We all have pet peeves, right? Something small and usually not a big deal in a larger picture, but it rubs you the wrong way and makes you feel slightly insane. Some brief research on the net shows that some of the most common ones are:
- People chewing or talking with their mouth full
- Drinking or eating straight from the carton
- Pushing toothpaste out from the middle instead of the end
- Talking or texting while driving
- Putting the toilet paper on from the bottom instead of from the top
I’m fine with all of these. Well, not exactly fine, but they don’t bug me in an extreme way. I have a difficult time with anger. It isn’t an emotion that I am comfortable with and I try to avoid at all costs. Except when it comes to the school car line.
Then, if I were a violent person — I might daydream of tanks or alien abduction complete with probing.
Mostly, I just try to tap into the earth’s energy and ask Karma to strike swiftly.
Today though, my pet peeve was tested. I was bullied and terrified. Since this morning, I have spent most of the day having the pleasure of wave after wave of panic attacks wash over me. I resorted to a Xanax finally (you know how much I want to take a break from all meds) and tried to hide my tears from my children.
It is strange because I was already on edge today. I was finally going to *Write Bravely* today and share some of my past. I was finally ready to explain why I have PTSD and some of my other issues. I had the post all finished last night and ready to go in the draft files. But today’s event proved that it doesn’t take much for all the fear to be triggered. So, I will publish that piece on Monday and instead share about car line.
My pet peeve is people cutting into car line. It’s really silly, I know. I’m embarrassed by it, but like I said — I don’t really allow myself to feel anger often. Somehow though, this small injustice takes the brunt of all of my ire, misdirected or not.
I live close to the highway, so it would be quicker for me to jump on that road and turn left into the school. I don’t do that though because if my timing is off, I could wind up in the secondary lane and have to beg someone to let me cut into line. But I don’t teach my children that it is okay to cut into any line, so you won’t catch me doing it. I either come around the long way to get in the back of the line or if I have to come in from the highway then I go down past the school, make a u-turn and then get in the back of the line.
I leave early in the morning and early before school lets out to make sure this isn’t an issue for me. If I’m late, I don’t make it someone else’s problem. My time is not more valuable than other folks. I don’t expect special treatment just because I arrive late and come in from the wrong way.
So, three years ago when we started back at this school and people wanted to cut in line – I let them. Maybe their kid was sick or their boss was giving them a hard time. I gave everyone the benefit of the doubt and even though I had gotten there twenty minutes ago to secure my place, I let them cut in.
Then last year, it started to get to me. My blood pressure would rise and would only let someone cut in front of me a couple of times a week.
This year, it has been worse than ever. You just knew that these people felt some sort of entitlement and I began to hate them. (I hate the word hate!) I made a little sign even: Stop Cutting In Line. I toyed with making a larger one that would read: Kids: Tell Your Parents It Isn’t Right To Cut In Line, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it.
This morning was crazy… a whole new level. The secondary line was out to the street of people wanting to cut in. The black car next to me trying to cut in had windows so tinted that I couldn’t tell you if the driver was male or female. The SUV in front of me didn’t let him in. I held my little sign to my window and I didn’t let him in either. But he kept coming… there was maybe an inch between his car and mine. It’s our only car and I couldn’t let him hit me so I nudged over a bit and tried to pull ahead, but he sped up and kept pushing me off the lane. I started to have a panic attack and focused on hiding it from the kids. And I should have stopped. My children were in the car and it didn’t matter if he was being an ass. I couldn’t hear that sane part of myself and I continued to drive on the grass alongside him assuming he would stop bullying me and let me back into my place in line. But he hugged the edge while I struggled to think straight over the screaming in my head and the racing of my heart.
Then the woman in front of me who first blocked him stopped her car dead in it’s tracks. She waved me forward in front of her. She was my hero.Whoever she was and with her child’s bright smiling face waving hello … I’m so freaking grateful to her. I felt the panic start to subside.
Until we pulled around up front and the kids started getting out of the car to enter school. I stopped breathing because I realized he was still two cars behind me. What if he got out and started yelling at the kids? What had I done trying to stand up to a bully with my kids around? I watched in my rear-view mirror as car line people waved me on to keeping moving and not slow down the line.
I turned right out of the parking lot and started to beat myself up mentally for being so stubborn. I want my kids to stand up for what is right, but I know personally that sometimes you have to let some fights go…. my mind keeps replaying it over and again while tears fall down my cheeks until I see a black car with very tinted windows slide in behind me. In that moment, I lose it. I’m not only in the present with this guy following me, but I’m reliving every crappy thing that ever happened to me all at once. I turn on to a side road and he turns in right behind me. I’m talking on the phone with my husband in hysterics and I’m trying to get a glimpse of his face in my mirrors but I can’t see a fucking thing for all the stupid tears. I’m not going to turn into my complex. I’ve had more than one stalker in my life and I don’t want this psycho to know where I live. So, I turn on another side road and I think he realizes that unless he runs me off the road again… I’m not going to be stopping anytime soon. He keep driving and I circle around another time to make sure he is really gone.
When I get in car line this afternoon … it is super early so that I’m right up front. I make sure to lock the doors and I am hyper-aware of every single black car in the parking lot and on line. He’s no longer just a self-entitled bully, but he is also every monster that ever hurt me all rolled into one.
It makes no sense. I don’t know if the sheer terror that I am still experiencing as I write this is from the PTSD. Getting upset over someone cutting into car line is stupid. I know that on an intellectual level. But it is more than him and unfortunately I don’t know how to explain that type of crazy to anyone. I’ve been told by three different people today to let it go. I agree that overall, it isn’t a big deal for most people.
Most people aren’t me.
xoxo ~ Melissa