Friday, May 22, 2009

I am Mother, Hear me Roar!

On my way home from picking up Jimmy today I had a slight bout of road rage. . OK - well, it was a little more severe than previous episodes. . .Here's what happened. I stopped on the way home at McDonald's to get some food (I was hungry). The place wasn't notably busy, though it did have its fair share of teenagers hanging out in the parking lot (how cool!). Not much happening there at all though. I pulled up to the stop sign within the shopping center after receiving our food and administered hand sanitizer for the kids (this took all of 5 seconds). Well, I guess that 5 seconds was a bit too long for the bratty pubescent little boy who happened to pull up behind me. I guess he was unhappy with the slight pause at the stop sign ('What? People actually stop here??') and decided to squeal his wheels as he went around me.

To pass me would've been totally fine, but to squeal the wheels is not only dangerous, it's also obnoxious - and I was in no mood for attitude from a teenager. Well, again, much like with Publix - something within me took over. I swear I had no control over myself . . .well, maybe just a teeny tiny bit. Anyway, I decided (after much practice doing vehicular spy moves with friends growing up) to follow pursuit, but not before laying on my broken and sputtering horn in the van. So I just laid on it for a brief moment, and then I too literally peeled out after him (children in the back seat wondering at what point they get their burgers).

I followed the boy up to the stop sign that actually enters the real highway, laying on the horn intermittently, and again, peeling out after him as he merged into the intersection. Unfortunately, we both were headed for the turn lane. This made for a great opportunity for me to fully express my disgust in his uber teenage driving habits, and it gave him the opportunity to prove he was all that and a bag of chips. Feeling the power of being in the back, I pulled up pretty close to his bumper whilst throwing my hands in the air and making faces that said "WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU, CHILD???". Observing my obvious rage, he decided then to roll down the window and hang out the side of his vehicle to scream profanities in my general direction. Fortunately, I'm incredibly NOT astute with lip reading and was thus able to simply reciprocate by merely shaking my head and squinting my eyes as to express: "You are a real idiot, aren't you?". Despite my lip reading impairment, I did understand the process of him slowly backing his vehicle up towards my front fender: a game of chicken. I of course wasn't going to back up even an inch and really doubted he'd risk damaging his much nicer vehicle, so I grabbed my phone and held it up while pretending to dial 9-1-1 all the while smiling at the child as I smugly moved the phone to my ear (as though I was really going to report him). After a second or two of my little charade, he decided to just drive.

Much to the horror of both of us I'm sure, we were quickly stopped side by side at a stop light. In order to demonstrate my maturity and wisdom, I took this moment to hand little Jimmy his chicken sandwich. 'Yes, I'm driving a van with children inside. I'm older and wiser than you. And you need to quit driving with so much testosterone!' was all that I really wanted to convey in that moment. A second later, I boldly turned my face his direction, and we both stared at each other silently swapping looks of disgust. Then I mouthed the words "You need to grow up" to him. He mouthed something back, but alas, I had no clue as to what he was saying, and I let him know that by pointing to my ear and shaking my head with a disappointed expression and shoulder shrug.

The light turned green pretty quickly and we were off again. I made an effort to let the boy pass, but he was also seemingly taking this same approach. After a few seconds, he did finally pass, and I waved calmly as I stared expressionless at the road ahead of me. Much to my horror, he pulled into my lane and turned down the same road I was going to turn onto in order to go home. There's really not a lot on this road, so I began to anticipate following him for the next 15 minutes or so right up to the point where he turned into my neighborhood (Wouldn't that be terrible? -to be road dueling with some neighborhood kid?).

FORTUNATELY, when he saw that I was behind him, he quickly turned into just about the only commercial facility between that road and our home. While I watched the rear view mirror for a minute or two just to be sure he wasn't hoping to get the upper hand by being in the back, I was relieved to know that he wasn't. And actually, I was really pretty thrilled that I had won. I WON the game of road rage between me and the pubescent boy. I, the older and wiser woman, won. He chickened out; he backed down; he ate crow.

Young men out there, let this be a lesson to you: just because the mini-van isn't moving at the pace you'd hope for, it to does not mean you have the right to act your age. There are a LOT of crazy mom's out there willing to go great lengths not only to somehow prove their fearlessness but also to teach you a valuable lesson about the lunatics on the road!

Friday, May 8, 2009

An Apology to Publix

Dear Publix:
Recently I visited your store and had something of a temper tantrum. While it wasn't necessarily your fault, I was rather angry with the store. While you may have been unaware of it, I have secretly nursed a grudge against your store, refusing to set foot in your place of business. Outwardly I acted as one feeling very justified in my stance, but inwardly I longed for your clean aisles, extensive section of organic and gluten free food, and short check-out lines. Yesterday my son brought me home a cake from your store for Mother's Day, which he had decorated. It was beautiful - not only because you had decorated it before he got his hands on it, but also because you set up a fundraiser with his school wherein he could ALSO decorate the cake for me while raising money for his school! But the real clencher for me was the card with coupons that came with the cake; the card talked about how hard it is to be a Mom and how much you appreciate me. As I finished reading the card, my heart towards Publix as a whole changed. I'm sorry for my rotten attitude as of late, and I'd like to start over fresh if that's at all possible. Please consider my continued patronage an apology gift.

Ocala, Here Are Your Signs!

I know this is kind of a different sort of post, but bear with me. Every city has signs up - everywhere and all kinds. Somehow, a number of Ocala's signs, strike me as entirely different from the sorts of signs I've seen the whole rest of my life. When we first moved to Ocala, I was really shocked by them (not that I should be, particularly given the number of other signs that are designed to be shocking) but over time, I just kind of got used to them. Still, in order to give my readers a more well balanced perspective of Ocala (aside from it just being flat out gorgeous), I feel it necessary to post some of these signs that certainly would have initially perplexed me.If you've ever traveled I-75, you've surely seen all of our anti-abortion and *go to church* signs. What's funny is that what you see on the highway, is what you truly find in the city here. Now I'm not going to get into politics or religion, but I feel it's pretty obvious the sway of most Ocalans both politically and religiously. And I think it's great that there's a voice to BOTH sides of each party, but can I just say there are some days when I don't want to be reminded of needing to have a good attitude (AKA: good sportsmanship), or of the zillions of babies dieing each day, or that God is watching my every move waiting to strike me dead, or any number of other motivational/self-help thoughts. . No, these are not ALWAYS the best thoughts for me personally to focus upon.

All the same, if a picture paints a thousand words, then a few pictures of a cities signs should paint novels about that city. Welcome to Ocala.

Everyday Sightings in Ocala