Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

19 02 2008

Yesterday, I took a bit of a short-cut to my house in the middle of the day. I live on a one-way street and there’s another street that bisects it about 2 houses down from me. So when I’m really in a hurry, I will cut over and go maybe 20 feet the wrong way down my street to get to my house rather than going all the way around. So yesterday it was a gorgeous day, sunny and about 60 degrees. I was jamming to the new Jack Johnson cd, which is incredible, and I took the cut through so I could unpack the car before I left for lunch. On the way, I passed a woman wearing a safari hat and kelly green top. She had a big leather should bag, indicating she was probably a professor.

So I whip into the driveway, pop out the cd, gather up all the trash I can carry and heave out of the driver’s side door. As I make my way around to the back of the car, this woman is standing there writing something down. I couldn’t see her eyes because she had on some big sunglasses. I looked at her and quizzically inquired if I could help her with something.

She was seething, straining not to yell. “What’s your license plate number?” I wasn’t sure what to say since she was staring right at it, so I shrugged and said, “It looks like you’re already writing it down.”

She started fuming about how there are kids that live on this street. I smiled and informed her that we had one of those “kids”–a two-year old. She snapped back, “I don’t care.” (Ironic since that was what she was supposedly concerned about.) Then she said that everyone was in a hurry and she was just sick of this “blatant obstruction of the law.” (Obviously she doesn’t know the meaning of the word “hurry” since she doesn’t have a two-year old and takes 15 minutes out of her day to chastise people for minor traffic violations, not to mention the time she wound up spending on the phone with the police department and bitching to everyone she knows about the young people going the wrong way down the street).

I told her I was very sorry that I had upset her so much. She responded with a huff and turned dramatically on her heels to walk away. I sweetly called after her that I hoped she wasn’t putting too much energy into this… it seemed that she was awfully upset. To this, she bid me good day.

I took several things away from this experience:

1. It is so worthwhile to be calm when other people get all worked up about stupid stuff.

2. I need to be wary of what I spend my energy being ticked off about,because I could be this woman barking at someone for violating a one-way street for 20 feet or so.