Today I was shouted at by a complete stranger.
It was a bit of a shock. I was puddling along in my own little world, just trying to get child A or B, or A,B,C,D and E as it was today, from point X to point Y. Or X to Y to Z, as it also was today.
Mainly, as I said in my Car Pool post, I’m just trying not to lose anyone.
It was the sort of afternoon where nothing whatsoever went to plan, two out of my three karate boys refused to attend, and I was useless in the face of their resistance, short of strapping them down and forcing the clothes on them. Which is just plain wrong, and impossible anyway (they’re strong little fellas). And lovely blokes, just inexplicably anti karate, when it’s not their mum taking them.
I’m not an ogre am I? Well I wasn’t until this afternoon anyway.
So after much fruitless negotiation and much bribery related ingestion of confectionary and chocolate milk, I promised my two little karate waggers that I would return them to their Mum post haste, just as soon as I could get Joshie, who is, despite everything, completely gagging for and desperate to do his lesson, into the class with his other mates.
I parked outside the school down the road where karate is held, and left the two boys and Issy in the car. Sarah came with me because she likes to play with some of the big sisters who get dragged along to karate each week.
|There was not much of this going on this afternoon, but one out of three ain't bad.|
I was away for maybe, 3 minutes.
I got back to the car and see another school mum walking past it and we stop to say hi. As we chat (briefly I promise) I see the two smallest kids have climbed into the front seat of my car and are sharing the drivers seat, with enormous grins on their faces.
Seven shades of wrong right there. Then the kids see me and start laying into the horn, big time, even cheekier.
I quickly said goodbye to my friend, who eyed me with sympathy and a bit of “there but for the grace of god”, jump into the car, and start to reprimand the kids. But before I can shut my driver’s door an irate woman on the other side of the road (holding a coffee cup so clearly a street resident) asked me if it was my car that had been beeping.
I said yes, and was just about to follow up with an apology (it was a mighty antisocial thing to do in a residential street) which was one of the points I was planning to include in my imminent bullocking, added to never getting out of seatbelts, never hopping in the front seat, respect for other people, hasn’t it been a tough enough afternoon, etc etc.
But she was filled with her irateness and told me in no uncertain terms how appalling was the noise, how I should never leave kids in a car unattended, and I must have left them for ages if they were so upset they had to beep me to get me to return.
Note: they didn’t even start beeping until they saw me, because for them, that was where the fun was.
Normally I’d blush, stutter, fume and stumble over my words. Not this afternoon.
I said: “Why don’t you just go and get on with your perfect life then.” and shut the car door.
Which I’m pretty happy with on the whole.
Perhaps if I’d had a bit more time to think I would have preferred:
“Why don’t you just go and get on with your perfect life then and I’ll continue with my obviously terribly flawed one?” but that didn’t come to me until later.
Because she was right, their behaviour was awful and I shouldn’t have left them. I should have schlepped them all out of the car, gone in with Josh, signed him in and returned to the car again. But I didn’t, I gave myself a break and went child free, cause it had been a tough afternoon.
I think perhaps, this is not so uncommon? Is it?
And I had a pretty good backstory. But it was long and complex and tedious (mostly they are). And there was no point in trying to tell her. Talk about your waste of breath.
Shouty angry woman doesn’t care about my backstory. Apart from the awful beeping, she’s probably angry because she lives across the road from a school, and has to deal with this sort of stuff every weekday morning and afternoon.
But it’s not black and white or simple, because life doesn’t work like that, does it? Introspective aren’t I?