Yesterday I was sitting outside the Boys and Girls Club, waiting for Ayla to return from the recycling center so we could go home. The small school bus carrying Ayla pulled into the lot, driven by the very amazing young woman, we shall call her Ms. X, who runs the healthy living programs at the club. She is smart and fierce and I'm glad the girls have her around as a role model. As she pulled in, a man on a bike pulled up next to her, shouted "HEY!", and proceeded to harangue her for some incident that I had not witnessed. Ayla heard everything, including, she says, his threats to call the police if this happened again. I mostly heard the man yelling at a young woman driving a school bus full of kids. I heard Ms. X apologize and say, "You didn't signal." "I didn't have time to signal," the man yelled back.
I don't know who was in the right here, as far as the driving and cycling go. I didn't see any of it. But I did see the man continue to yell, in front of a school bus full of children, after Ms. X had calmly apologized. And I'm pretty ashamed of myself that I didn't stand up and walk over there and intervene on her behalf. My instinct--proof that instincts are sometimes wrong--was to look away, thinking that I didn't want to embarrass anyone by witnessing the incident. I'm embarrassed, actually, to type those words. After the biker started to ride away, a different mother called out to him, something along the lines of "No more, that's enough" and he said, "You weren't in that intersection."
Embarrassed of myself is a theme in my life lately. I seem to have lost a certain filter and have been too blunt (except of course when I need to be, as in the situation above). I say things I shouldn't. I don't feel safe blogging or having opinions on the internet--not that that was ever safe to begin with. People keep asking me for money. Twice at work, patrons have come in and tried to sell me things. It's so uncomfortable. I feel guilty and angry at once. Last week I drove to PetSmart to get heart worm preventative for my pet. I didn't know this was necessary as we don't worry about getting heart worm from mosquitoes in Colorado. I'm such an amateur at insect borne diseases that I didn't even know that PetSmart doesn't sell heart worm preventative. You have to get it through a vet or online from Australia. As I was leaving a woman pulled up to me in her car. There was a child in the back and an old man who kept his gaze forward and his jaw stubborn as the woman asked me for gas money. "We've had a death in the family. We're trying to get to Sarasota. We have ten dollars." I was confounded and confused. Compassion warred with some form of street smarts. Be kind, don't get taken advantage of. "I'm so sorry," I lied. "I don't have any cash." The woman nodded, started to cry, and drove away. "Jesus," I said once I got into my car. "Jesus." It's my job to make our grocery money last two weeks and I don't always manage it. "Jesus." I drove through the parking lot, past the Michael's and the TJ Maxx until I found the same car in front of Target. I don't want to say how much I gave them. As I reached in the window and handed the cash to her, the woman knew I had lied. But she had known already, as soon as it happened. We'd seen it all in each other's eyes. Everything.