The Prompt:

What should you have done this year but didn’t because you were too scared, worried, unsure, busy or otherwise deterred from doing? (Bonus: Will you do it?) (Author: Jake Nickell)

I am drawing a real, totally not kidding, they’re-going-to-pelt-me-with-tomatoes blank on this question, dear readers.  No shit.  It’s a great question, and thought provoking, but I’ve got nothing for you.  The only things I can think of are miniscule and pointless, and certainly not fodder for a blog post.  To give you an idea, I’ll list some of them now:

1.  I never made good on my goal to “eat clean” this year.  At some point, I’ll get into my fascination/obsession with fitness and the shape of my body, but not here and now.  Suffice it to say that I shall be making good on that goal in 2011.

2.  I didn’t finish making the Christmas presents that I said I was going to.  I began the process in August, and lo and behold, all the materials and unfinished products are still sitting in a rubbermaid container in my spare bedroom.  Yes Virginia, Santa will be late this year. (btw, it’s impossible to knit and type at the same time.)

3.  I have not yet burned all my CDs to an external hard drive.  I hate hate hate hate that that box is taking up space, but I just can’t seem to get around to it.

See?  Boring.  Who cares about that shit?  If I don’t care enough to complete it, why would you want to read it?  So, in the spirit of retaining readership, I’ll tell you about my trip to the post office today to send out what few presents WERE ready for receipt.

I arrived at about 10:30am and noticed that that STILL wasn’t early enough to miss the holiday traffic.  The parking lot was full of Lincoln Continentals and Cadillacs, and I braced myself to rub elbows with the Blue Hairs.  Settle down, people, settle down, I’m not about to go off on someone’s grandparents.  I happen to like old people.  They’re annoying when you’re stuck behind them in line, for sure, but I believe they’ve earned that right, so I always take a breath and ask myself what I’d want the girl in line behind MY OWN grandmother to act like and adjust my attitude accordingly.

That said, I AM NOT going to spare the little shit on the opposite end of the age spectrum who was obviously without what my friend J.H. would call Home Training.  I was standing in line (with, conservatively, 30 people in front of me), and trying to keep myself occupied by translating the telephone conversation of the lady behind me whose daughter, best I can gather, was traveling up from Arizona.  (I have a relatively good grasp of Spanish, so after a couple minutes, I felt personally invested, and really DO hope that the flan makes it in one piece!)  As she hung up the phone, I swung my gaze toward the front of the line, and noticed, for the first time, a little girl of about 7 years old, staring at me with her finger up her nose.

Now, kids will be kids, and they’re curious by nature, but something about this little girl rubbed me the wrong way.  It could have been the crust of mucus under her nose, or the purple Kool-Aid mustache, but it wasn’t.  It was the fact that her stare wasn’t curious, it wasn’t accompanied by a smile, it was full-on, rude, STARING.  Rude staring that was lasting a really long time.  Long enough that she had time to eat what she’d found up there twice before I understood what was happening.  And so, I did what any grown-ass woman would do in my situation, and I STARED RIGHT BACK at her.

Did she turn her eyes away? Maybe even remove her index finger (up to her second knuckle, btw) from her nose?  NO.  She squared her shoulders, leaned forward, wrinkled her crusty little beak and sneered at me.  And that did it.  I forgot my poise, let go of the fact that I was an adult, and turned the full weight of my Italian Glare on her.  Now, I’ve got rather dark eyes, and I’ve been told they’re intimidating if met full-on in the right situations.  The truth is, I don’t need to be told that.  I know it.  It’s kind of my thing.  So I turned those suckers on, raised my left eyebrow, pursed my lips, glowered at her and pantomimed picking my own nose.

That did it.  Her eyes widened to the size of quarters, filled with tears and she turned and ran straight into her mother who was too busy talking on her cell phone about how drunk she’d been the night before to be paying attention to either her booger-eating, gape-mouthed daughter or the other three boys (also hers) running around like maniacs and bumping into the feeble oldsters who were hardly supported by various walking apparatus.

My point is this:  If I, a complete stranger, can teach someone’s daughter that it’s impolite both to stare, and to pick her nose in public JUST BY GLARING, imagine what a little ACTUAL PARENTING can do.


9 thoughts on “Beyond Avoidance

  1. O. M. G. I LOVE it! You were 100% right for doing that! It is so funny, also, what you said about imagining the “blue hairs” as your grandmothers- my older sis and I were at the post office today, too, and there was an older lady in front of my sister. I was sitting down since I just had my hip replaced and tend to have a lot more patience than my sis. She was getting antsy and started sighing all loud and shit until I told her, “What if that was mom?” and that totally calmed her down! Well, it calmed her down a little bit. The lady WAS taking a long time;) Holidays are CRAZY!!!

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