As I approached our school yesterday afternoon, blissfully unaware that a white SUV was closing in behind me, I saw to my delight that the coveted row of parking spaces right next to the exit door were mostly vacant. That never happens, especially not the first space,which is by far the best space in the whole school. The parking at our urban school is impossible, and getting the spot right next to the entrance is pretty much unheard of on a busy afternoon. I pulled in, noting a three or four foot space between my car and the only other car in front of me, leaving plenty of spaces in front of that car for other parents to park. I reached for the gear shift when I heard an extremely chipper, if not a little prolonged, beeeeeeep from behind me. A white SUV was coming up quickly in my rear view mirror, pulling into the red zone behind me and asking me, via horn, to move up. Well, the spot I had intended to occupy was big enough for one car-mine- though maybe a mini cooper could have fit between me and the car in front of me if they had mad parallel parking skills. I moved up until I was uncomfortably close to the car in front of me. She honked again. The car in front of me started moving up, and she honked AGAIN. I responded, with all windows and doors shut, of course, "STOP FUCKING HONKING AT ME!". She couldn't have heard it but probably saw my face in my side mirror. I really don't care, though, because she was being a pushy, lazy asshole. There were four perfectly acceptable spots less than ten feet up the block, and yet, for some inexplicable reason, she insisted on taking mine, the perfect spot, the spot that everyone wants. The icing on this crappy cake was that as I exited, and intentionally avoided looking at her, she said a friendly "hey, thanks so much..." out the window, like it had been a mutual decision, like I'd said, "oh, let me move up so you don't have to walk the extra twelve feet". I guarantee that if I had shaken her off and refused to move up, which I considered, I would have come across as the pushy, lazy asshole. I ended up in the second spot which is right next to a tree whose roots have upended the sidewalk.There is an orange cone that has been there for months to indicate that something needs to be fixed, but the work is never done. Every time I park there, my rear door smashes into the concrete when I open it. The door can't open all the way either because of the tree roots, so the kids have to awkwardly squeeze in sideways, which always puts them in such a pleasant mood after a long day at school.
I waited in the pick up area,fuming, and spotted the honking woman- a faux blonde, heavy set, stuffed into leggings and a long sweater, loud, overly animated super-duper friendly type who was having a conversation about her child that the entire pick up area had to hear because it was just so interesting. I glared at plus size Miss Congeniality from across the garage, a palpable fizzle mark hanging above my head. My kids came out, and we gathered up their stuff and walked to the car. I was kind of hoping she'd be there so I could honk her back somehow. I loaded up the kids, now predictably cranky because of the annoying squeeze to get in the car. I glared at her car as I buckled in Little, wondering how she got off thinking she was more important than I was. I pulled out and drove up the street with Big complaining of a belly ache and Little demanding to hear "American Girl" at full blast.
Several blocks and three or four turns later I realized that, in my haze of irritation at my aggressor, I'd left my phone on the roof of my car. I have a habit of doing this. When I put my keys and phone up there to buckle in a kid, the roof rack obscures the phone about fifty percent of the time, but it is also the reason that the phone usually stays up there until I discover it is missing. I have driven for miles with various phones on my roof and have had one fall off once in the last five years. I drove back that time, and it was lying in the parking space, intact and waiting. I pulled over, assuming my new horn happy nemesis had probably run over it by now, and got out to find it perched on the edge of the roof. Feeling lucky, I reached for it and was about to get in the car when the door somehow slammed on my little finger, hard. I stared at my finger stuck in the door, marveling at how easy it is to get hurt doing simply daily rituals like getting in and out of the car. I opened the door and got back in the car. My pinkie now had a dark purple dent across the middle digit and hurt like hell. Fuck that honking woman, I thought. I was practically zen-like when I'd arrived at school, and now I was injured and addled and totally mad. And it was all her fault.
The problem is that she is a selfish honking cow, and thanks to her actions, I was transformed from a slightly cranky, relatively happy housewife into a plump, suburban Tom Joad (minus the tragedy, starvation or migrant worker status) fondling my grapes of wrath like a pair of Chinese therapy balls: "When she comes late to the movie theater, sees the one empty seat in the middle of the row and makes everyone move down so she and her husband can sit together, I will be there! When she cuts in line with her kids at the bouncy house that has a twenty minute wait, as if no one else has been standing there forever with their kids in the hot sun, I will be there! I will be there in line at the super market when she decides to make us all wait because the Diet Coke she was buying isn't the sale price that she thought and the checker has to send someone back to do a price check so she can save eighty cents! I will be there when she turns left when she isn't supposed to because she is too fucking lazy to drive down another block where there is a turn lane! I will be there in the way the waiter spits in her soup because she treated him like her personal slave..wherever there walks a pushy, lazy asshole...I will be there..".
Anger does funny things to people, ask Aileen Wurnos (who I resemble only slightly-minus the incest,rape,drugs,prostitution,murder and execution). Know this, honking woman, you are in my figurative crosshairs-er, I mean-um, on my shit list, and I will be watching you and reading some poetry.
In closing, I give you William Blake:
The Poison Tree
I was angry with my friend:
I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
I was angry with my foe:
I told it not, my wrath did grow.
And I watered it in fears
Night and morning with my tears,
And I sunned it with smiles
And with soft deceitful wiles.
And it grew both day and night,
Till it bore an apple bright,
And my foe beheld it shine,
And he knew that it was mine -
And into my garden stole
When the night had veiled the pole;
In the morning, glad, I see
My foe outstretched beneath the tree.