Vintage-Ski-Styles

When I was growing up in northern New Jersey our town’s Rec Center used to hold ski trips. The kids would meet in front of the Rec Center, board a bus and head up to Vernon Valley for an afternoon of skiing. There were times where my mom and I, while running errands in town, would pass the Rec Center and I’d watch all the kids lined up with their bags and their skis waiting for the chartered bus to pick them up.

And I was so envious of them.

I grew up in a pretty wealthy town. We were not wealthy. We weren’t on skid row or anything, but there was no extra money to be spent on nonsense like lift tickets and ski rentals. So, Rec Center ski trips were out of the question for me. I acted like I didn’t care – like those kids were all assholes.

Some of them were. But a lot of them weren’t. They were kids I ate lunch with, or might walk part of the way home with. But they could afford to go on the Rec Center ski trips, and I couldn’t. So like any brooding teenager is apt to do, you viewed them with a cool loathing rather than blatant envy.

I did eventually ski though. While I might not have been able to go on the Rec Center trips, my Junior year in high school I became friends with this guy Paul whose parents had a house by Hunter Mountain. Ah Hunter… One of Upstate New York’s finest ski lodges.

For the next 6 years or so, Paul would call me on a random Thursday night and say, “We’re heading up to Hunter tomorrow…wanna come?” It wasn’t always winter either. Sometimes we went up in the summer and attended a festival at Hunter Mountain. Sometimes we just went up for some R & R. But if it was winter? We went skiing.

I was never a great skier, but I learned how to hold my own on the intermediate slopes. I only rode an actual ski lift a few times and dreaded/planned my departure from the chair the entire way up. My trip down would take my about 25 minutes as I would slowly shoosh my way down making a very wide, very horizontal path.

Susie Chapstick I was not.

I remember one weekend a whole bunch of us went up to Paul’s house. It had snowed gangbusters the night before so conditions were going to be phenomenal. The day turned out being a real keeper – temps hit the mid 50s; folks were skiing without coats. We went back to the house, put beach chairs in the snow and drank a case of beer.

It was AWESOME. I left Hunter in February with a sunburn.

My best ski trip ever though, was when I was in Austria. When I took my semester abroad, our school sent us on a ski trip to Semmering. Having not skied in a while, I decided to use the free ski instruction the lodge provided. Our teacher’s name was Norbert, which I found humorous…were his parents undecided between Norman and Burton?

Nobert? He turned out to be a real perv. While doing snowplow turns down the bunny slope, he would shoosh up behind me, wedge his skis between mine and push his pelvis against my ass in very firm, very suggestive manner. It wasn’t just me… he did it to all the girls. He got very drunk at the lodge party later that night and tried very hard to grind us a wee bit more on the dance floor.

But during that day, as I made my way down the slopes an hour south of Vienna, I thought about those kids that used to go on the Rec Center’s ski trips. I could never go, but here I was in Austria. AUSTRIA. On skis. Me.

Beats the hell out of Vernon Valley.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Opening Lines.”

What’s the first line of the last song you listened to (on the radio, on your music player, or anywhere else)? Use it as the first sentence of your post.

Trip, Stumble & Fall

That’s the first line of the last song I listended to. I hadn’t heard that particular Mamas & Papas song in quiet a while, so I Spotified it, and was glad I did. So glad that I purchased it on iTunes this morning. But this blog post is not about the musical stylings of The Mamas and The Papas. It’s about falling your ass down.

Now let’s talk about falling…I’ve done it a few times in my adult life and I wouldn’t file it under the “good times” category. In fact, it sucks. It’s embarassing and painful, and something totally foreign to the average adult body. Kids fall – kids who run amok and risk life and limb climbing and jumping…they fall. Not me. Well, not often anyway.

Below is a post that appeared in an earlier blog that is now defunct. However, it’s one of my sisters’ favorite stories from that blog, so I will share it again with my Typical Tracy followers.


FALL FROM GRACE 
Originally published 9.14.10

Yesterday I left my office during lunch to go for a walk. I began on a route I had never taken before, and as I looked around at office buildings and unfamiliar scenery, I spotted a Coke bottle cap on the ground.

I am always on the lookout for coke bottle caps. Each cap contains a code that is worth points on their website. Our family collects these points and trades them in for stuff. Over the past few years we’ve obtained a toaster, a set of pans, a t-shirt and a free ticket to Kings Dominion. So I bent over to picked the cap up.

It was at this point that my day radically changed.

I’m not quite sure what happened to be honest with you. My feet hit some imaginary rope strung across my path. I tripped. I stumbled. And then I fell.

I remember trying to recover from the stumble. I remember attempting to right my body as I careened wildly towards the ground. My attempts were fruitless and I landed with a hard thud in the street. Not on the sidewalk, mind you, but in the street. You know, where the cars are?

I did not put my hands out. I had my cell phone in one hand, and the blasted Coke cap in the other. So I landed hard on my left forearm, while my right hand, conveniently shaped like a fist as I strived to hold onto that cap, punched me square in the mouth.

Dazed, wincing, and mortified, I popped back up on my feet and continued walking like nothing had ever happened. After a few seconds I sneaked a peek behind me and was relieved to see that nobody was around. Had I really been spared the added humiliation of witnesses?

I glanced at my elbow and forearm to assess the damage. Dirt and gravel was intermixed with bits of loose skin and blood. It hurt so bad I was surprised you could not physically see stars and lighting bolts radiating from it. I ran my tongue over my lower front teeth. Yep, they were still there, but man, did my lip hurt.

As I continued my walk, I replayed the mishap in my head. I fell in the fucking street. Hard. I am grateful there were no cars coming. Or a bus. I am glad all I did was skin my elbow and punch myself in the face. I could have broken a bone or knocked out a tooth.

Who falls down like that? What am I four years old?  I wasn’t skiing or mountain biking. I was close to standing still. Who does that?

Apparently I do. And let me tell you, falling down is no fun when you are, well, chunky. The thud was not a pleasant one. I’m wondering if the U.S. Geological Survey saw a blip on the Richter scale in Virginia yesterday. I cringe just thinking about it.

Today I am very sore. Not just my skinned elbow and forearm, but a variety of muscles are angry with me today. I am keeping my arm wrapped intermittently in an ace bandage. Funny how few of my unfriendly co-workers have asked about it. But that’s a blog for another day.

Be safe everyone, and watch your step for goodness sake.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Me Time.”

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I spend not just Saturday mornings, but every morning with a little “me time.”

My weekday wake up hour is 4:45. I get up, make some tea and spend an hour catching up with the world. I check Facebook, and see if anyone read my blog. Then I get a little work done until it’s time to wake the family and get ready for school and work.

I swear, if I don’t get this hour and change I’m useless. There are times I’ve forgotten to set the alarm, and I wake up with just enough time to get everyone fed, dressed and out the door, myself included. I am useless on those days. There’s something about that hour with my cup of tea and some mindless web-surfing that puts my moon in the seventh house.

Weekends are even better. I usually get up around 6 am, hours before anyone else in my family begins to stir. Sometimes I get up even earlier, but only because my kitty needs something…and when he needs something he will not let me sleep. He had me up at 5:30 this morning.

But  it’s fine because I get a lot of work done in the morning too. That’s also “me” time. I work best early in the day, so I get the majority of my freelance design work done before 9 am. Then the rest of the day is mine.

Another source of “me time” is my daily walk, which surprise, surprise, I also like to do in the morning. I walk at least once a day for two miles or so…I put in my earbuds and listen to a podcast or a book or just some music – I block out the world and give my body a little “me time.”

You have to carve out these precious hours for yourself, especially if you’re a mom – because God knows you’re not likely to get it when the rest of the world is up and at ‘em.

45 art

I was introduced to a ton of music when I was a young child compliments of my Aunt Carol’s collection of 45 records. They were stored in boxes just like the ones shown above, and when we were in the mood to jam to some tunes, my sisters and I would pull the boxes out from the cabinet in the “stereo console,” find as many insert adapters as we could, and stack ‘em up on the turntable.

david-bowie-space-oddity-picture-sleeve-45-original-1973-rca_8096841Her collection was impressive. She had a ton of Beatles singles, not only on the Capitol label but also on the Apple label. There was lots of Elvis, which my sister loved. Me, not so much. She had a lot of odd tunes; weird little ditties that had to have been one hit wonders. She also had a fair share of surfer music, which I still find odd. And as long as we’re talking odd, she had the 45 to David Bowie’s Space Oddity. That’s a record I can’t see her buying at all – that was a little far out for my Aunt Carol.

Part of the beauty of these records were the labels. Decca, Bell, Atlantic, RCA – many times it was the easiest way to find your favorite songs in the boxes and boxes of records. Those labes were so recognizable – if I wanted to find “Knock Three Times” by Tony Orland & Dawn, all I had to do was look for the silver Bell label. I might find the Partridge Family instead, but that was fine too.

mOg1os7DgpqHlW686dyIRhQMy favorite of all the 45s was one by Gary Lewis and the Playboys. It had not one but TWO songs on the same side – “This Diamond Ring” and “Little Miss Go Go.” Everyone knows This Diamond Ring, but the best was when you got to the little known song two. Little Miss Go Go is just a kick ass song.

In keeping with the surfer-style music, my sisters and I used to love “Surfer Joe” by the Surfaris because it was a story song – you know those…like “Billy Don’t Be a Hero” or “The Night Chicago Died.” You can’t beat a good story song.

Another favorite of ours was Dizzy by Tommy Roe. My sisters and I would spin round and round while the song played so we could be dizzy right along with Tommy.

We always had to play Tracy by the Cufflinks. While I’m glad I have a song named after me, I wish it wasn’t so über dorky. And speaking of dorky…that lead singer? Yikes.

When it came to name songs my sister Judy had “Hey Jude,” but my sister Wendy had nothing. So, she adopted another 45 favorite of ours, “Windy” by The Association, as her own. Then Springsteen came along and put her name in the best song every written. Sigh. And I’m stuck with the Cufflinks.

Typical.

There were some real oddball songs too. One was “Surfin’ Bird” by the Trashmen. I don’t know who had the idea to put that record on for the first time, but I do believe after hearing it, it was the first time my tiny little brain registered a thought along the lines of what the fuck.

That wasn’t the only song straight out of the WTF Files. An insanely bizarre 45 is “They’re Coming To Take Me Away (Ha-Haaa)” by Napoleon XIV. It’s hard to describe, but as a small child I always found it creepy as hell. His voice changes pitches and there’s a siren in the background and this stomping/clapping back beat throughout the whole song and his voice echos and it was just really, really sccaaary!

And I can still remember all the words. What was even more wacked out was the B-side; it’s the same song played backwards.

My sister Wendy thankfully still has all these wonderful 45s because she realizes the value of them…not just on the commercial market (although it would be fun to take them on Antiques Roadshow), but because they were a real part of our childhood.

One day I’ll have to blog about MY 45 collection…and how I don’t have it anymore. See, my husband isn’t quite so sentimental about old 45s.

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People are annoying me.

In most cases, I know it’s not them, it’s me. My moon isn’t in the 7th house or something, and little things make me want to bitch-slap random strangers.

Take yesterday. I had to make a quick run to the store, and everytime I needed to get something off the shelf or in a cold case, someone was in my way – in my way and not moving. Like the dude with the handtruck full of granola bars blocking all the other granola bars.

Or the old lady that was standing right in front of the Lean Cuisines carefully reading the back of the package. As I stood staring into the case trying to see what they had she did ask if she was in the way, but I told her she was good, because I didn’t really know what I wanted. In those cases, when I am the dope in the way, I move anyway because I know eventually I will be in the way.

She didn’t move. I had to open the next door down and snake my hand way in from the side to get the item I wanted.

But today I got annoyed at someone and it was 100% not my fault. I got assigned to design a gift certificate placard for an upcoming charity event. I work it up quite nicely, and sent a proof to the person for whom it was intended. They email back and ask if it’s 8.5 x 11. I email back, it sure is. They email again saying it looks great. I reply that I have some nice cream card stock I can print it on. They say wonderful.

I go downstairs to the printer, put in the special paper, come back up to my desk to print it, go back down to retrieve the print and bring it to their office. She looks at it and says to me, “Oh, this is horizontal. All the other placards are vertical.”

I inwardly roll my eyes because the proof I sent was clearly horizontal, and reply “That’s an easy fix. I can make it vertical if you’d prefer.”

Then she says, “Can we get any photos to jazz this up?”

I say, “I tried several times to contact them. Nobody ever returns my calls or answers my emails, and the photos online are too small to use.”

To which she replies, “Well this won’t do at all. It needs to be fancier…more attractive looking. You can take this back.”

As I take the finished, now rejected product out of her hands I’m inwardly thinking, “Am I high, or didn’t you just see a proof and approve this thing? If it was not what you wanted why did you approve it? Now I wasted paper and ink and time running up and down the stairs WHEN YOU JUST COULD HAVE TOLD ME RIGHT OFF THE BAT THAT IT WASN’T WHAT YOU WERE LOOKING FOR!!!!!”

Like I said, people are annoying me.

I’m going to make her wait a day or two before I get her another proof. Maybe until Monday. I think I’m suddenly swamped with more important jobs.

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Yesterday we woke up to 6 inches of snow here in Central Virginny. It was a long time coming…it had been a miserable winter with little to no snowfall.

Unlike a lot of people, I like snow. I don’t want Boston snow, but I like it. I get excited when a snow storm is predicted, and can become rather perturbed when the weather folks get the forecast wrong and I wake up to my normal landscape. Because a little snow can turn the world into a different place…a place a little prettier and a little more magical than it was just a few hours before.

So like I said, having woken up to 6 inches of good powdery snow, our family geared up to do what we always do on a snow day. We went sledding.

Our community has a golf course with a pretty decent hill, and it’s our favorite place to sled. When we showed up yesterday there was already a crowd, and the conditions looked fantastic. It was sunny and cold, but not so cold that you were uncomfortable. It was really a perfect day.

We have two sleds, both the plastic variety; a long blue two-seater and a regular-sized orange sled. Nobody ever likes the orange one because any time anyone in my family would ride it, they’d turn sideways halfway down the hill. Therefore, it was deemed defective.

Well, I have to tell you, that sled is not defective – but my family’s ability to sled apparently is. Cause let me tell you, I was flying on that thing.

That’s right, me. Fifty year old Typical Tracy plopped her ass down on that sled, not once. Not twice. I’m pretty sure I made at least 12-15 runs down that golf course hill. And you know what was weird? I was one of the only parents doing it.

Most of the parents just stood around at the top of the hill, gossiping and “supervising.” Between sips of K-Cup Coffee in insulated travel mugs they might scold little Carson for taking Hudson’s sled, or wipe the nose of little Marlowe, but other than that, they were having zero fun.

I used to just hang around at the top of the hill too, but for a different reason. I was too self-conscious to give it a try. I mean, it’s not easy to lower yourself into a sled gracefully…at least for me. Then there was the walk up that hill. But I’ve been walking a lot lately, and while I’d not venture to say I’m “in shape,” I’m hardly the physical basket case I was a year or so ago.

So, down I went. Over and over again.

It was so exhilarating to fly down that snow-packed hill. Occasionally I’d hit the little ramp of snow and catch some air. Other times I went so fast and so far, my sled would wind up in virgin snow beyond where any other sledder had landed. I rode double with my daughter, and once I even rode down with our camera running on video mode – which btw didn’t turn out that great.

And I never once did I cause that orange sled to turn. Because this 50 year old Slovak knows how to work it. Let those other moms drink their coffee at the top of the hill. Not be, baby. I’d rather be flying.

Skater

I used to be addicted to figure skating. It was my absolute favorite sport, and each year from fall to spring I would scan the TV Guide for any televised competition. I’d watch them breathlessly (except for Ice Dancing…zzzzzzzz) and size up each competitor, and pick my favorites each year.

But these days I know very little about who laces their skates or who sits in the kiss and cry. Do you know I barely watched skating in the Olympics last year? I have to tell you skating got dull for me once they changed the scoring system back in 2004.

Isn’t that dopey? I mean, why should that make a difference?

Well dammit, because old scoring system was fun! Judges from different countries would post their score, 6.0 being the highest. With this system, a viewer felt more involved. You could cheer the 5.9’s and the 6.0’s and jeer at the crusty judge who gave your favorite a 5.2. With the new system they just post a total – and it’s a number that I just can’t comprehend…Ok, his score is 65.35….well is that good or bad? WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

I lost interest real fast.

I tried to soldier on, but once the skaters were in the kiss and cry, there was nothing to look forward to. Waiting for those scores, which would flash up one at a time, sometimes, was part of the drama that was figure skating – as much of a nail biter as watching and wondering if they will land that triple axel.

I realized how much the scoring had played a part in my enjoyment of the sport. And suddenly a lifetime of love for figure skating just melted away.

Skating 1I’d been watching since I was a kid. I had a Dorothy Hamill cut when I was in the 6th grade. I remember watching Scott Hamilton in the days where he had hair…and a rather lousy cut, I might add. I remember watching Denise Biellmann and that wonderful spin, and Elaine Zayak, who was from Paramus, NJ – only a few towns away from my hometown.

skating 2I hated Katarina Witt when she came on the scene. She was too buxom and she was from West Germany…she was like an evil prison guard in my mind. I rooted for Debi Thomas in the Battle of the Carmens (where I lost) and rooted for Brian Boytano in the Battle of the Brians (where I won) during the ’88 Olympics. I mean, who wanted Brian Orser?

4f58f61de276b.preview-620But it wasn’t solely American skaters who piqued my fancy. In the late 80’s/early 90’s I fell in love with the Russian Pairs team of Gordeeva and Grinkov. They were so good, so elegant, and that little Ekaterina was just so cute! They could land jumps that other pairs teams couldn’t – and they made it look easy.

They wound up getting married, those two. But then, in 1995 Sergei died suddenly of a heart attack right on the ice while they were practicing in Lake Placid. I was heart broken – how in the world could someone so young and so fit just die like that? I went to see Ekaterina skate in a Champions on Ice show at Madison Square Garden the next winter, and I balled my eyes out.

CryingNow, we can’t have a serious skating discussion without bringing up the whole Tanya Harding/Nancy Kerrigan saga. Personally, I hated both of them. Tonya Harding looked like a thug, and Nancy Kerrigan, with her giant Mr. Ed horse teeth, irked me as well. I didn’t like anyone that year – not even Oksana the orphan – but I’ll tell you, the Olympics that year was riveting television!

MenIn the early 2000’s I fell in love with Men’s skating….well, Johnny Weir to be exact. Oh, he was so wonderful to watch, and so cute with his hair and his smile! How about when Rudy Galindo won the Nationals in 1996 – that performance was goose-bump raising. And then Evan Lycacek came on the scene – he was super easy on the eyes and a super skater to boot. What had I been missing all these years?

But my greatest skating triumph came when Champions on Ice started off their 2007 (and for a while, last) tour in Richmond. Hubby was the zamboni driver/ice tech at the time, and I got to hang out backstage more than once during the week they were rehearsing.

Johnny Weir called me one night to tell me my husband  had grease on his pants.

I held Evan Lycacek’s skate guards.

Rudy Galindo was jealous that I had a photo of Johnny Weir on my office bulletin board. he made me promise to add his photo as well. And I did.

evgeni-plushenkoEvgeni Plushenko? He smoked non-stop and avoided me like the plague.

I got to stand rink-side during the entire show, and was allowed to attend the meet & greet where my camera ran out of batteries. Typical. Thankfully a co-worker of my husbands had a camera and snapped photos of me with Weir, Lycacek & Galindo.

I was thankful until I saw them, that is. She had zoomed in so close that I was all face. Ugh. I was not Norma Desmond and I was not ready for my closeup. Here I had my photo taken with 3 of figure skating’s golden boys, and I had a gigantic moon-face that no amount of photoshopping could fix.

That was more than 7 years ago and nobody outside my immediate family has seen those photos. My Facebook bragging rights? Shot to freakin’ hell.

I was watching the US Figure Skating championships a few weeks back, and a young skater named Adam Rippon caught my eye. His free skate gave me chills, much like Johnny and Rudy had back in the day when I rarely missed a men’s skating event.

And then they flashed his score, and it meant nothing to me.

I turned the channel and watched an episode of Chopped instead.

Bbbys

A few years ago my husband and I decided to have lunch together. The area where we work, which is a pedestrian mall, has lots of restaurants, and some of them have outdoor eating areas. We got some food from a place that has a great salad bar, and sat at a table at the outdoor eating patio in front of the store.

About 15 minutes later and older gentleman approaches us and says, “I’m not going to make you move, because you’re pretty much done with your lunch, but this eating area for Baggby’s only.”

Baggby’s being the sandwich shop right next to the place where we bought our salads.

I smiled at him and said in return, “I’m so sorry! I saw the plackard in front of this eating area and thought the seating area belong to the place where we bought our lunch.”

He, in turn said quite nastily, “I don’t care what you thought. There is a sign right there (picture him pointing) that says this eating area is for Baggby’s only.” Then he began to rattle off the money he has to pay each month for the spot, and how it’s not spent for folks who don’t support his business.

I stood up and said, while cleaning up my stuff, “well you don’t have to worry about seeing me here again, because if this is the way you deal with an honest mistake, I’d rather eat out of the garbage can than ever buy anything at your restaurant.”

And I’ve stuck to it. Besides, their sandwiches are expensive and completely average. I’ve made tastier sandwiches using Oscar Mayer lunch meat.

Today at my office they are hosting a lunch and learn. I could’ve had a free lunch courtesy of our guest speaker. But he was ordering from Baggby’s.

I proudly passed and brought lunch from home instead. Because even if I wasn’t paying for it, I didn’t want that asshole making one thin dime from me.

podcast-headphones

For the past few years I was a devoted downloader of audio books from LibriVox.org – it’s a site that has tons of books that have been released into the public domain.  Through that site I discovered a stockpile of great reading material that I might have overlooked simply because the books were “old.” I discovered authors like Horatio Alger, Jr., and Lucy Maud Montgomery, and wonderful books like “The Enchanted Barn,” and “Dandelion Cottage.”

But after a few years, I’m beginning to wonder if I’ve listened to all the good ones. I’ve downloaded dud after dud the past month or so – either the story sucks or the reader does, and I give up after a chapter or two. I needed something new, and fast.

Enter the podcast. I found that there are tons and tons of podcasts on iTunes – all free, and just sitting there waiting for me to download and enjoy. I mean, there are so many it’s almost overwhelming. It’s like I’d stumbled into an audio goldmine.

Here are my favorites so far:

Screen Shot 2015-02-02 at 12.03.43 PMReal Time with Bill Maher: We recently had to cancel HBO in order to save some money on our ever-rising cable bill. Therefore, I was thrilled to see that I could download new episodes and listen to them while I walk. Who needs to see the panel? It’s what they say that’s of any interest anyway.

Screen Shot 2015-02-02 at 12.09.22 PMRadio Diaries: This was the first of the story-telling podcasts I stumbled across. They are stories on seemingly random topics – like when a plane hit the Empire State Building back in the 40’s, or the Miss Subways contests, which I never even knew existed.  There were only ten episodes available for download, and I listened to every one of them. I’m hoping for more to be available soon.

Screen Shot 2015-02-02 at 12.16.53 PMCriminal: Stories of crime – like a guy who went to jail for murdering his wife, when actually they think she was killed from an owl attack. Or a girl who spent a few months passing off counterfeit $20 bills with her shiftless boyfriend. Or, a young hacker who pretty much shut down the internet back in 1999.

Screen Shot 2015-02-02 at 12.45.38 PMUnfictional: I’m not sure how to describe this one. It’s just stories on random topics…a gravedigger in England, the Salem Witch Trials, the story of Dog Mountain. Perhaps it seems like a snooze to you, but they are really well-crafted and super interesting. They remind me of when CBS Sunday Morning runs a story on some person you never heard of, but it’s still very entertaining.

Screen Shot 2015-02-02 at 1.59.36 PMPorchlight Storytelling Series: This one’s a wee bit wacky. These two San Francisco gals invite 6 people to an open mike to tell their stories relating to a specific topic. These can be delicously awkward, especially when the story teller is hoping for a response from the audience—aka, a laugh—and gets none. Plus they never know how to end the story gracefully. It’s great.

I really dig these podcasts – maybe because they remind me of my blog. I’m just telling my stories to anyone who cares to listen. I, in turn, like hearing their stories. It makes the world seem wonderfully chaotic – filled with all these people who all have their own tales to tell.

I’ll tell you, it makes my walks and my morning commute much more entertaining.

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This morning I was taking my usual 2.25 mile walk around my neighborhood. The street I predominantly walk on is somewhat busy, especially in the morning with folks heading to work and school buses picking up kids. So even though I am usually listening to a podcast or an audio book, I keep my eyes and ears open to what is going on around me.

I was coming up to an intersection and noticed a car was approaching but wasn’t concerned because she has a stop sign and I was pretty much already 1/3 of the way across the street. She’s rolling up, and rolling up, and her car begins to turn (towards me) and turn and she’s still coming, and I’m still walking and she’s still coming.

I pretty much had to stop dead in my tracks to avoid being hit. As I peered into her driver’s side window to be sure a zombie wasn’t behind the wheel, I see a woman, head down, fiddling with stuff in her middle console.

Her head was down. And she was making a left hand turn onto a busy street. She never even stopped.

I began to yell things like, “Hey watch it!” and  “You almost hit me!” as her car moved on down the road. I was pissed, and I felt the need to tell her so. I raised my bright green gloved hands and gave her the double middle finger.

As I began to turn back around, I noticed her put on her brakes and pull to the side. So I stopped, took off my headphones and watched as she made a U-Turn and came back my way.

She pulled up along side me, lowered her window and began to apologize. The first thing she said? “I wasn’t texting.”

Apparently she had spilled her coffee and was too preoccupied with that to notice me. Okay, I guess that can happen. We’ve all been distracted while driving from time to time, and luckily nobody got hurt. Then she volunteered the information that she was breast pumping – I am assuming it was an automated thing – but I guess she needed it to add validity to the fact that she blew through a stop sign and almost killed me.

Being a naturally forgiving person, I was telling her that all was okay when she said, “But I have to tell you, it was very inappropriate for you to give me the double finger when I have kids in the car.”

Um….what?

For a split second, I felt a pang of shame, but then my rage took over. The rest of the coversation went something like this…

ME: Are you kidding me? You almost ran me over!

IDIOTIC DRIVER: But I have a four year old and a baby in the car – that was very rude.

ME: Well gee, maybe you would’ve been happier if you had actually hit me. Then your kids wouldn’t have been subject to seeing the middle finger. Instead they’d get to see a mother of two put into an ambulance because their mom doesn’t know how to pay attention.

IDIOTIC DRIVER: Yes, I was wrong to not be looking, but you were wrong to give me the finger.

ME: I had every right to do that! YOU ALMOST HIT ME! Besides, how am I supposed to know you have kids in the car? I was too busy watching my life pass before my eyes to take note of how many passengers you had in your car and the ages of each!

IDIOTIC DRIVER: You should ALWAYS assume there are kids in the car and never gesture like that.

ME: Why would I ever assume you had kids in your car WHEN YOU ARE MAKING A LEFT HAND TURN WHILE LOOKING AT YOUR LAP? What lunatic drives like that with KIDS IN THE CAR?

Inner dialogue: Ok moron – here are a few things I can assume.

  1. I can assume that when you come to a stop sign, you are actually going to stop, especially if there is a person in front of you.
  2. I can assume that if you did spill your coffee, the responsible thing to do is to put your fucking car in park and take care of it. NOT to just keep on truckin’ while you mop up your shit.

If I can’t assume those things, I should not feel the need to assume that your precious kids are in the car. Kids that you are so fearful of maybe knowing what the middle finger means rather than a mom who drives distracted.

She was apologizing over and over, but she was asking me to do the same and I just would not. In the end I might have said something like “Fine Sorry. Whatever. Keep your eyes on the road.”

Bottom line was, she was wrong. Dead wrong. Yet somehow she was incenced that I had flipped her the bird. I’ve been in her shoes – but when I make a boneheaded driving mistake I beg forgiveness and take whatever crap the other guys throws at me. I have it coming.

Because after she almost hit me I was not going to let this lady continue on with her busy toddler toting, breast pumping day without letting her know just what I thought of her. And short of chasing her down, which I could not do, I resorted to the international sign for go fuck yourself. Sue me if you disagree, but in my book I had the absolute right.

And as I walked back home, it dawned on me that her kids couldn’t possibly have seen me flip the bird. They were driving away; the kid’s backs to me. Unless her kids are owls, or Linda Blair, there is no way they could’ve seen it. But I failed to think of it when I could have used it to shut her big trap.

And that is so Typical of me.

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