I passed Diane and her friend -- let's call her Ann -- who were riding bicycles with baskets, looking very green and socially and environmentally conscious, which is how I'd like to look but I never really did learn to ride a bicycle (but that's another blog) and I probably can't look it if I'm not it. Anyway, we waved. By the time I parked in front of the Beach Bazaar, they were almost there, too. I heard Ann, smiling, say to a pedestrian -- let's call her Maggie -- "On your left!" Maggie turned around, saw the bikes, and moved over a bit.
We three friends yammered in front of the Bazaar and then entered because they had a package, too. There was no post office line. Yesterday afternoon, the line had extended from the back all the way up to the half-a-store mark. I said as much and added, as we approached the rear, "But maybe the line is on the other side today." And, indeed, it was.
There were two people in line, besides the patron being waited on. Maggie was at the end of the line. The small queue had closed off any space for walking through, but Maggie moved herself out of our way so we could double the line by getting in it. She leaned in and said quietly to me, the first in our little parade, "'Excuse me' is a very powerful phrase."
"Huh? Oh. I assumed people would know we were getting in line and would let us do it, just like you did."
That was that. She turned away. I mouthed, "Merry f*ck*ng Christmas" to my friends, which made them laugh, which was what I wanted, but then I instantly felt terrible because I ... let's see ... I guess I wanted to make fun of Maggie but without Maggie knowing it. I didn't want her to hear us sniggering about her. I wanted to insult her -- retaliate -- without her knowing it. I wanted crime without punishment.
Well, the line moved on, and while the clerk was tallying up my postage, Ann said that maybe the remark had been meant for the cyclists, and Maggie had mistaken me for a cyclist. (Hah!) Well, whatever ... I feel bad about it.
Is there another story here? Did Diane, Ann, and Barbara come barreling into the store like they owned the joint, talking too loudly, arms loaded with presents, chuckling and gabbing, while Maggie was there for a simple stamp, to send one card to the last friend she has on earth? Did her cat just die? Does her husband beat her? Was her terminal disease just announced?
Maybe she needs to correct everyone. I'm trying to stop that, with the help of Byron Katie's Loving What Is. I'm the one furiously flashing my headlights at the poor fools who don't have their headlights on when it's raining or when dusk has arrived. I. Want. Them. To. Behave.
It's for their own good.
Maybe that's all Maggie wanted. She wanted us to behave the way she behaves. She was merely instructing.
But let's move on to cussing in type, shall we? I had Fun With Asterisks in The F Word up there. At first, I just traded out the g, which merely made it look like sloppy verbalizing. (You'll have to visualize it. I don't want to mark this as a mature blog, 'cause it sure ain't.) Then I tried *ucking, but that was way too close to what I really wanted to say. So I ended up asterisking just the vowels, and that's what you read up there. Let's try just the consonants: *u**i**. Whoa! There's a challenge!
See how important vowels are? They're in a huge minority, unless that's oxymoronically impossible. The ratio is five or six to twenty-six. Well, that's about twenty percent.
Maybe that's the same ratio as the impact of negative experiences compared to the impact of positive ones. That tiny run-in with Maggie has had far more of an influence on my morning than all the positive things that have also happened:
- a nice blog comment and subsequent email with my beloved Beth
- a phone call with Leone, firming up our Christmas plans, among other things
- the wrapping and packing of gifts
- interactions with The Boys and Mittens ... okay, and Mike
- a great quote I read by Helen Keller -- Life is full of suffering. It is also full of overcoming it.
- and surely more things ... the leftover pumpkin bread, the still-fragrant balsam branchettes, the sunshine ...
I hope this doesn't mean I have to return to Al-Anon.