Saturday, May 30, 2009

I Fought the Law . . . Again

It felt like a good idea at the time. Yesterday the oldest two had plans to spend the afternoon at a pool party at a schoolmate’s house in Kennewick and Kenny really wanted to go too. Before taking him to school I told him it probably wasn’t going to happen; I didn’t think I’d be able to spare the time to hang out by a pool all afternoon. Fridays are early release around here and by school’s end I’d changed my mind. Sitting by a pool was exactly what I needed.

He was happy with his reversal of fortune and talked about swimming while I consulted the map app. on my phone. Okay so far. Trouble started when we drove down Kellogg Street heading toward our destination on 4th Avenue. Road block. Detour.

Okay, I can manage a detour, right? Maybe. I followed it and hit 4th from the other direction. Immediately I came to a “Closed to Thru Traffic” sign. According to my calculations, I needed to go just beyond that to get to my destination. I went around the sign and within seconds was seeing flashing lights in my rearview mirror. My first, naïve thought was, “Oh good. I bet he can help me figure out where I’m going.” Man was I wrong.

I rolled down my window and before I could say anything this police officer was reading me the riot act. How dare I pass that sign? “There’s a gas leak! I bet you would have crossed those signs up there!” he said angrily as he pointed toward the road block ahead. The one I took the detour to avoid. “Just as long as you get where you need to go! And then you ask me for directions?? Turn around and get out of my area!”

So there I sat. Numb. Kenny had heard this entire exchange. Not much of an exchange; I’d only attempted, lamely, to say that I took the detour to avoid the other road block. That I just wanted to get to my kids. That I don’t know this area at all. That I thought “Closed to Thru Traffic” meant closed to traffic going all the way through.

I drove away; hot, angry tears filling my eyes.

By the time the party was over, the problem had been solved and the roads were open again. The kids’ teacher brought them home. In the meantime I ruminated. I was so, so angry. I have strong feelings about this. It’s one of my primary weaknesses. In the past I’ve allowed it to eat at me and make me miserable. It’s something that I’m finally trying to control; some days with better success than others.

But was I really angry? Probably not. The reality was that my feelings were hurt and I’d been scared and humiliated. He was the angry one.

There are times in our lives when we cross a line. When, figuratively speaking, there is a ROAD CLOSED sign ahead of us and we make a break for it anyway. Consequently, we’re not surprised when we have to face the music. We don’t like it, certainly, but we’re not surprised. Being on the receiving end of someone’s anger, rage even, when you’ve done nothing wrong is another thing entirely. I have no words for it.

Today it’s over and I think maybe I don’t care anymore. That’s a huge step for me. Besides, it was a pretty hilarious day; how often do you get to act out a scene for a high school spoof of “The Matrix”?
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1 comment:

So, what do you think?