Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Bless Those Who Curse You

Yesterday some guy called me a dumba$$ in the parking lot at Smiths. I was there with my son. We were buying graham crackers and marshmallows for s'mores. I had just gotten into my car to pull out of my parking place (not handicapped) and this guy in a really big extended truck pulled into the parking place next to me (handicapped) and honked. I'm telling you that his truck was big so you'll know that he couldn't have been mad at me for driving an SUV while he was in a Prius or something. I don't even drive a huge SUV. (It's medium.) I couldn't tell what he was mad about. Our eyes met while I was backing out. He waved his hands at me like "Get out of here!" and then he called me a "dumba$$." I just backed out and drove away. I looked in my rear view mirror and he was flipping me off for a really long time. Like, a really long time.

I wondered all the way home what made him so mad. My best guess is that I was just getting into the car when he was pulling in and maybe my door was blocking some of his space. I don't feel defensive. I take no pride in my driving or parking skills. But, it really is true that I hadn't done anything wrong. It didn't make me mad when this guy called me a dumba$$. It made me sad. It hurt my feelings. I got tears in my eyes and when I got home I needed to self-sooth by laying on my bed wrapped in covers. I don't know why. I didn't feel fear. I just felt sad that someone could get that mad so fast. And I wasn't even sad that he hates me. I assume a lot of people hate me and I think they are right to hate me.  I don't want to talk to him and ask him what's wrong or why he got so mad. I'm not interested in mending things, explaining, or winning him over. I assume he's on edge for some reason. I can't say I really "bless" him. (I don't live many of the higher laws yet.)

Once I was in a parking lot with my boyfriend in high school. There was a parking-lot skirmish and pretty soon he and some other guy were screaming obscenities at each other. It was horrible and I hated it. I knew then--and it was sad because I was naive--that I wouldn't marry him. Not because he screamed and swore, although that was part of it--more because I guess (when I think of it now) I expected his love for me to act like a balm against crazy, irrational, yelling. How could he behave like that with me right there? My presence didn't temper him. It was actually quite disappointing.

I've never even seen a fist fight in real life. I might suffer irreparable emotional damage if I did. I guess I'm pretty sensitive. I probably needed to be swaddled a lot as a baby.


  1. Once someone really chewed me out because I was sitting (keyless and powerless) in a car that my friend had double parked. I could do nothing about it, which I tried to explain as I also profusely apologized, but this person didn't care and yelled at me anyway. It was horrible and as she walked away I said "thanks for being so understanding" in a sarcastic voice. It totally backfired, believe it or not. Angry people are not softened by sarcasm and a reminder that they ought to be understanding. This incident totally ruined my whole day and still makes me feel nervous and sweaty when I remember it.

  2. Carly, I need to remember that angry people are NOT softened by sarcasm, because I always forget that.

    I had an incident similar to that and it made me unnerved the whole day. But I DO want people to like me and when I pretend I don't care, it makes me me want to self-soothe by hiding under my covers,too. I imagine you did need a lot of swaddling as an infant. And I see nothing wrong with that.

  3. I don't even know you personally, but I know no one is ever right to hate you. How sad! Never feel that way about yourself, especially because of some dumba$$. I'm a new-ish follower of your blog and I love your posts!

  4. A similar thing happened to me once. I was riding my bike home from class on a four-lane street. There was hardly any traffic and since I needed to turn left at the next intersection I was in the left lane on the right side of the road for about .1 miles (does that even make sense?). Anyway, I trucked passed me on the right and the driver yelled at me. The thing that really got me was he turned *right* at the light, so he didn't even need to be in my lane! I cried a little bit too.

  5. I think what makes it super hurtful is when you are pretty dang sure you didn't do anything wrong. It's sort of the injustice of it all. And it makes me sad too.

  6. I've had two similar encounters recently, and both are like infected wounds. I find such things hard to deal with. And they come to mind when I hear those "Be kind because everyone's doing the best they can" quotes. I don't think everyone IS doing the best they can.

  7. robbie always says that there are three places where people show their true colors (airports, the DMV, and buffets), but i think parking lots need to be added to the list. in my mind, being in a car and saying something rude to someone is akin to leaving a nasty anonymous comment on a forum or blog—there's no accountability for the attacker but it is totally hurtful to the recipient.

    anyway, what i really want to say is that i'm glad that you are sensitive. i'm also very sensitive and feel emotions really intensely, and for me it's really hard and sometimes isolating. and while it does sometimes result in tears and wrapping myself in blankets, there is nothing wrong with feeling it all—it shows you are human.

  8. Anonymous12:24 PM

    I moved to New York about 9 years ago from San Francisco (though I'm originally from the East Coast). No one in San Franciso honks, gestures, yells (maybe on one occasion and not bad) ever. If anything, it's annoying in the opposite. "You go, no, you go, no you go." I had a similar experience with a New York driver. I had pulled into a parking spot where the person next to me parked crookedly(sp?). The person forced me to park crookedly. I went in the store and when I came out a man was pacing around his car and mine mumbling what I imagine were mean things. He then proceeded to yell at me and threaten to hit my car with his door if I didn't move. I tried to explain that I had to park that way because of the person, now long gone, before me. He continued to yell though it was somewhat muted after hearing my pathetic retelling. I felt like crying and I think I did later. I also vented to my friends what a complete a$$ the guy was. I'm finally over it. New Yorkers are crazy. I don't know why. I like New York but the people are very uptight and the shop keepers are surly. I did visit SF recently and was thrilled to be back in the land of laid-back, friendly people and much better and cheaper food (sorry New York).

  9. Anger, if not restrained, is frequently more
    hurtful to us than the injury that provokes it.
    -- Seneca.

  10. Andrea1:21 PM

    Right after I purchased a brand-new car as an carefree twentysomething, I was loading groceries into the backseat. A guy, who apparently was parked next to me in an enormous truck, came tearing out of the store hollering, "HEY HEY HEY! What are you doing!!?? WATCH IT!!" I was totally confused because my door was open all the way and there was still at least 4 feet of space between his car and mine. When he got closer he saw that this was the case. Did he apologize or even look sheepish about his mistake? No. He just grunted about needing to be careful.

    The injustice of it made me cry a little. And think he was a moron.

  11. So, once I was in a large store and had a return to make. I had my two oldest with me, but it was years ago, so they were much younger. One was sitting in the front of the cart, the other in the back. I was at the return counter and they were right behind me, where I could keep my hand on the cart. Because of how the store was set up, the place where you return items also leads to the restrooms, but it was a huge space, so there was room for a return line, extra carts, people to walk by, etc.

    Well, I'm standing there and this guy walks up to the cart and stands looking at it. I'm watching him carefully because I can't figure out what he is doing. There was about six or seven feet to the left of the cart and my kids to walk around, so I thought I must be blocking something I didn't realize. Suddenly, he gets red in the face and yells, "WILL SOMEONE GET THESE KIDS THE HECK OUT OF THE WAY?!" (And no, the caps are not to be dramatic, he was angry squared.)

    Um, did I really just witness that?

    I've often said, mess with me and I'll not be happy. Mess with my husband or my kids and I will take. you. down.

    Oddly though, I think I quickly realized it wasn't a good idea in this instance. Plus, I really wanted to be a good example to my kids. (Even though my heart wanted to go at him.) I took a small breath and replied loudly (yeah, couldn't completely do it kindly, had to make sure others heard), "I would love to. Thank you so much for asking so kindly."

    His red in the face turned purple and he stomped into the restroom.

    I continued my return and just as I was almost done, he came stomping back out to get a cart and do his shopping.

    I couldn't stop myself (okay, chose not to) and as he passed me I called out, "I sure hope you have a very Merry Christmas sir!" (It was early December.)

    He stopped in his tracks, looked to the right and then the left (everywhere but where I was), started moving toward the carts and again and then quickly changed direction and stomped out of the store without a word, still purple in the face.

    The people around me, as well as the employees of the store went crazy. They thought it was the greatest thing ever.

    I don't know what the moral of that story is. Did I handle it well? Better than if I had gone crazy on him, which is what I wanted to do. But still, my heart knew I was agitating him to death by pretending to be nice. I didn't care at the time, just wanted to make sure he knew his reaction was way out of control, whatever it took.

    That experience shook me for the rest of the day. I think that when we get that close to someone who is capable of that much anger, it does something to our soul. At least it does to mine.

    Well then, that was a bit long. I actually have another one of those stories (with an AWESOME ending that would seriously make anyone teary), but my pride is keeping me from sharing it.

    Long winded much?

  12. I love how you methodically write your way through your thought processes. And another thing you wrote that I loved because I circled around this idea for years but never landed so precisely on "it" like you did, "guess (when I think of it now) I expected his love for me to act like a balm against crazy, irrational, yelling. How could he behave like that with me right there? My presence didn't temper him. It was actually quite disappointing." I know this post was primarily about a "crazy guy" in a parking lot- but this last part spoke to me- probably because I've known a lot of "crazies" and I've never been able to understand why my "normal" never wore off on them the way I'd romantically dreamed..... ;)

  13. That guy is a jerk.

  14. If I knew you personally, and we would be friends Im sure! I would give you a hug! Im sorry about your experience and all those similar ones shared. so. not. cool.

    we had a similar situation, driving to a regional conference at the conference center to hear an Apostle no less... there was some construction, and it required two lanes to merge into one. An elderly couple on the left of our beat up, broken down mini van refused to let us into the merging lane. The old wife in her nice luxury sedan actually laughed and smirked at us while driving so close our side view mirrors would have touched. it filled me with crazy rage (most utah drivers do that to me - sorry, ..im from the midwest) and honestly zapped the Spirit and positive vibe for the entire conference.

    I was appalled that some old couple could be so snarky from their car. Especially right outside the conference center. I still get hot and angry thinking about it.

    I definitely have experiences that cause me to over analyze, hurt, feel sad or disappointed, and result in an afternoon under the covers. I hope your day turns(ed) out better, and you can try to forget about it. You are certainly not alone in the sensitivity department. :)

  15. I find flipping them off in return to make all the pain go away! ;)

  16. So why do people "flip the bird" anyway? It is so dumb. Some Grandma flipped me off a few months ago and I was seriously laughing because I think she had her daughter and grand daughter in the car with her (I'm guessing). Maybe it was something to pass on to the younger generations..."we flip people off--its our way".

  17. Okay, now I want to know what Smiths this was! Because I had a very similar experience at the Orem location recently, and it was so upsetting, I had the shakes for a couple of hours afterwards the way you do after a near-accident.

  18. I'm so sorry that happened to you. I also don't take any particular pride in my driving. I think I drive like what I am - a distracted mom. One day I pulled out onto the main drag from a side street so carefully because the oncoming traffic was hard to see around the parked cars. It looked wide open to me, but at the next light there was a man in a Mercedes behind me going BEZERK. I wondered if he was okay. He was raving and flailing around. When the light changed, he pulled up next to me and yelled, "GET A F*ING DRIVER'S LICENSE!!!!" Did I cut him off? Who knows. I could only laugh, but later I wanted to cry. I told my brother what happened and he said maybe the guy was an outreach worker for the DMV, so now I laugh when I remember it.

  19. I'm guessing he didn't pronounce the $$ part as "dollar signs"?? It saddens me when people can be so hurtful and insensitive. Are you sure he wasn't actually saying to you that he was a dumb---? You may have misinterpreted. Perhaps he was speaking to himself. And then flipping himself off for good measure. He was really ticked off at himself, man!

    1. I think you might be right.

  20. I hate that guy.

  21. well, i don't know what it says about me that i just bought those soft, expensive swaddling blankets for myself...for my easter basket. but that guy needs his face swaddled with a fist.

  22. Kacy, this is why we "get" each other. I was always the girl on the playground who ran and hid and cried when kids started hitting each other. I'm just a tender soul. Once, when I was driving by myself a few years ago, a guy who was in the wrong lane to turn, but thought I was in the wrong lane, flipped me off and screamed at me through his window. I bawled for about twenty miles on the freeway. I just can't handle unsolicited, unfounded anger like that.

  23. It is really odd how nice people can become so crazy when they get behind the wheel of their cars. I try to always think that the person in the car ahead, behind, or next to me is being driven by someone I work with, go to church with, do volunteer work with, etc.... because the chances are, that person is!

  24. Best advice I can give that guy is to read Anatomy of Peace. As for the parking lot incident, I think I need names! :-)

  25. I can totally relate to your hurt feelings! I was flipped off by some irate driver the other day as well, and I wasn't even driving! I was just an innocent passenger. So I guess technically he wasn't flipping ME off, but I still took it personally.

    I love reading your blog, your style of writing is hilarious and I think if I knew you in real life I would want to be your good friend so you could make me laugh in person.



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