Most of us go out of our way to present our best face to the world. It’s largely self-preservation, I think. I know if I went around saying what I really feel at any given time, I would certainly be ostracized by all polite society.
Case in point:
Our neighbors (who have a long history of being rather self-centered, not terribly responsible, and a little immature) are doing a home improvement project and currently have a dumpster in their driveway. Rather than playing “musical parking spaces” with their two vehicles due to lack of driveway space, they’ve been parking one vehicle in the street. Not in front of their own house, mind you. That would make it difficult for them to get in and out. No, they’ve been parking across the street, in front of other people’s houses.
Our family learned long ago NEVER to park any vehicle we care about on our street. We’ve lost a rear-view mirror due to a careless driver that way, as have two other cars belonging to people visiting us.
This morning I witnessed a minivan driving too fast down our street, and I saw it coming…it clipped off the rear view mirror off of our neighbor’s car.
Somewhere in the depths of my psyche I’m sure I felt sympathy for the angst and inconvenience our neighbors will suffer due to the damage. But my first reaction? Pure, evil joy. “Natural consequences,” I thought.
I spent a few moments berating myself . When did I become so anti-social? And then I remembered an event from the distant past:
Back story: I was the assistant leader for our oldest’s girl scout troop. I didn’t often agree with the leader of the troop on anything, but I had to admit she was energetic and responsible. And the fact that she took the lead meant I didn’t have to. I could live with that. But I cringed at her decisions, at her child-rearing philosophy, at pretty much every word out of her mouth.
So at one outing, she had the girls making pine cone bird feeders. There was plenty of bird seed leftover, and the girls were allowed to grab handfuls of seed and sprinkle it on the ground. So far so good.
Then it came time for snack. I suggested the girls should wash up before eating, but I was overruled by Annoying Leader. “Don’t be such a worry-wart,” she said.
Little hands that had been reaching into the birdseed bag then started reaching into the trail mix bag. Little hands went to little mouths.
And then the shrieking and tears and girl-drama began. “It burns! It’s hot!” The girls sounded like a bunch of Gollum wannabes.
Turned out the bird seed had been infused with cayenne pepper, supposedly as an anti-squirrel measure.
I played the sympathetic, soothing mom and helped the girls rinse off their hands and lips. Didn’t say a word to Annoying Leader. But, oh boy, was I rejoicing inwardly. It took all my self-control not to fall on the ground, laughing. I especially enjoyed the reactions of the most obnoxious, dramatic girls who behaved as if they were dying a protracted, painful death. No one was actually injured, and the whole thing felt like a sit-com episode.
So though I may appear to be a kind and sensitive, motherly type, in reality I’m Snidely Whiplash, Skeletor, and The Joker rolled into one.
But the world will never know…
photo credit: Annoying Noises via