Thursday, March 04, 2010

you gotta be kidding

So, yesterday evening at about 5:30, after an hour+ of some extended and touch-and-go non-cooperative toddler negotiations, I come out of the grocery store (having saved $20 of my $78 trip, BTW, thanks to my cuz Renee's tip about, with my cart loaded down (with my own tote bags instead of grocery store bags, I love going green, plus, you can stuff a lot more groceries in your own unbreakable bags!), Clare riding on the front like a big kid, and I round the corner to our little green car ready to unload and get home pronto to start dinner. And witness the lady parked next to us in the big new shiny Lexus SUV push her cart directly behind our car and walk off.

I mean, I know that probably half the people that grocery shop don't bother corralling their carts, but most people seem to park them in reasonably out of the way places. Not directly behind neighboring parked cars.

You gotta be kidding me, I said out loud, but she was already starting her car and gettin the hell outta Dodge.

A few years back, I would have fumed silently, thrown a dirty look that didn't land, and been even more furious than warranted because of feeling impotent and helpless. A couple of years back, I would have probably lost it completely and gone overboard in explaining to this woman exactly how awful she is.

Yesterday, I managed (I think) a good, moderate, middle-ground response. Here's how it went down:

Me: [on seeing the cart, to self and Clare] You gotta be kidding me!

[I push my cart past my car, up the aisle to her driver's side window, and tap on it. She rolls it down and gives me a what the hell look.]

Me: Did you just leave your cart directly behind my car?

Her: Which car is yours?

Me, incredulously: The green one right next to you with the shopping cart behind it!

Her: Yeah, I could have done that.

Me, even more incredulously: Why would you do that?

Her: I'm in a big hurry.

Me: Really? Yeah, so am I. And I have a three year old and a cart full of groceries to unload, how am I supposed to deal with this?

Her: I figured the guy would come take it away. And I'm in a hurry.

[I just stare--can't figure out how she could be caught red-handed and not be the least bit repentant. I stare until she rolls her eyes, sighs, and makes like she is going to get out of the car and deal with her cart.]

Me, dripping with sarcasm and really mad now: Oh don't bother. Don't worry, I'll handle it. You're in a hurry. You just go on and have a great day.

[I get no reply. No thanks, no sorry, no nothing. I am so shocked at this that I shake my head and exclaim, "Jesus!" which, I hasten to explain, is not a curse but my shorthand habit of my preferred prayer for patience in absurd and stressful situations, the "Jesus prayer"--"Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner."]

She ought to be thanking God I'm back on Zoloft. Things could have gone a lot worse for her. As it was, I had to push her cart away from my car in order to unload mine, and her car was so big that she had to execute an extra point in her turn in order to pull out of her space and go past us without hitting her own cart. She refused to even look over the whole time she maneuvered her way out of her spot. So she was minorly inconvenienced by her own mean sneaky laziness, but not enough for me to get any schadenfreude-ish satisfaction out it. So I find myself hoping that deep down inside she felt really bad, even if she couldn't bring herself to show it. I mean, I'd like to think that she's basically a decent person and not a totally depraved wretch.

And my sis thinks I should have just pushed the cart over behind her car instead. There's some really satisfactory poetic justice to that solution. Wish I'd thought of it.


Justin said...

I think I much prefer the nice but quasi passive aggressive "ma'am ..... I think you forgot your cart. Do you want me to put it up for you since I'm all ready out of the car? You must be in a big hurry... I am too. Plus I've got these kids to deal with, so I understand how easy it is to forget your cart and leave it behind someone's car"

my readin of Jesus seems to be doing something kindly, making a person aware of their wrong and let the spirit work on their heart. When I'm an ass to someone who does something inconsiderate, I've found that it doesn't bring reconcilliation, cause the person gets super defensive. Not saying you were an ass, btw. Just that sometimes opening that line of communication, allowing for a person to see how thye wronged you, yet at the same time ding willigto go the extra mile to still treat them with respect because truthfully, you don't know what their situation is either. People need to be called on their shit, but at the same time, our default should be loving correction.

JJT said...

Yeah, I like your strategy. I'm relieved that I didn't do any worse than I did. But certainly there was nothing in my confrontation that would have made it easier rather than harder for her to own up and show some regret.

Justin said...

I'm lucky if I don't blow up on people. My wife does a good job of keeping me from being a jerk, and rethinking my diabolical schemes to shame someoe who wronged me.

An it's that exactthing about myself that pushes mento look for creative ways to right wrongs... Cause I've got a lot of desire for reveng in my heart.

I'm currently strugling with my neighbors who have harrassed us about our friends parking in front of their house, who themselves have no qualms about blocking my on street parking.

Btw, you should re follow me on Twitter. I've cut back on the ridiculousness. I promise ;)

mom23 said...

I'm so proud of you for speaking up! 2 days ago I was parked next to a car w/ a terribly offensive political bumper sticker. While in the store, I thought about what I would say to the person if I were to know who the car owner was. Sure enough, when I went back to my van, there was a woman loading groceries into the back of the SUV full of family type groceries and car seats in the back. I just smiled at her. Didn't say anything. And have felt shame that I didn't speak up for decency since. So THANK YOU!

Vasca said...

The woman in the 'big, new, shiny Lexus SUV' obviously shouldn't have parked her cart behind your car...but she did. Why not just put the cart somewhere out of harms way and be done with it?? She might have had just a harrowing day as you; who's to know?

Personally, I'd rather 'do it myself'...keeps me calm and I think...I know...God is pleased.

"Don't be yourself - be someone a little nicer"..Mignon McLaughlin. Good for one's spiritual as well as mental health.

Bumper stickers can be very repulsive, people can be very repulsive...that's life. Deal with it...nicely.

JJT said...

Sure, she might have been having a harrowing day. But the confrontation was to make the point that *she* ought to have had that thought too, about the poor house-slob driving the little green Honda parked next to her. I do think I might have done better in the actual confrontation, but I think confronting her was better than allowing her to disregard others with impunity.

Vasca said...

The 'poor house slob driving the little green Honda' vs. 'the lady in the big new shiny Lexus SUV' speaks volumes. Quite a comparison.

Little Light said...

You're all nicer than me. I would have put the cart behind her car.