Yesterday was one of those weird 40-degree and sunny days in January. Which is awesome … if you don’t own a dog. Because on those weird 40-degree days in January, all the snow and ice and slush that was in your yard has melted and turned the large dirt spot by your fence into a mud pit worthy of a Monster Truck Jam. Of course, that was the spot all three dogs ran to first yesterday. As I was wrestling with a 100 lb. bulldog to clean his feet I noticed I was not only cleaning off chunks of mud and grass but there was glitter sprinkled in. Then I remembered that my son had made a poster to cheer on his friend at her basketball game and she had specifically requested glitter. In stead of dusting off the extra glitter into the trash can he decided the snow in the back yard was a good place for the glitter.
The thing is, when I was cleaning mud and glitter off twelve paws I thought that it was a perfect description of so many things in my life. My personality – Mud and Glitter. My writing – Mud and Glitter. My dogs – Mud and Glitter (and Mud). My kids – Mud and Glitter (you two can fight over who’s glitter and who’s mud).
But it also is a great intro for what my Blog was originally going to be about today. The original blog started off with the sentence, “If you ever want to see the worst human behavior go to the car wash on a sunny day in January or Costco on a Saturday afternoon.”
The car wash seemed like a good idea until I actually got in line. I knew it would be busy because the temperature was blistering 32 degrees and it was sunny – I was prepared for busy. I was not prepared for awful people. If you haven’t visited a car wash recently there are now four lanes that condense to one. This alone confuses people; three lanes are for the random sunny day car washers like me (the mud) and then there is an express lane for people who pay a monthly fee for unlimited washes (the glitter). I chose the shortest of the three lines which I should have known was cosmically stupid. The person in front of me caused quite a bit of problems and I don’t know why or what the issue was. But the car wash gal was summoned to the car multiple times and there were receipts flying around – if I had to guess I’d say that they changed their mind about the level of clean they wanted for their truck because in addition to the receipts the car wash gal had to keep soap writing new numbers on the truck.
The back and forth was fine until we got to the front of the line where the parking gate arms allow people in the 4 lines to rotate into one line to go through the car wash. The gate raised not once but twice while the mind changers were waiting once again for the car wash gal to come back to their car and I assume change the wash type one more time as a new receipt was printed. I admit, I was irritated. I watched car after car go into the line and I’m stuck behind the most indecisive person in the world. It’s not hard, you either want to pay $9 for soap and water or go all out for every type of cleaner and wax known to man for $20. There’s 2 mid-level choices – I get that, but seriously it should not take 4 times to decide what you want.
Unfortunately, because they waited through two of the gate rotations – it threw the gate rotation into a frenzy. The gates started getting stuck open or closing too soon. Then it allowed 4 of the Glitter cars in the Unlimited wash lane go and nobody else. Finally, the gate raised and the truck in front of me drove through the gate. Then the gate stuck open. And the other gates got stuck down. So unsure what to do I started to proceed through the gate as it slammed down on Elmo’s front bumper and the arm broke completely off. Luckily Elmo sustained no damage and the employees got the arm off the bumper and waved me on through – mostly because the other lanes were all still stuck down. Eventually, they had to open all the gates and hope for the best because one indecisive person jammed up the whole works. I finally made it through the car wash, but I wanted to pull to the side just to double-check that there was no damage from the parking arm coming down. After double checking I got back into the car and tried to leave, but one of the Unlimited car washers was blocking the exit while going over his freshly washed truck with a chamois. While waiting in line I saw him pull in, his truck looked like it had just been washed before he got in the line, but whatever if I paid $40 a month I’d wash my truck 3 times a day too. The thing is I wasn’t irritated that he was detailing his truck, or even that he was blocking the exit – it was that he was totally oblivious to the fact that there were other people waiting for him to move. Or, maybe he wasn’t oblivious, which means he just thinks his super duty dually extended cab 4×4 is more important than my sporty little Jeep.
He finally moved so I was able to get to the exit only to pull behind a guy driving exactly 8 mph while talking on his phone and the Honda Accord that was about an inch from his bumper with a red angry face and yelling. Cell phone guy just kept driving at 8 mph… totally unaware that the Honda guy was behind him yelling and I was behind the Honda guy. He briefly drove into on coming traffic which was fun to watch, then almost hit Honda guy who was trying to pass him on the right, when he attempted to get back in the correct lane. But the best thing ever was when cell phone guy after cutting off Honda guy cut right in front of me and realized that he was at a stop light that was red and slammed on his brakes. His brakes worked…. Mine did not. Well mine did, they just weren’t effective as I was on solid ice.
As I pictured myself slamming into cell phone guy my anti-lock braking system kicked in and for some unknown reason cell phone guy suddenly decided he was turning right and despite the red light turned. I guess that may have been divine intervention. I was next to Honda guy, who was still yelling and gesturing at cell phone guy.
Based on this experience I should have said no when my husband wanted to go to Costco, but I relented, and we went. Every family within a 50-mile radius who has 3-5 children was shopping at Costco. Don’t get me wrong, I understand you must shop and if you have small children they must go with you. The first encounter we had was with mom talking on her cell phone in the middle of the aisle, completely stopped, while her three kids kept getting free orange samples. Like 4 and 5 orange slices a piece to the point where the employee cutting up the oranges had to say, “you need to ask your mom if you can have any more.” No one else got any orange slices though because the kids kept pushing their way to the front and grabbing more. The entire time mom was having a very loud and detailed conversation about her plans for the evening that included wearing a super-hot new outfit and getting drunk.
We moved past the fruit to the bakery. After fighting off two families of five Dave finally got a muffin sample. It just kept going from sample station to sample station – the mom would approach first followed by the kids and the dad would bring up the rear. I don’t mind that people brought their kids and were letting their kids get samples, what bothered me was that the parents were being disrespectful of other shoppers. Sometimes pushing their kids up to the front of the line to get samples of things the kids didn’t even want. And the sample stations are strategically placed in busy aisles and some of the parents would loiter around the aisle until the next batch of samples were laid out and sent their kids in for seconds. All of this makes actually shopping very complicated.
I started out accepting it for what it was and laughing it off as much as possible. We joked about it… commenting on the new trend for parents is to not feed their kids lunch and instead bring them to sample stations at the Costco. Then I found her. The one who sent me over the edge. Her cart parked smack in the middle of a busy main aisle while she walked with her daughter to get a box of 4000 fruit snacks. I maneuvered around her cart and kept going, then she was behind me. I stopped to get a box of pretzels and was trying to see the price. She huffed around me loudly complaining that I had stopped in the middle of the aisle. That was it, my breaking point. I said things, things like FUDGE. Only I didn’t say “Fudge.” I said THE word, the big one, the queen-mother of dirty words, the “F-dash-dash-dash” word! (to borrow from A Christmas Story). That made this lady cover her daughter’s ears and run away from me in horror (Insert eye roll – like she’s never said it!). I was the mud…. She was the glitter – at least in her version of the story.
I find more and more that people are either so self-absorbed they don’t notice the other people around them or they just truly feel they are more important than others in general. I’m not sure which but as I continue to find these people I definitely lose my glitter.
Sparkle on readers… sparkle on!