Just a little road rage

I have road rage.  I picked it up in California.  Tiny Tempo, driving alongside jerks, it was bound to happen.  I have worked hard to curb it and the side effective of cussing.  Tornado S only says “Oh my God” and “What the-?”  He could be saying a lot worse.  But there are still three things that set me off.

1. Any driver that does anything that puts my children in harm’s way.  I picked this one up when Tornado E was a baby; it was the reason I stopped driving the Tempo and went on to the large Ram truck.  (She and I hated each other, but that is a different post.)  Like I mentioned, California has a lot of jerks driving, and I don’t care what anyone says, every group has a bad driver in it.  Unfortunately, this is the one that I cuss the worst.  Back in the Tempo days, I just speed up, bite my thumb, and move on.  With kids, I have to let it go and fantasize about karma taking hold.

2. Failure to use turn signals.  I f%$king hate this.  Always have.  I can’t make a safe, well-informed driving decision if people don’t use their damn signals.  I get that there are real jerks out there that think that a turn signal means they have to cut that person off (I’m talking to the woman two days ago who had tried to cut me off to keep me from getting in front of her and then had the nerve to honk at me when I went over any ways; listen, chick, I have an SUV; I will WIN.).  (Um, as for that last line, I never needed a big vehicle to cut in.)  Don’t let the jerks win; use turn signals.  Not that hard, not that complicated, not that time-consuming.

3. Bad parking.  I’m not talking about on the line parking as annoying as it is.  We all do that at one point, and the best of us feel guilty about it.  I’m talking about parked the wrong way or taking up more than one spot or parking so that one or more cars can’t leave or park next to you.  I’m talking about I’m-so-important-that-I-don’t-care-about-everyone-else-because-I-have-to-be-here-now parking.  It burns me.  And unfortunately, almost every mom in the two four-year-old classes does it at Tornado S’s school.

Every morning, I turn the corner into the parking lot to find that nearly the whole lot is parked in the wrong direction.  It’s diagonal parking.  It’s not complicated.  But instead of going down the row and pulling in, parents (mainly moms) pull through the parking lot and park the wrong way.  Are you kidding me?  Of course, there are a few, such as myself, who park the correct way, and then we nearly have car accidents as people try to leave.

And it gets better because there is always some jerk who parks so blatantly wrong that I want to write a note on the window with permanent marker, which is a step down from wanting to throw a rock through said window.  (Look, people, I’m trying to be mature and set a good example.  Throwing rocks isn’t either.  No matter how tempting.)  Last week, a mom actually parked in the middle of the row, not even bothering to pull all the way into the spot.  She was in the middle of the road.  Her WHOLE truck.  Or today, a mom took up two parking spots because she had to park straight in a diagonal parking lot.  Then there was the giant SUV last week that parked diagonally the wrong way so she took up six spots.  Then there is always my favorite, the mom who has to park along the curb right in front of the gate, in the road way, blocking the entrance for the rest of us.  This happens every day.

Every morning, my good mood disappears for like fifteen minutes as I fume over the disrespect and selfishness that runs so rampant at Tornado S’s school.  I have to learn to let it go.  It keeps me from being friendly to the other moms because I know they were the ones who parked that way.  It makes my goodbyes and hellos to Tornado S tense and forced.  I really don’t want to always be consumed with annoyance and rage.

Maybe I need to practice breathing.  Maybe I should get there early enough to miss most of the issue and then do some yoga.  Maybe I should tattle-tale.  I’m counting the weeks to summer, when I won’t have to deal with this again.  Well, except for every once in a while in a public parking lot, and then I won’t feel so bad banging the car door into the other car as hard as I can.

And this is suppose to be my day?

I woke up at a quarter to six on Sunday at the mere thought of Tornado S standing by the bed.  He wasn’t there.  But I figure I might as well get up because we had seven am mass to attend to as it was Mother’s Day, and my mom was obligated to go to her mother’s mass, and I was obligated, unlike my brothers, to go to church with my parents.  While I had one less child to wake up and get out of bed, it also meant I had once less pair of hands to get boys in and out of the car.

For some reason God smiled at this.  I was up, fed, and dressed by the time Tornado S decided he wanted to stop reading in bed.  I had Tornado S fed and dressed by the time Tornado E woke to all the ruckus.  Tornado E was dressed and not fed, watching TV by the time we had to go.  After watching Wubzy get out of another self-created jam, I jammed the boys into their car seats, leaving a minute late, which turned into five minutes late with the lights changing to allow ghosts cars through the intersection.  Miraculously I kept my cool, since my road rage must have been sleeping in that day.

I parked at the end of the parking lot, not wanting the hassle of dealing with older drivers, who are very careful, but painfully so.  I wiped faces with the wipes, handed Tornado E the corsage for my mom, picked up Tornado S who had his hands up, saying “help me. Up pease.”  We trudged up the parking lot, getting to the front door of the church.  But surely my mom would be sitting in the back where all good Catholics sit like my grandma.  So we hoofed it on the outside of the church.  Tornado S gained a pound with every step.  Why did I feel the need to bring seven religious-oriented books plus two sketch pads plus six fruit snack bags plus two pencils plus a container of goldfish plus a carton of crayons?  Wait.  Where’s the tithe?  On the table, of course.

Tornado S spotted the blue mustang my parents owned, recognizable by the wildcat and the hummingbird on the back window.  “Papi!  Papi!  Papi’s car!”  Tornado S squirmed in my arms.

We finally get to the back door to read the sign to go around to the other side.  With a hysterical laugh, I started around the church with the little twittering of a three-year-old following me.  “Where are we going? Can’t we use that door?  Why is it broken?  How’d it get broken?  I’ve never gone this way before.  What’s that?  This ramp is steep!  I can’t make it!  Throw me a rope!  Can we go down there?  What’s down there?  Why are all these people in robes?”  Because even though the bells rang two minutes ago, they’re waiting for us to sit.

I looked through the glass doors to note that my parents had decided to sit in their usual front of the church pew.  Are you KIDDING ME?  I haul open the door.  Excuse me, priests, deacon, alter servers.  Holy water.  In the name of the Father, Son, Holy Spirit.  NameoftheFather,Son,HolySpirit.  NameoftheFather,Son,HolySpirit.  I waved at my grandma, my aunt, and uncle as I dragged Tornado E down the side aisle to the front.  Thank God I decided to start using the spare black diaper bag instead of the usual one that would be clunking key chains all down the church.  We went down one pew to come up the middle just behind my parents.

In a harsh whisper, I asked, “Is there a reason you’re up here and not with your mother?”

“Came in the back way, did ya?” my dad asked too merrily

“Why, Thank you, Tornado E!  We go in the front entrance now.  An orchid.  How beautiful,” my mom said.  The diaper bag crashed down.  “Here, I’ll take Tornado S.”

“NO!  MY MAMA!”  Tornado S buried his face into my shoulder.

“Do you know h-” The organ began playing, cutting off my pure sarcastic complaint/question.

Then Tornado S began to sing.  He just kept singing, “Ba, ba, ba, baaaaa.”  But it was the best singing in the church.  He sang every time the music started; he answered every rhetorical question.  He was awesome.  And all was right in the world.

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Underage Backseat Driver

Evan: Slow down, Mom!  Slow down!  You’re going too FAST!!


Me: Baby, we’re on the freeway.  Mommy is not going too fast.


Evan: Can you hear me?!  You’re going too fast!  Slow down!  Slow down!


Me: Mommy isn’t going too fast.  She’s in the fast lane.


Evan: Turn up the heater; then you’ll slow down!


Me: Look!  That motorcycle passed us.  That car is passing us.  That truck will pass us in a minute.


We drive on in silence as we listened to Christmas carols on the radio.  Listening to carols this early in December is something I never did until this year as Sean can sing the chorus to “Deck the Halls” and Evan is making his own versions of the popular songs.  We merge onto the next freeway.  We get into a lane next to a little bright yellow truck that pulls slowly away to reveal a large yellow Batman sticker covering the back window.


Evan: Look, Mommy!  It’s Batman!  Go faster, Mommy!  Go faster!  We need to beat Batman!  Look, Mommy, Batman!


Me: Evan, it’s not a race, and we have to turn off soon.


Evan: No, Mommy, we can win!  Our car is better!  Go get Batman!  (I merge to the right and start to excite the freeway on an overpass.)  Yea!!  We won!  (Of course, now the Batman truck is in the distance underneath us.)  Look, we beat Batman!  There he is!  We win!



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