17 August 2011

Put your rage on the page

Toward the end of the school year, Sacha had a particularly bad day at school, during which he accidentally clocked his teacher in the chin hard enough to send her to the doctor midday, after she forcibly brought him to the sink to make him wash his hands. 

In my completely unobjective opinion, the bitch had in coming, but that is a story for another day. For now, suffice it to say, it does not take a military tactician to point out that if you find yourself embroiled in a power struggle with a hyperactive, oppositional five year-old, you’d best step down, as experience has taught me that you will always come out on the losing end of that showdown.

Sacha was feeling pretty bad about himself, and I was feeling drained from soothing his addled nerves, and so, when we got to the pool, I let him go to the shuffleboard court on his own. I wanted a little time to myself, and instead of checking on him at my usual 5-minute intervals, I stretched it to 10 minutes. When I did check on him I watched him from the edge of the court — see ticking time bombs, sleeping dogs, etc., —  and from my vantage point, he seemed to be playing happily with a bunch of kids.

Twenty peaceful minutes later, a lifeguard brought my screaming child to me, explaining that he’d been interfering in people’s games. I apologized to the lifeguard, and attempted to comfort my extremely low-frustration tolerant son. I gave him the requisite talk about not disrupting people's games, but my heart wasn’t quite in it, because I knew it was really my fault.

I spent the rest of the afternoon limping around the pool with Sacha clinging to my leg screaming. I was in this position when a woman approached me. "Excuse me," she said, "is that your son?" I took this to be a rhetorical question, what with the clinging and screaming and the strong familial resemblance, but nonetheless, I answered, “Yes.”

“Could you please watch him on the shuffleboard court?” she asked.
“I know; I’m so sorry; the lifeguard told me. I was checking on him, but clearly I didn’t get close enough to see what was happening, and I read the situation wrong.”

“He really shouldn’t be left alone there,” she continued, “He was very disruptive.”
“I’m really sorry,” I said.
“He kept messing up my daughter's game. He kept moving the puck around, and changing the scoreboard. He made it impossible to for us to play.”

At this point, I started to lose my temper. My brain said, “Look, second bitch I have encountered today, you should put on your listening ears, because I have just said, ‘My bad.' Twice." I have taken responsibility for my son’s actions, and social convention dictates that no matter how pissed off at me you are, and perhaps rightly so, you should, at this point, graciously accept my apology and go on to resent me for the rest of your life, if you like.”

Instead, I repeated, with all the politeness I could muster, “I am terribly sorry, and as you see, my son also feels pretty awful too.”

With that, I hobbled off on my screaming peg leg. I think it is safe to say it was not the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

02 August 2011

Asshole alert

Some people have fine-tuned gaydar — which in this day and age, is really not that impressive. I, on the other hand, have exquisitely honed assholedar, and lately I've been attracting them like a magnet. I could tell many stories of encounters I've had lately, and perhaps for the remainder of the summer I will make this a regular feature, but for now, consider the following:

We recently got a new car insurance policy, and I had to bring our car in to a designated photo-inspection facility. I called in advance to see when was a good time to come, and was told to show up at an appointed hour. I arrived promptly, and announced myself to a mechanic, who told me to wait in the office for his boss. Although the boss wasn't busy, he scowled at me and kept me waiting for ten minutes before he began inspecting my car.

Boss: Pull up over here.

[I pulled up over here, parked my car, and got out.]

Boss: No; pull up here. [Nods head 3 feet ahead of where I pulled up.]

[I got back in the car, and pulled up here.]

Boss glowered his way through the inspection. When he finished, we had the following exchange:

Boss: Do you know your front tire needs to be replaced?

Me: Yes, I do. It's on my list.

Boss: You know that tire could blow?

Me: Yes, I do.

Boss: I see you travel with babies in the car.

Me, internal monologue: That is technically untrue, although I can see why you would make that assumption, because I do have one car seat in the car. But since I don't want to give you any information about my personal life, I will let this slide.

Me, aloud: Yes, I do.

Boss scowled his way though the paperwork and dismissed me. As I got into my car to leave, Boss said, "You really should replace that tire."

Me: I know. I'm going to.

Me, internal monologue: Can you shut the fuck up already?

Boss: I would hate for to injure someone, or kill yourself, or your babies.

Me, aloud: Thank you!

Me, internal monologue: Thank you, asshole, for pointing out to me what I've already acknowledged that I know. I agree that it is of paramount importance to replace the tire. I am so sorry that I am a busy woman with three children, and, seeing as it's summer, a great deal less free time on my hands. Thank you so much for continuing to berate me and show me the error of my ways. I appreciate your concern for my "babies," and for every other sentient being on the road who I am endangering, and thank you for pointing out that I have no concern for my own children, life, or human welfare. In departing, let me add that if you have miraculously managed to find a mate and procreate, I pity your family for having to endure your domineering, authoritarian manner and passive-aggressive communication style, to say nothing of your poor listening skills. I also thank you for acting like you are doing me a favor by inspecting my car, which, while I am not personally paying you to do, you are being suitably compensated for by my insurance company. May your business continue to thrive and prosper!