Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Slice of Life: I was mad before my first drive!

Tuesdays are for slicing about life. Join us at Two Writing Teachers!

"You're all set," the golf pro said as he handed me the two tickets to play nine holes. "Just check in with Rich at the starting gate outside and he'll let you know which course to play."

Garth was on the phone talking to one of our daughters, and Rich and I rolled our eyes at him. 

"That's why I leave my phone in the car," Rich said as Garth tried to get my attention, strap his clubs on a pull cart, and carry on his conversation. 

When I allowed that my phone was at home, Rich must have felt bonded with me because his next conversation starter was about the United States Women's Soccer team and the captain's unbelievable disregard for the National Anthem. 

"After they won an unbelievable game, that's your takeaway?" I said. "Really?" 

(I should not have even engaged in a word of conversation with him, but I couldn't resist the antagonism.)

"People like her," he went on. "It's why the country is going to hell in a handbag."

"You and I are definitely not going to agree because I have absolutely no problem with people like her and peaceful protests," I said. "I have a much bigger problem with the disproportionate numbers of Black people harmed by police brutality."

"And what about our state?" Rich continued. "Do you think we'd be in the mess we're in if we didn't have liberal democrats running it?"

I glared at Garth who was still talking on the phone, oblivious to my heightened blood pressure. How was golf going so badly on a beautiful afternoon when we hadn't even hit the first ball yet? 

"How can you relate the state's affairs to the captain of the soccer team?" I couldn't resist saying. "That's quite a stretch."

"People have no respect," he started. I can't remember what else he said, but he kept going. 

"Garth," I said. "Get off the phone. Now."

I turned back to Rich. "The last I checked, I was here for golf," I said. "Not political conversations with someone I don't know who works here."

By about my third shot, I'd cooled off enough, and I played fine despite a year off and an out-of-line starter. I also knew I'd have my slice thought through by the end of the round. 

But I've stayed sad about the interaction. No, I don't think this country is in trouble because of athletes who choose to kneel or not sing. We have larger issues, and maybe I should have handled the incident differently, although I'm not sure how. 

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Slice of Life: "My Car is Gone..."

Tuesdays are for slicing about life. Join us at Two Writing Teachers!

Since Julia is working at an internship in Boston and has a fairly long commute in the mornings and evenings, I frequently hear from her as she's driving. At 8:22, my phone rang. Yes, it was Julia. As the director of our summer writing camp I was just about to head outside to greet parents and organize students, so for a split second, I debated answering. (I ALWAYS answer my daughters' calls.)

Mom: Are you just calling to talk or is there something you need me for now?
Julia: Oooh--I'm not calling to talk. I have something important, and it's going to stress you out. 
Mom: Yes?
Julia: You're really going to be stressed. I already talked to Dad because you didn't answer a little while ago.
Mom: What Jules? 

As I walked outside, she explained how she'd walked to get the car (MY car) from where she parks (we paid A LOT for a summer parking spot) and it wasn't there. 

Mom: My car's gone? You're sure it's not towed. 
Julia: It was in my spot. Why would they tow it?

As people started to arrive, I talked her through calling the police, and I reassured her it was only money. It was a beautiful day. They didn't give her anything important to do at work, so she could be late or not make it there. 

Mom: I have to go. I'll call you in fifteen minutes when all the kids are with their teachers.

For those fifteen minutes, I tried to keep a calm demeanor, answer questions, even hold a couple of conversations. I also tried to think about when we'd have time to look at new cars or where we should go to rent one temporarily. My brain worked overtime for those few minutes. 

As I greeted kids, Julia texted me that it was towed. Okay, that's a better situation. By the time I could respond, she'd already figured out where she had to go and was heading there, and she was mad as she could be. 

Julia: They had no right to tow the car. I had the parking pass right there.
Mom: Talk to them, explain, be polite, and see what you can do. 

My morning continued with unexpected challenges-- one boy had to be carried to his class as he kicked and screamed (NOT MY program, but I was the one his mother found first!) and one of my girls didn't feel well and had to go home. (All this happened before 9:20!) And then, Julia texted again:

So now Julia knows what to do when her car is towed in a city, and she knows to make sure permits and passes are REALLY in sight, and she feels more confident in standing up for herself when she's been wronged. She might have been late to work, but she had a nice walk and she has a great story.

Happy Slicing!