Choose civility.

Most people who know me will agree that I am an easy person to get along with. Well, I hope they will agree and not call me delusional. I am polite, I hold the door for people, I always make eye contact and smile at people I know, and sometimes I think I know! I obey traffic rules, make a complete stop at stop signs, blink my lights at the other car to let it go first. You get the picture.

I just have trouble with two kinds of people, though. Sneaky drivers who try to steal my parking spot and power outlet hogs. I take my kids swimming at our local Y, and since people are very gung-ho about their new year’s resolution these days, they arrive in droves to the gym at our YMCA. Good for them, I say. Go people, I want you all to be healthy and happy. But don’t take up all the parking in the facility!  Carpool, for crying out loud. When poor, harried, often late mothers like me are rushing to get their children to swim practice, there is no parking to be had!!! So I become a stalker. I zero in on an unsuspecting soul and follow him/her around the parking lot. As soon as people come out of the gym, they flip out their smart phones while walking to their cars and start telling their facebook friends which machines they did that day and how many calories they burnt. Hey, I am not judging anybody, I probably would have done the same….. if I had a smart phone. What I am saying is, I actually have had people lift up their heads from this important task of maintaining virtual connection with friends via phones to give my minivan dirty looks. You have to admit, that’s something. Some sweet souls, however, sometimes signal me where they are parked and I bless them from the bottom of my heart. Since I always have that “Oh I am so late” expression on my face, I think other moms feel my pain. I have got that sad, frustrated look down pat! On one particular day, I got lucky. A woman, going to her car, signaled to me that she was leaving and I could have her spot. I, with a gleeful wave to her, followed immediately and put my blinkers on, waiting for her to pull out. Putting the blinkers on in these cases, is very important. It gives out the important message to other parking spot predators that you have made your kill, nobody should even think about invading your territory. As the nice woman pulled out, I saw another harried mom like me trying to sneak in to MY parking spot. Oh no, you don’t! I thought angrily! I had been circling the parking lot for at least six and a half  minutes, my kids were bickering in the car with each other and taking turns  to whine that they were late for practice, can I please hurry up and park!! Moreover, Ryan has this terrible habit of shrieking “There is one!” startling me and giving me false hope. I had already yelled at them twice. I was angry, frazzled and LATE!!! So before she could make her move I pressed  my accelerator to give it an extra oomph, charged in to claim what I considered mine. I had my blinkers on, for Pete’s sake! Once I got my spot, I immediately felt bad for her. She probably had some bickering, whiny kids in her car giving her a hard time for not finding a parking where there was none to be found! I thought I should find her and give her my advice to stalk innocent gym rats, but didn’t. She wasn’t probably too happy with me right then.

The other kind of people who bug me are power outlet hogs in airports, hospitals or other public places. There is definitely a dearth of  outlets in these places to begin with. If I find one, I almost shout ‘Eureka’ out loud. Some folks miraculously find them and go on to claim two of the elusive outlets, one for their phones and one for their laptops or tablets. While I go around from one end of the facility to another desperately looking for one so my precious kids can play Angry Birds or read e-books. In cases like these, I often feel like standing in front of one of these unthinking folks and tapping my feet in annoyance. But  I don’t. I remember the ‘Choose Civility’ car sticker I picked up from our local library and proudly displayed on my car! Instead, I run around some more!


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