To The Woman in the Jeep Cherokee at Silver Lake Park on October 21, 2008:
Did you really have to be such a bitch?
I said I was sorry that my dog was off-leash. In case you somehow didn’t notice when you pulled up next to my car, my baby was screaming glass-shatter style, my three year old was sobbing over an entire steamed milk that spilled down her front and my five year old was standing on the console, taking her clothes off for reasons unknown while I was trying to tie her shoes for her. Things were hectic and my dog needed to pee. We were not in any body’s way and seeing my dog never wandered more than 10 feet from my vehicle, I thought it would be okay to let him out for a leak.
When I looked up at you and smiled despite the cacophony in my car, you coldly informed me that this park had a leash law. I immediately apologized to you. Concurred with you and grabbed the leash of my seat, called my dog over to me, clicked it on him and continued to hold him by me, on leash, while I finished tying my kids sneaker, one handed. The other hand, if you didn’t notice, was being pulled on by my 85 pound Siberian Husky.
I still felt you presence. Actually it was my daughter who said to me, Why is that mean lady not leaving? I looked up and noticed your hair was the color of pumpkin with streaks of saffron. You bangs were thick around your eyes, which looked worn in, I recognized the look, I have it so often. You were tired and desperately tried to cover it with a wand of creamy concealer and some thick mascara. Your hunter green coat looked warm. The little dog on your passenger seat was yipping. I smiled at you again. And then why? Why. Why did you try to slice off my faith in humanity with your sharp and jagged words, your energy was burning hot ice, a fire-dipped tip of a knife.
You stopped me today with what I was doing. I will be reporting you to the forest service.
You didn’t even look at me, you looked somewhere of to the side and in front of you. I saw the paper and pen you were putting down next to you, no doubt scribbling my license # in hostile haste. And then you just drove away into the forested archway. My dog still pulling. My baby blood curdling. My three year old sobbing and sobbing about her milk saturated clothing. My five year old still balancing and now redressing. I watched your tail-end plastered with Obama 08 stickers disappear into the pines, your front end entering into a skin-chilling, heart-skip-a-beat hollow of beauty, of dancing ferns and chocolaty earth. A place almost impossible to be mad, or grumpy, at least for me. I hope your drastically bitter-self found some peace in there.
As for me, we just left. Granted, we had spent the morning packing for a picnic we planned on having in that particular spot. There are so many little fairy coves the girls love to eat and play in right at that park. We had dried apples. Pumpkin bread with butter smashed into it. Homemade burnt granola. Whole yellow delicious apples from our tree. A hunk of cheese. A jug of water. But because I have dealt with many spiteful people in my life, I have learned my lessons in Peacefully Withdrawing From Situations.
In my distant past, I might have tailed your ass down that road, inches from you car, hand on the horn until you stopped, thrown you The Bird, hanging my body out the window, cursing you up and down. But I didn’t. I have children now. And I know better.
I got Thunder The Dog in the car. Buckled the unbuckled ones back up. Kissed the baby and gave her a dolly and a whole apple to suck on. I turned around and went the opposite direction that you drove.
I would have really enjoyed a picnic there with or without your presence. But I felt space was needed to simmer out the electrifying energy we exchanged. For whatever reason our Karma had collided and I sensed that a picnic down the road by the river would have been the best choice.
I was already having a real shitty morning, lady. It was only Day Two of my self-imposed House Arrest Experiment, which for financial and psychological reasons I committed myself to staying home or going nowhere I couldn’t walk. Barely 48 hours later I was failing miserably. Interesting and sad how three small children in a house without an Out can drive one close to psychosis. I had already: grabbed my oldest daughters skinny white arm to tightly that morning and pulled her away from the sister she was torturing, yelled at the tortured one one way too loud for yelling way too loud, and then I dropped my french press and the glass shattered and all I could think was: No Coffee. And hen to top it off, I snapped at the baby for screaming on the ground, crying to me, while I was trying to clean up shards of glass. Yes, I was at a low point. I could not just be with them in my house. And so I thought: Picnic! At Silver Lake Park! Hell with the home confinement. It’s local at least! And I won’t spend any money except for gas (I did. I bought 2 steamers and a coffee on the way there). And my inner-knowing mixed with some mama guilt had led me down that beautiful little valley off of Mt. Baker Highway and somehow I was led to you. Or you to me. Or both.
While we drove the other way to our next picnic spot, I was among a chorus of WHY’S? [why was she so mean? Why was she going to tell on you? Why are we leaving?] I muttered under my breath more in shock than angry why was she such a fucking bitch?
What mama, what did you say?
So for you, I answered them the best I could, trying to explain why, for no apparent reason, people where just mean.
She was mad because Thunder was off his leash. She might have been having a sad day. I think maybe that was it. She was sad and sometimes that makes you sound mad and sometimes when you are mad you just get mean with people. We should just send her some love and then have a good picnic and be as kind as we can to each other, K?
And then my daughter, my five year old, who twists and turns to get new views of the world every moment, says to me, Mama, I’m going to send her my rose. An she puts her hands, cupped up to her her heart and she pushes them forward just a bit, offering her harvest out to the world, to YOU.
She passed you her rose. We hope you got it. And we hope you passed it on to someone else.
The frazzled lady in the Gray Sienna Minivan with the gorgeous and loud children and one pretty chill dog.
We are big fans of the Icelandic outfit, Gus Gus and Mia’s current favorite ranking video is Moss, by Gus Gus. Check it out and you’ll see some rose passing.