One reason I'm terrified of children is the effect they have on formerly sane women.
A week ago, at the end of an 11-hour drive, I pulled up behind a silver SUV at the de-facto loading zone outside our apartment--next to the fire hydrant, where 20 feet of open curb lets two people get a carful of stuff upstairs. (One person has to stay with the car in case you have to move it for an emergency vehicle.)
Next to the SUV was a brown-haired woman in a taupe sheath dress, talking out loud and pacing in a tight little pattern that would have made me dizzy.
I waited in the car for my better half to come downstairs. The woman came down the sidewalk and started talking at me through the car window. I opened it and stared at her in a stupor. I thought, "This person seems to be talking to me. Why would this person be talking to me?" I wasn't taking in a whole lot, having been on the road so long. I did hear the words "Back up!"
I flashed back to the last time a wound-up person in an SUV had accosted me in this spot. A white Land Rover pulled up behind me during a rainstorm and started flashing its lights over and over. I thought, Okay, I'll be a good person. So I got out of my car, in the rain, and asked her, "What's wrong?"
She said, "I'm going to park there!"
I said, "You'll get a ticket!"
She said, "I'm going to park there!"
I got back in my car and thought a minute about whether people that rude ought to be indulged. I decided, Well, I'll be a good person. So I drove away.
Later, I decided I wasn't going to do that again. I mean, Really.
Now, I thought, I don't know what this lady is yelling about, but she has plenty of room to pull out of her spot. I didn't say anything.
Then the woman got back in her SUV, started it, took off backward, and slammed into my front bumper.
I sat there with my mouth open as she jumped out of the SUV, charged over to me, and started screaming about what a horrible person I was. "I asked you to back up! You blahblahblahblah!" she yelled, waving her arms.
Mind you, she'd just bashed my car. It made me mad. I said, "I'm not backing up."
With an intense scoffing tone, she said "What is, this, your New York way of being?"
I said, "I'm not backing up."
She said in a loud stage aside to someone I couldn't see, "I blahblahblah because this person is an asshole!" Then she came back over and yelled, "I asked you to back up and--"
I said, "I'm not backing up. Get used to it!"
She stormed off somewhere and came back with some man who stood about 15 feet away--apparently to watch for traffic police--and vanished again.
My husband came downstairs to unload the car. He said, "What an idiot! She's expecting you to back up into traffic?" He went back upstairs with some stuff.
The woman returned with a stroller, which she put in the back of her SUV. Then she stormed off again and came back carrying a child not quite two, curled sleepily over her shoulder with a pacifier in his mouth. She buckled him in and came back to scream at me again.
"Look what you did!" she yelled. "Look what you did!"
I drowned her out with, "I'm not big on self-righteous mothers! I'm not big on self-righteous mothers!"
She went away huffing, got in her SUV, and left. I still have no idea why she wanted me to back up.
My husband came downstairs again, and I finally got out of my car. The damage to the bumper wasn't any worse than the usual parking-garage ding.
I drove away thinking, I don't feel the least bit guilty about this. Better she should scream at me than her family, because I don't care. It was a wierd experience not to care another person's feelings. But here in the city, everyone's a stranger. There are few consequences to standing up to a bullying wacko.
Even if she's a mother.
Posted by FididdlyDaily at 10:57 AM 0 comments