I realize it’s only the first day of summer vacation (no, summer vacation does NOT start on the weekend, I don’t understand you people who think you can count those days…) Went to the gym with the kids, took them to the sprayground, did our grocery shopping, cooked dinner, played a fucking BOARD game with them, read lots and lots of books (thanks to an amazing gift of hand-me-down books from an amazing friend), gave them a bath (usually this is not my job because COMPUTER TIME), and had a healthy dessert that the kids thought was amazing (fruit and not-kool-whip, the stuff that’s healthy and has none of the crap in it).
I know that this doesn’t mean summer will be awesome, but it’s nice to start out on a really good note. Like going for a run on your birthday (or, if you’re me, the day after your birthday. Weeks start on a Monday and your year ENDS on your birthday. That’s just how it feels right. I don’t know why.)
Anyway, that’s all for now. I’m going to start writing here even when it’s stupid, or somewhere else, but honestly, I just need to check in. I need to be accountable, even if it’s only to myself, but here is where I can do that.
But, seriously, I’m going to kill this summer. It’s going to be awesome.
I belonged to a group a few years ago. We met for a common purpose, and we would occasionally go for dinner together. The last time we met, one of women went around and told each of us how much she loved us, one by one, what we provided in our friendship. She got to me and told me it was because of my ability to always have information. After she had just told the other women how wonderful they were, how much she appreciated their kindness, and their support, and how amazing they are. Me: I’m a dictionary.
It’s bugged me every single day since then. I am not kind, or sensitive or supportive. I just know things.
But I’ve been thinking and I know that the reason I’m addicted to that information is because that was what my dad respected. And I’m doing the same thing to the kids. I don’t know how to not do it. I need to stop worshipping knowledge. But… well that’s how our family is.
I don’t know, I’m just down about it because another friend just told me that I’m good for this sort of thing.
I’m working on getting healthier, and I am working so very very hard to make sure that I have things set up, but I keep thinking of this bathroom issue. Nothing to worry about, I’m not going to gross you out. But there’s this bathroom I know of. They decided to put in those silly Scott tissue boxes, that hold a toilet paper roll.
Now, don’t get me wrong. We use an old florist vase that stacks three toilet rolls. It’s great. People can see that there are three rolls available, I can easily check to make sure there are enough in case we run out when we have guests. Being able to see them is so helpful.
Well, this other bathroom holds THREE toilet roll boxes. Each one holds only one roll. They are stacked inside another toilet roll holder that holds three rolls or three boxes. Stacked.
So, I ran out of toilet paper. And took the cover off the first one. You see where I’m going here. No toilet paper in any of them. And it took so much time to learn. My host had no idea whether the boxes were filled. Because, honestly, who wants to check that? And if you’re going to take the first one you’re going to need to take out the other two and put the empty one on the bottom. Really, the only way this works is if you fill the box every time you empty it.
So, I stack my new habits and worry that I’m just stacking toilet roll boxes.
I nearly killed a bicyclist today. Not on purpose. And probably only would have made her wipe out.
I was walking, all the way to the right, on the pedestrian path near my home. For an hour I had been terrified: struck twice, once by a bike not warning while I was stepping SLIGHTLY around a puddle (not even going into the middle of the right lane) and once by a bike coming the other direction passing a whole mess of other bikes, coming around a tight turn, in a large dip, under a tunnel (honestly I feel that they should have known better not to pass, and there was a solid yellow line). Of the hundred or so bikes that passed us only about 25 people gave a warning. By the end of our “relaxing” walk I was screaming when bikes passed us. And then yelling at them to give warning. I was scared out of my gourd.
I had been holding the Girl’s feet against my body since the second person who didn’t warn us because she was kicking her feet. Personally I feel like her kicking her feet on my back should fall within the personal bubble one should be allotted when on a path, but bikes don’t seem to agree, and there really isn’t time to argue before they take off some of her toes.
So we’re approaching home, I am shaking and pumped on adrenaline. suddenly something is in my line of vision and touching my arm. I reach out and grab it. Because my fight or flight skews toward “fight.” At this point I don’t even know what it is. It’s just HUGE and going to get me and my daughter. Only it’s just two twenty-somethings on their bikes, taking up half the path, so they can chat. Bitches. They weren’t going so fast, which is why her handlebar touching my elbow didn’t hurt, but they still scared the shit out of me and I almost took her down.
Other than nearly pulling that girl down, I don’t think I was doing anything wrong on the path. You are allowed, according to posted rules, to walk two abreast, but not bike. I was not walking two abreast, but wearing my daughter in the Ergo, like a backpack. We certainly didn’t take up the space of two people. All I wanted was warning that you are passing me.
Because when you are passing me you are a lot closer in my mind than you are in yours, you are going a lot faster than me, you can’t see if there is a tiny obstacle I might be stepping around and you are so very very very much bigger than my tiny child. I usually look behind me if I’m going far into the path, but if it’s just a slight step for a larger rock, I’m not going to check. I don’t expect someone to be so close to me that I need to worry. Because I CAN’T hear your bike. Not if there is traffic or a river.
But more than that. Something was happening during this time: I got more and more angry at each bicyclist. Each one that didn’t warn before passing reinforced my idea that people riding bikes were hostile, rude, insensitive, and dangerous. Thinking about the ingroup/outgroup effect that You Are Not So Smart discussed, I tried to stop my brain from hating anyone on wheels. At the only light, I asked the bike rider waiting “why doesn’t anyone warn on this trail?” (Notice my global thinking? This is one of the ways I can tell I need to catch myself. It’s a clear indication that I am not being honest with myself or my emotions.)
“There are just so many people, it doesn’t seem worthwhile. But I’ve never seen anyone hit on a trail,” he very nicely replied. I could tell by talking with him that this wasn’t someone who disregarded pedestrian lives! He was smiling at my girl and chatting very nicely with me.
“I have,” I said, “my son was hit last year.” He was surprised and asked about it. (It wasn’t on this path, but it was a clear, high visibility bike path, actually, more of a sidewalk than a bike path, with a bike path along the street.) We chatted a little about the weather and how nice it was to live in such a great place that emphasized outdoor space and trails. The light took forever, but it was nice because I was feeling a little better.
Only that short reprieve didn’t seem to cure me completely. Within minutes another bike made me scream. I was still so wound up and terrified someone was really going to hurt my kid.
And everyone who didn’t give me any warning added to the bias I had developed about two-wheeled people. And each individual became part of the group in my head. And each one already knew the awfulness I was going through. Because I stopped being able to see that these were each new people. This person in the purple bike outfit was the same as the person who passed me in the black t-shirt and cargo shorts three minutes ago. At the very least, in my head, they both contained the same knowledge that this was pissing me off and scaring the SHIT out of me.
I was SO jumpy I stepped off the trail to take a breath.
Honestly, I was as afraid of how much I was shaking as much as I was afraid of someone hitting Phalene or me. I had been on edge for awhile, and I know that when I’m stressed for a long time I start getting crazy. And that’s when the girls made me jump and grab at them. I don’t know if meditation will help in these cases. I’ve been told that it will help in the times when I come really close to punching people out or scream when a loose pit bull is NOT threatening my kids and just sniffing my butt. Maybe this is reason to start. If it continues to happen it may be reason to restart therapy.
But, okay, YOU should know that other ACOA and I are out there, ready to take you down if they find you threatening them, especially if they feel you are part of a group that has been threatening them for awhile. Following basic safety considerations can prevent you from scaring someone who may already be ready to snap. My arm is doing better–the large welts calming down–but my heart’s still racing, an hour after I came in, and my hands are feeling weak in that way that comes only after I’ve been frightened and shaky. Or angry. Very very angry. So angry that I cry. …
This isn’t a threat, but you really should know that there are some of us who try our best to hold it together day after day. If you are being rude and we are under stress (which I for one try to keep myself out of) we are going to react a lot differently than normal people. I don’t look like I’m crazy, especially with my other kids around. I certainly don’t look like I’m going to try to take down your bike.
And I’m not. I’m so terrified you’re thinking I think I was right. I would NEVER grab a bike if I knew what it was. All I could see, though, was something WAY too close to my daughter and me at my periphery. Once I realized what I was doing I let go. I yelled “I’m sorry, but can’t you warn? especially when you’re riding unlawfully?” Not helpful. Why? Because she was also scared out of her mind. All she could do was yell back at me that I was a bitch. Because that’s what you do when you’re scared. She’s never going to realize she was wrong. She’s just going to talk about how some walker bitch tried to pull her off her bike. And it is the same fear-induced rage on both sides.