Monday, March 15, 2010

First we taught him to talk, now we teach him to be quiet

When angry, count to four.  When very angry, swear.
-- Mark Twain

Like most people, I yell at other drivers when I'm in the car.  And like most people, I do it with the windows up so they can't hear me.  I don't really suffer from road rage much - it's just a habit, a verbal way of blowing off steam, but it's rare that I'm ever truly angry with other people on the road.  It's just not worth the time and effort.

And when Zeke is in the car, if I do "talk" to other drivers, I generally limit myself to sarcasm rather than swearing, because he is a total sponge these days.  Everything he hears, he repeates.  Ad nauseum.

But every once in a while, something makes me so furious it takes me by surprise.  

Like this past weekend.

Saturday was a beautiful, glorious, sunny, warm day in Denver.  Spring was showing signs of definitely springing soon.  Of course, everyone was out, at the parks, running, playing at the playgrounds, you name it.

We had talked about going to the zoo.  But if you don't get there early on a nice day -- especially the first warm, sunny day in weeks -- you're totally fucked in terms of being able to find a parking space.

So of course, we didn't get organized early and by the time we got to the zoo it was a complete mob scene.  Within the parking lot itself, it was huge masses of cars circling and circling and not a lot of finding empty spaces.  We made our way down the ramps at the parking deck, searching in vain for a spot, any spot, but there was nothing to be found.  

Until we got to the very bottom level of the parking deck, and back in the corner, there was a woman standing next to the open door of a minivan, and next to her was an empty space, with a stroller in it.  The woman was fiddling around on her phone.

We pulled up to the spot.  We looked at her.  She looked at us.  I made a "nu?"* type of gesture and pointed to the spot.  And she said, "I'm saving it."

At this point, we had been crawling through the parking lot for at least 20 minutes.  Our kids were both being good, but Zeke was getting restless and was ready to get out of the car and do something.  And it wasn't just an affront to me; there was a long line of cars snaking throughout the parking deck, in both directions, full of families with children, trying to find a place to park.  So this woman was violating every rule of parking deck etiquette in the book, and was being a rude hag about it, to boot.

"No! You do not get to save spots!"  I yelled at her.  Both front passenger windows were open, so she definitely heard me.

She looked at me and shrugged and went back to fiddling with her phone, like one of those a-holes from the SNL sketch a few years back.

I totally blew a gasket.

"EXCUSE ME!  You can't save spots when people are waiting like this."

She refused to look at me.  I contemplated getting out of the car and moving the stroller (or throwing it against the wall), but retained at least a modicum of sanity and stayed where I was.  

But not without a parting shot.

"YOU'RE AN ASSHOLE!"  I screamed.  

"Fucking COW!"  Jason added.

Then we drove off.  And realized that Zeke was sitting back there, listening intently.

We looked at each other sheepishly, praying that Zeke wouldn't start repeating anything he had heard.  We strongly believe in not swearing in front of the children, and rarely, if ever, slip up.  We whispered to each other in the front seat.  "What is the matter with us??"

Thankfully, Zeke was quiet until we were inching back up the parking deck ramp, trying to get out, and I said, "I can't believe that woman.  Dammit!"

And Zeke said, "dammit!  dammit!  dammit!"

"Zeke, honey, that's not a nice word.  Mommy shouldn't have used it, and you shouldn't use it either."

"Let's get out of here," Jason said.  "We can go to the park."

"Yeah!" said Zeke.  "Let's get outta here!  Let's get outta here!  Let's get outta here!"

Dodged a bullet on that one.

*Yiddish for "well?"


  1. Ha-ah! So funny Fred dropped an F-bomb in front of Walt. It was quite the new word until we taught him to replace it with "fiddlesticks!"

  2. Anonymous2:12 PM

    Zeke went straight Florida Evans on her! LOVE IT! Don't condone it but you gotta admit that was funny!


  3. Anne - I seriously don't know what came over us. But it still makes my blood boil when I think about it, so clearly she touched a nerve. In any event, I guess Zeke was zoned out at the right time. I'll take "dammit" over "fucking cow" any day.

    Sherice - it is hilarious to hear my own words parroted back at me, even when it's not the words I'm proud of.

  4. The best thing you can be is aware of it. It's when I'm not that the words just fly. This post cracked me up. So did the title.

  5. Lisa - I usually am aware of it - I'm still amazed at how crazy I got. Re the title, it's a play on an old Phyllis Diller one-liner.

  6. My brother once said he was scared his daughter's first words would be "The light is GREEN idiot!"

  7. Foggy - Ha! I've had similar fears, myself. Josie's will probably be "GENTLE WITH THE BABY!" because that's what I yell every time Zeke starts to maul her.