A Better Person

My soul aches.

I know that’s melodramatic, but honestly, I can’t think of any other way to describe it.  My soul aches because I’m tired.  I used to listen to older people say that when I was a child.  They’d have this look of desperation or resignation on their faces, and they’d declare their pain.  My soul aches because I’m tired.  I didn’t quite understand what they meant back then, but today is a different story.  My soul aches because I’m tired.  Of so many things, in fact.  I’ve just about had it, and while I’m not going to boil over and do something unpleasant, I am just about ready to wash my hands of life and its pettiness, and retreat into some quiet, protective area where I can be alone and left to my own devices.

Each morning I pray for the day.  And while I won’t repeat my prayer here, part of it asks for the ability to be a better person – a light in a world increasingly gripped by darkness.  I want to be a good person, and if I help someone out along the way, then I’m happy.

I went to the store this morning, chiefly to look for a book, something that I could do without, given the number of unread tomes stacked up on the floor.  This was to be what I call a simple “insertion/extraction:” I’m going inside to check on this one item.  If it’s there, great – I’ll get it and go.  If not, I’m leaving – I’ve got no time to waste on any dilly-dallying.  A simple insertion/extraction.

Except that today, it’s not going to be that simple.  I find a parking space close to the door of the store, which is great.  Before I could move into the spot, however, another driver turned into it and pulled up to the curb.  Easy come, easy go; there are other spaces.  In fact, there’s a space right over there, which is only a few feet further from the door.  No one’s coming down the lane; that’ baby’s mine.

As I’m mid-turn as I enter the lane, I see that the guy who took the first spot isn’t satisfied with how he parked, so he puts his vehicle into reverse.  He can’t back up because I’m there, but he’s done it at an angle, so I can’t complete my turn (and go off on my merry way) until he moves.  When he began to back up, I honked to let him know that I was there.  He took it as an act of confrontation and actually accelerated his vehicle.  He didn’t hit me, but now it was impossible for me to move unless I either backed up or he pulled forward.

This was a no brainer to me.  State driving laws indicate that if a vehicle is less than fifty percent of the way out of a parking space, then the car in the lane (me) has the right of way.  Legally, this guy is required to pull back into his space, but that’s not going to happen.  No, sir – he’s got to make a point.  So he puts his car into park – he’s not moving, period.

What the serious f***??

I’m obstinate, but I’m also at a point in my life where I’m tired of younger people (this guy had to be mid-20s, tops) who decide that they’re the center of the universe.  I deal with people like this daily, and honestly, I’m just sick of it.  Granted, there are older people who feel that age gives them the same privilege, and yes – I’m sick of that, too.  There are plenty of hills upon which to make a last stand, but this wasn’t one of them.  He had the spot – more power to him.  All I wanted to do was to pass, and he was going to make me wait until he was willing to let me do so.  All this clown had to do was to move his car one foot to allow me to pass, but now it’s become a pissing contest that he’s just determined to win.

So I sit.  It was not my finest hour, certainly not after praying just this morning for the ability to be a better person.  Actually, I don’t know what I could hoped to have accomplished; the other guy turned on his radio and started playing with his phone.  He wanted me to know that he would wait until the end of time, if necessary.  Worst case scenario, I thought he’d jump out of the car and try to take the confrontation to a whole new level, and I certainly don’t need that right now.

After about five minutes – five whole minutes! – I called it a day.  Screw it; I’ve got things to do and this isn’t one of them.  I gave him the Gift of the Finger before I backed up and then followed through with my turn.  Obviously, I couldn’t part where I’d intended, as I had no clue as to whether this character would damage or vandalize my car once I’d gone into the store.  I didn’t get a clear look at him, but I believe that I did see him inside a neighboring store once I’d found a different (and further) parking space.  Part of me was tempted to do to him what I feared he’d do to me – to somehow vandalize his car as payment for the standoff – but then I reasoned that with my luck, I’d be caught on CCTV, or worse, he’d be exiting his store as I was doing it.  Either way, I’m not a vandal, no matter how much I may have wanted to play one.

Frankly, I’m too pretty to go to jail.

So in the end, I followed through with my “insertion/extraction” plans, albeit, a bit later than I’d planned.  Even though the whole exchange happened hours ago, I’m still angry, and there’s a small part that’s gnawing away at me, livid that I did not “respond” to the offense – as if the universe will remain off-balance until this wrong has somehow been addressed.  But there’s another part of me that’s just frustrated that I wasn’t the better person – that I let some stranger put me into that position, that I willingly participated in that situation, and worse, the whole Gift of the Finger bit (which is something I rarely do).  When added to several other things that have been happening (future stories, maybe), I feel that whatever resilience and fortitude my soul possessed is weakening after this morning’s bit.  It’s not just a parking lot kerfuffle; it’s me losing faith in humanity as a whole.

I think the whole weight hit me when I went to buy a Red Velvet Cheesecake for the Little Woman.  Far too many calories, and way too sweet – still, she deserves it and I’m happy to buy one for her, which I’ve done on a number of Valentine Days.

Except for tomorrow, as the local Sam’s Club store, where I usually purchased them, was shuttered.  No warning, no explanations, no re-directions.  Just an empty parking lot.

That ache is really starting to hurt.

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