Or a Better Title: Why a 50 Something Year Old Can’t Stand Up for Herself Properly
It was one of those days. We all get them, right? Oh please tell me I’m not the only one that gets really crazy days.
I was overwhelmed with stuff that had to get done and everything seemed to go wrong. I won’t go into all of the things that made my day go wrong but by mid afternoon I was getting close to a melt down. And the best was yet to come.
In the midst of everything, I remembered my poor little fire bellied frogs hadn’t eaten anything in 3 days. I buy 40 crickets for them once a week and that usually lasts them a week but for some reason, a lot of these crickets died before I could feed them to the frogs, and I hadn’t had a chance to get back up to my local PetSmart to pick up some more. So I added that to my list of things I had to get done.
I looked at the clock and saw that I had 30 minutes before my daughter got off work and picked up the baby. So I had just enough time to run up to the pet store and picked them up. Usually my granddaughter MayMay loves going “Bye-Bye” and also loves being in PetSmart although it’s a challenge to keep her in the cart. Like most toddlers, she wants to get down and touch everything.
So I go back to the fish section in PetSmart to where they keep the crickets. The clerk is helping 2 guys with some fish. Okay, great. I’ll be next, I think. Unfortunately, she is taking her time
flirting talking to them. While I’m waiting, an elderly couple comes up and waits beside me.
While we are waiting, my phone rings. It’s the hospital. My mother is in the emergency room. Nothing real serious, she just had trouble breathing even with her oxygen and so they will keep her a few hours to get it back up to normal. So I need to get there as soon as possible.
Now, most normal, sane people would rush out of the store at this and race to the hospital. But no, not me. I did have my reasons. First, I can’t take the baby in the emergency room so I have to wait until I can hand off to her mother, my daughter. And this is the 6th time this year my mother has had to go to the emergency room. Only once did they keep her. The other times, they sent her home after a few hours. So odds are, it’s nothing too serious.
Regardless, I’m still getting ansy waiting my turn. I really need to get this chore done and get back home in time for my daughter’s return, so I can get on to the hospital. The clerk is still talking to the 2 fellows. The old couple and I exchange glances.
By now, my granddaughter has lost all patience with sitting in the cart, and is trying to climb out. I keep putting her back in. I try to hand her a toy to distract her but she throws it down and starts screaming. Oh joy. While this is going on, a group of 5 teenagers walk back and join the waiting group of customers.
The clerk finally turns around and sees the crowd waiting and rushes to us. She asks us who is next. I say “I am” over the screaming baby and the old couple also point to me and say “she is”. She starts towards me when one of the boys in the gaggle of teenagers pipes up and says “No I was here first!”
Are you kidding me? He was the last of us to get here. So I say, “No you weren’t!” And the boy says, “Yes I was” and his little friends all agree.
I say, “Well I guess you were invisible then.” At which point he just snarls at me.
The clerk looks confused like she doesn’t know who to go to. Now common sense would dictate to go to the person with the screaming baby to get them out of there quicker, right? Also odds are, the older folks here are not going to be the ones telling lies in this group. But what does she do? She goes to help the boy.
I mutter under my breath but loud enough so they can hear, “Unbelievable!” And of course the boy wants to get 3-4 different kind of fish so it looks like we are going to be here awhile.
I’m still trying to quiet my granddaughter when the boy turns around to give me a triumphant gloating grin and I’m just glaring at him. He glares back at me and we stare at each other for almost a full minute before he says “What?”
At this point, I say “You know good and well you were not here first.” I can’t believe I’m being so petty about this but I just can’t help myself. Melt down time commences!
We get into a yelling match, all the while the clerk is looking panicked and the older couple are just watching with their mouths hanging open.
The boy calls me a bitch. I say that sorry, maybe I’m acting like one but I just found out my mother is in the hospital and I need to hurry up and get to her. At which point he says, “Well shouldn’t you be there instead of here?” I yell back that I don’t need to explain myself to a spoiled brat.
Now looking back, I guess he was right. I mean, how did that look? My mother is in the hospital and here I am out cricket shopping? But then he didn’t know all the circumstances behind it. I should have never even brought up the fact that my mother was in the hospital. In fact, I should have never behaved that way with some kid.
At this point, I feel like I’m going to totally lose self control and whap the kid so I say “forget it” and go to the stack of boxed crickets. I don’t like buying crickets this way because they are more expensive and half of them end up being dead but I can no longer wait for this idiot girl to get a grip and help me.
So I grab a box and rush up to the cash register. There is a customer ahead of me and that’s when the one and only cash register that has a cashier, breaks down. Are you fricking kidding me? I wait while the cashier calls the manager twice over the loud speaker. He’s a no show so after several minutes, I drop the box of crickets on the counter and leave.
As I’m pulling out of the parking lot. the group of teens walk out of the store. When they see me, they go a different way. Wise choice. At that point, I would have liked nothing better than hit the boy. Not really. But it would have been fun to chase him around the parking lot.
Several days later, I am still so ashamed of myself. And I guess I’ll have to go out of my way to a store much further away to get my crickets.
If you knew me, you would know this is totally out of character for me to lose it like that. In fact 99 out of 100 times, I will let people walk all over me. I won’t speak up for myself at all. I was a child of the 60’s and 70’s and raised in the South. I was taught that proper Southern ladies do not make a fuss, or raise their voices in public or pretty much do anything to stand up for our self in situations like this. We are supposed to turn the other cheek. So that’s what I usually do.
But rarely, when I’m under a lot stress as I was yesterday, I just lose it and that sweet, proper Southern lady turns into Mega-Witch. I was never taught how to properly stand up for myself and have no idea how to do it. So I go to one extreme or the other. You’d think by my age I would have figured this thing out but I still haven’t.
Wow, this has turned into a book. But I do feel better now writing this all out. So my friends, what would you have done in my shoes?
Oh by the way, my mother was fine. They sent her home shortly after I got there. She just turned the knob on her oxygen tank the wrong way. And I sent my son up later to get the crickets so my frogs are happy.