Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Last Straw

Let's preface this post by mentioning that I have a cold and I feel like total poo.  There is a month left of this term (read: I have a million pages to write while studying for exams right now while still managing to keep my family relatively well fed, dressed and disciplined).  I have a retreat to lead this weekend. I am stressed out, tired and overwhelmed.  I think the combination of those things has broken my internal filter a little bit.  I'm probably blowing this way out of proportion and there's a strong likelihood that I over-reacted a bit in the moment.  But venting will make me feel better, so here goes.

I was verbally accosted by an angry old lady in the bathroom at Eat N Park tonight.

Layer that on top of the first paragraph and decide for yourself how much I needed that in my life tonight.  We went to ENP because it's a quick and easy dinner that I don't have to clean up after and I needed the night off from dinner duty (even though I've had the past two nights off already thanks to my amazing and sympathetic husband.)

OK, context: my two youngest kids needed to go to the bathroom immediately before the food came to the table (all the parents just rolled their eyes in agreement right now- what's with their timing?) The kids and I trekked to the restroom together.  There were precisely three stalls and three people.  One person per stall, noone has to wait. Gloria (as usual) was the last one finished.  As Levi and I were washing our hands, an elderly woman with an O2 tank came in.  I felt a little bad that the child who wound up in the handicapped-accessible stall was still going strong, but there was nothing I could do about it.  The woman gave me a dirty look and went into one of the smaller stalls.

All the while, I was talking to Gloria who was taking FOREVER (that's a post for another day). When the other woman came out of her stall, she said indignantly to me, "Is Gloria handicapped?"  I just sort of looked at her slack-jawed. She then went on a tirade about how terrible it was that my daughter was in that stall and what if she was in a wheelchair, what would she do and that's just a shame and those stalls are only for handicapped people, etc.  When she finally came up for air, I replied (as calmly as I could muster), "I'm sorry, I'm trying to deal with three children at dinner. . . " and she CUT ME OFF mid-sentence and said, "I understand that, but it doesn't excuse. . . "

That was when I snapped and I cut her off and I let fly. I told her that clearly she didn't understand.  I told her that handicapped doesn't mean special rights.  Yes, the restaurant should be required to be accessible, but that doesn't mean that if all the other stalls are full a non-handicapped person should be disallowed from using it.  Being handicapped doesn't mean you don't have to wait like the rest of us. Sure, if there are regular stalls empty, use them. I was eloquent and bold and I stood up for myself in front of my children and called the woman out on her rude and unprovoked behavior.

At least. . . I wish I'd said all that.  I would like to be bolder, but I really just wound up holding back tears and having the waitress box my food to go when I got to the table because I'd lost my appetite. What really happened when she cut me off was that I continued to stare at her slack-jawed while she just kept ranting as she stormed out of the bathroom. . . right into the supply closet. Just for the record, that moment makes the "squirrel factor moment" list.  I made up the part about my eloquent speech sticking up for myself but not the part about the angry old lady ranting her way right into the cupboard.  Only in my world do things like that happen. She finished her tirade with, "Well.  That's a closet." and proceeded out the correct door.  I didn't laugh at her, but I'm pretty sure I need to confess my smugness before communion tomorrow.

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