this world people. Red cups are not one of them. Maybe I can't change the planet with my little blog here, but I tell you what I do sometimes to make someone else's day, and it makes my day brighter, too.
Peace on earth, my friends, goodwill and less finger flipping to all.