Friday, February 24, 2012

Double-Parking Diarrhea

I had a friend who had self-described "diarrhea of the mouth" any time she got stuck complaining about something that bothered her.  This term needed no explanation to me.  I too have had this condition...when the ugliness just spews forth, verbally running out of me like an illness.  Currently, I have double-parking diarrhea.

I don't know why it bothers me so  much.  It's probably because I've been dealing with double-parkers around my children's schools for eleven years, and I'm simply SICK of waiting for people who stop in the middle of street to drop their kids off.  Part of it is a safety issue.  I've almost hit several kids over the years when I didn't realize they were being let out right in front of my car.  But I know mostly it's because I consider it a blatant disregard for others, their time, and the school rules.  (I can't tell you the number of memos, newsletters and flyers we parents have received from the school administration about this issue.)  My kids could probably recite my exact words whenever it happens.  They are so sick of it, they don't even comment anymore.  Even I'm sick of listening to myself!

This morning I dropped Braden off and within the course of 1/2 block, it happened three times.  I was off on a rampage when Braden exited the car...I barely remembered to say "goodbye...have a nice day!"  (I'm telling you, it's a sickness!)  I didn't have anywhere important to be or a schedule to keep, but still it was churning in me, anger and self-righteousness bubbling up.  I thought to myself, "I have to stop this...God, please help me stop."  Suddenly an old-story I've heard several times popped into my head.  You've probably heard it...

A man boarded the subway with his two children who began running amok, stepping on people's toes and shouting loudly.  A woman sitting next to the man looked on with disgust as he just stared into space, clearly oblivious to the bad behavior of his children.  Losing her patience, she finally said, "Sir, could you please do something about your children?  They're disturbing everyone on the train."  Snapping out of his reverie, he said, "Oh, of course, I'm sorry.  We're on our way home from the hospital.  Their mother just died, and I'm trying to figure out what I'm going to do now."

Ugh, just drive a knife straight through me so I don't have to feel the horror and shame felt by this woman.  Following my prayer for help, I realized that I don't know every story of every person who is hurriedly dropping their child off without parking.  Maybe they were up all night with a sick little one and overslept....or maybe their family is falling apart and they are barely keeping it together (double parking being a last worry)...or maybe they were spending a few extra minutes with their child, enjoying them and losing track of time.  Whatever the reason, my place isn't to huff and puff... it isn't to judge...it isn't to curse and moan and complain.  It is to be patient....to be kind...to be understanding and empathetic.  It is to cure the sickness in my own soul (and mouth!) to become the type of person who gives others the benefit of the doubt.

Next I need to pour out some Imodium AD for the "why are people always running right into me while shopping?" disease!

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