Thursday, December 13, 2012

What's wrong with just saying, "my bad"?

Last week, I had to take my daughter to the pediatrician's office for a semi-urgent visit. When I arrived, there was an SUV parked in front of the driveway to the parking lot. I had to bump up onto the curb in order to squeeze through and get to the parking lot and only barely made it.

As we walked around the building to go inside, I noticed that there were actually people inside the SUV. I approached the vehicle and gently rapped on the window.  The driver rolled the window down and I politely asked, "Did you know you're parked in front of a driveway?"

"Yes." She answered, turning away from me to stare at the school across the street.

I paused for a moment to process her answer, because. . . huh?

"You could have just honked if you needed to get in." She added. Apparently I had either failed to read her mind or her "honk if I'm in your way" bumper sticker fell off the back of her car.

"Did you there are parking spaces right there (I pointed to a parking space one car behind her) and there (I pointed to the open space one car in front of her)?" I calmly asked.

"You know what?" she snapped, "I'm waiting for someone." (Imagine me here with a completely baffled look on my face.) "I'm waiting for some kids to come out of school and they don't know that I'm here for them so I don't want them to miss me."

Am I the only person that thinks in a situation like that, "Ah. No parking where I'm sure they will see me so I'll park up there and walk over and stand so I'm not ILLEGALLY BLOCKING A DRIVEWAY."? And don't tell me "maybe she was handicapped." because she wasn't alone in the car. At this point I was trying very hard to maintain my composure.  I had been nothing but polite and this woman just kept getting nastier. I kept reminding myself that the church I work at is next door to the school and across the street from the doctor's office and there was a very high chance of someone from church walking by just as I started yelling or pulling the woman's car door open or something.

"Well," I said, still rather evenly, "that is no excuse for blocking the driveway to a medical facility."

"You just *&#$*%&@#( stop it. Just stop it. WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU! CUT IT OUT!" She started yelling at me.

It was at this point I realized there was no reasoning with this person and I just walked away and reported her to the front desk of the office who then handled it from there.  I believe they reported her to the police. I will confess to you that I sincerely hoped afterward that she got a giant ticket for the whole thing. That's a terribly vindictive thing to wish, but that's my confession to you today. Pray for me.

This whole situation left me reeling and wondering what the heck had just happened.  Has our culture lost the ability to apologize? What is it with people defending actions they know are wrong just because they are their actions? Nobody is perfect. Why can't we just admit it? All she had to do was say, "My bad. I'm sorry." And I would have thought no less of her.  Instead, she was so worried about justifying her actions that she got really mean and nasty and her defense of herself backfired and now I think she's a complete nutcase.

Ugh. Maybe it's the holidays.  They make us nuts. Stress from the holidays doesn't justify being a crazy person and yelling at people you don't know, but it at least makes it a little more understandable. Yesterday, I got  text from a friend about how maybe holiday stress is God's way of reminding us how broken we are and how much we need this Savior that we wait for during Advent. I asked her to write a guest post for me because it was a really great conversation. And it's true.  We are so worried about looking perfect for everyone and never being wrong because deep down we know how very broken we are and we'll do just about anything to not appear to be in the wrong.  I'm so glad we were sent that savior that can save people who yell at random people in the street and even the people who hope those people will get a giant parking ticket. We're all a mess.

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