So then the lady on crack chased after me and I had to call 911…

I’ve never called 911 before. Fortunately, I have never had to. When my dad had his prostate removed I came the closest to it after he was experiencing an extremely high level of pain and we thought he might have a medical emergency post-op, but we ended up getting him to the hospital in due time with out the need to call for an emergency.

We haven’t had too many problems at home that have necessitated such a call either. I’ve always thought that 911 was for true, life threatening emergencies only. When someone tried to break into our apartment a few weeks ago but ran away when I made noise, I didn’t consider this an emergency so called the non-emergency number. When the neighbors upstairs had a party until 5:30 in the morning last weekend, again – while I know a lot of people do call 911 for things like that, I stuck with the complex security so that people whose lives are in danger could get the real response.

But then a lady who was clearly high on crack, drunk on one too many vodka tonics, or just plain insane in the membrane chased after me after my leisurely lunch of pizza and salad.

Imagine the scenario:

I – a stay at home, homeschooling mother with, yes, a feisty temper and very honest personality, but who generally tries to be a nice person – am pulling out of the Toppers Pizza parking lot after we had a nice and relaxing lunch of pizza and salad. We had a pretty  hard morning, dealing with some bank drama after my husband’s credit card number was stolen and continues to not be resolved (it’s never simple, is it?), so I figured that lunch and some tennis would be a great way to spend the rest of the day to wind down before the weekend.

I am waiting at the EXIT of the parking lot for the traffic to clear so that I may pull out and all of a sudden this humungous, silver SUV comes roaring up and drives over the curb and the grass in front of me.

“What the … ???” to myself is all I say and then the traffic clears and I pull out and turn onto my street.

All of a sudden, though, that same SUV is in my rear mirror and the woman is now weaving in and out between the lane I am in and the lane next to me. She’s screaming. She keeps driving as close as she can to myself and the other car next to me, who has already pulled out their phone and appears to be calling the police.

We get to a light and the crazy lady comes within an inch of slamming into the back of my car. So I blow a red light to turn into the nearest parking lot, and all I can see is this woman flipping the bird and making a face that can be described not in words but rather this:

(She kind of looked like Kirstie Alley, only on crack-cocaine, too.)

As I am dialing 911, I see her speed off, already harassing another car. She is honking her horn repeatedly and the sheriff on the phone with me at this point can hear. I give the report and head home, completely traumatized.

What in the hell is going on with this world? I encounter assholes every day it seems. Is it because I am active and participate in things within my community? Or is it because I attract it? Is it because I am paying attention, while many others are just floating along with their minds numbed out on their cell phones and TV shows? In all honesty, I do believe it is the latter; but when the lady on crack chased after me and I had to call 911, I don’t really care what it is. I really and truly at this point just want it to stop.

I can take someone sneezing in my food.

I can take someone yelling at me and my kid for her crying in swim class.

I can take a lot and look back at it afterwards and see the humor of it. I understand that a lot of the way people are now is just a reflection of how stressful the California lifestyle is. I get that so much of the way people act is because they are tightly wound as a result of a shitty economy and a fast-paced, high-stress way of life. And I get that a lot of Californians really are just narcissistic pricks – whatever, I can take all of that and laugh about it at the end of the day, no matter how awful it seems.

But a crazy lady on crack chasing me down the street, endangering Pookies and my lives? I can’t take that. I really can’t. On the phone with the sheriff, I started crying and she said she understood exactly why I was upset and scared. We got home just a bit ago and I am still shaking. It is frightening just how far some of these people will go; or how far they will go without even knowing it or getting the help they need.

I’m going to go retreat, now … retreat to my wine and my cheese and hide in my home until the storm appears to have cleared outside. Who even knows when that will be.

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The World Does Not Stop…

I’m not quite sure why this has happened, but more and more it seems that people have this weird idea that the world stops just because [fill in the blank] has happened to them.  To be honest (and I’m sure this will annoy some of you closest to me), it really makes me pause and question just where our heads are.  Sad to say, I think they are on (ahem, in) the wrong end.

So to help us all get those proverbial heads out of our real-life asses, I’ve decided to make a list of things that the world does not stop for.  The point is not only to advocate for a healthier, less egocentric viewpoint (typical of the misanthropic vein of this blog); but more importantly to harken back to the idea of happy and healthy balance that we discussed yesterday.  There is hope for everyone, and there is no room for “well everyone has different priorities…”  So with that in mind:

The world does not stop … because you are having a baby.  Remember that first blog on this new site about the tendency people have now to act like they are the first people on the planet to have a baby?  Well, you aren’t … and the world does not stop for that very reason.

The world does not stop … because you have a big project going on at work.  This one hits really close to home for me.  While I know that in a trying economy, employees want to bend over backwards to please their employers or open new career paths, there still must be a balance to make sure you do not hurt your entire life in the process.  If you cannot have that balance, you either need to find a new job or consider whether it is the best time in your life to take on that extra level of responsibility.  Just because you are working 24/7 does not mean that bills can go unpaid, kids can go uncared for, prior commitments can be canceled, and relationships outside of work can just set to autopilot.  That just isn’t the case.

The world does not stop … because you are planning a big event.  It could be a wedding; it could be a baby shower.  In any event, as important as that big event seems to you, a lot of people around you don’t care.  Remember with friends, family, and coworkers to talk about things they are interested in; and give them a chance to talk about their big things too.

The world does not stop … because your girlfriend/boyfriend dumped you.  Get over it:  there are plenty of fish in the sea, right?  Just because your girlfriend/boyfriend couldn’t take your snoring/feet/body hair anymore, doesn’t mean life around you ceases to continue.  Marriage is a much different story, but as for kiddie-type relationships that probably never went further than first base, try and move on.

The world does not stop … because your favorite TV show/sporting event is on.  God is there nothing more annoying than someone who will blow off an important phone call because of Dancing With the Stars; or someone that spends an entire dinner watching the baseball game showing on the big screen behind them.  Invest in a DVR if it’s that important to you.

The world does not stop … because you walked in the room.  More accurately, I should probably say “… because you got on the freeway.”  These people that act like they own the road (when the rules of it generally mandate that we should all be sharing …) really have gotten bad.  It starts with those people that do not realize they are supposed to yield to traffic when they are entering the freeway; and is capped off with those that change lanes without even looking.

The world does not stop … because you are on the rag.  Yep, I did just say that.  What a terribly sexist thing for me to say; but I’m a woman and I can say with absolute certainty that the worst thing ever is a woman that thinks the world is supposed to bow to her because she has cramps and a foul attitude.  It goes for men too (because they do, in fact, go through monthly hormonal fluctuations just like women); so perhaps I could soften it to “… because you are in a bad mood.”  However it’s phrased, take note.

 

The list could go on, but you, faithful blog followers, get the point.  Head-in-ass-syndrome could very well be substituted for “egocentric” or “narcissistic personality disorder.”  There is a healthier, balanced way to live life than you are.  Wise up and realize that the world does not stop for anything.

Pop Quiz: Do I Need Anger Management?

The other day, while waiting in line at the Disney store to make a gift purchase, I realized that for about ten minutes I had been quietly planning in my head every snarky response I would offer to the prescripted questions the cashier had for me.  I was purchasing only a $4.50 toy cell phone, so the possibilities were going to be great.  When she asked how I was doing, I would say “great now that I’m out of that twenty minute line.  Geez, I felt like I was at Disneyland.”  When she asked if I wanted to buy a reusable beach bag, I would respond “for a cell phone?”  And when she asked if I wanted to open an a credit account, I would reply sneeringly “I don’t typically shop here.”  It would be a series of ultimate burns, in my book at least.  And while I genuinely did not plan on saying any of those things to the poor cashier, who was nothing more than a victim of bad corporate policies to suggestively sell and be as annoyingly perky as possible, I nonetheless amused myself while standing in line between a family of four obnoxious children and a man who had clearly eaten one too many dishes smothered in garlic.

While I would not consider my misanthropic tendencies to be in need of anger management, others might view my tendencies to bite with words – even when I don’t actually do it – to be suspect.  Thus, to resolve this issue, I went in search of a online quiz.  You know those quizzes:  anyone that has ever read just about any magazine in popular culture, be it Seventeen, Cosmopolitan, Maxim, or US, knows that the best part is always the quiz.  The “Does [He/She] Like Me?” quiz gives us hope.  The “Would I Look Good With Short Hair?” quiz gives us ideas.  The “Am I In The Right Career?” quiz gives us ideas.  Quizzes are not only fun, but give us an outsider’s view on things in our lives that we might otherwise not be able to get an objective take on.

I did find a few quizzes on anger management, but they weren’t of your garden-variety Vogue magazine-type quizzes.  They were on websites of psychologists, and some court-related sites.  In other words, they were professionals who want to diagnose and alleviate anger issues, rather than justify them.  Snooze.

So, my lovely blog followers, I have designed this quiz to help us all distinguish whether we are quiet misanthropes or menaces to society.  Enjoy!

Do I Need Anger Management?

And if the response is “yes,” I will reply with my fist served neatly between two pieces of bread, with a smackeral of mustard.

Answer the following five questions and award yourself the number of points next to each, given answer.  At the end of the quiz, tally your points and proceed to your professional diagnosis.  Please note, while this quiz is in no way a reflection of an actual, professional opinion, your result should be taken as absolute authority.

Oh, and if the Disney chick could stop saying “I know, right?” to every polite customer comment at the cash register, this could all have been avoided.  Just saying.

(1) When you wake up in the morning, do you typically:

  • (0 points) Shower, sing “It’s a Beautiful Morning,” have a well-rounded breakfast, then stop on your way to work to pick up coffee for your co-workers because your in a great mood!
  • (5 points) Hit the snooze alarm once or twice before showering and getting ready for work.  On the way, you grab a bagel and because they messed up your order you got some free food, which you’ll give to your co-workers because you’re full.
  • (10 points) When your alarm rings, you throw it across the room and sleep for an extra hour.  You skip a shower and breakfast, but still arrive late to work muttering “they’re lucky I showed up anyway.  I am SO not paid enough to deal with this shit.”  Around break time, you steal someone’s lunch from the breakroom – HELLO!  you didn’t have time for breakfast.

(2) You stop at the grocery store to pick up a Lean Cuisine for dinner.  Compared to your one item, an elderly woman with a basket full of enough groceries for two weeks cuts in front of you in line.  You:

  • (0 points) Smile and say “go ahead, ma’am.”  After a moment of watching her struggle to get the items onto the conveyer belt, you offer to help.
  • (5 points) Sigh, mutter loud enough for the woman to hear something about how rude people are these days, and head to the self-check out aisle, even though you can never seem to figure out how to use it.
  • (10 points) Push your way in front of the woman and say “hey lady!  clearly your age has affected your eyesight because I was here first!”

(3) Apologies are for:

  • (0 points) Acknowledging that you are human and mending relationships.
  • (5 points) Making a situation better, even when you know you were in the right.
  • (10 points) Pansies.

(4) Have you ever punched another person?

  • (0 points) No.  I believe violence is not the healthiest way to resolve conflict.
  • (5 points) Yeah, I got in a few fist fights in high school, but I’m over that now.
  • (10 points) I punch people regularly.  And when I don’t, I’m punching my fist through a wall and pretending its someone’s face.

(5)  At Thanksgiving dinner, your immediate and extended family typically gets together at your parent’s home to have dinner, watch football, and catch up on family goings-on.  This year, for whatever reason, it is being held at your Aunt Hilda’s home, instead, and you were not invited.  You:

  • (0 points) Figure that Aunt Hilda probably just thought you had other plans and hope that sometime in the future you will be able to reconnect with family members you don’t see often.
  • (5 points) Express your disappointment to your immediate family (maybe your parents, or your siblings), but in the end you weren’t going to go anyway because Aunt Hilda lives in 500 miles away.
  • (10 points) Show up at the dinner anyway, slightly intoxicated, and tell everyone in your immediate and extended family just what you really think of them.  When they ask you to leave, you hit your brother and get in your car to drive over Aunt Hilda’s prize begonias.

Results

0 – 15 points Could you be any more of a push-over?  Grow a pair and start standing up for yourself, for God’s sakes!  Chances are you’re repressing a lot of anger that will come out in an unhealthy way later on down the line anyway.  There is a huge difference between being tolerant and being a complete push-over, and you my friend are a push-over.

16 – 32 points You are more of a realist, but also prefer not to get into too much conflict.  You voice your opinion, but then avoid the consequences.  While this can be a good thing in the sense that it keeps you out of trouble, it can be a bad thing because it will set you up for an avoidance complex.  Next time Aunt Hilda doesn’t invite you to Thanksgiving dinner, you should consider calling her and asking why.

33 – 50 points You definitely need anger management.   You don’t take anyone’s crap and while you wish the world (and the people in it) were a better place, you know it’s really not.  You are a realist who prefers to keep the wool off his eyes.  Rock on!

Now, here’s the caveat:  hitting people, being verbally abrasive, and driving over your Aunt’s begonias may be cathartic, but it is also not the healthiest way to function in society.  A lot of it will get you fired, arrested, or sent to a mental institution.  But to repress your true feelings is also probably one of the most unhealthy habits we carry around with us today.  Remember that episode of The Simpsons where the family went to therapy and everyone hit each other with soft bats?  That kind of therapy exists, because anger repression is just as damaging as anger actuation.

But you’re in luck:  for the low price of having made it this far through the posting, I offer you the cheapest (free) and best (seriously) anger management advice you will ever get:  do what I do.  Amuse yourself with the thoughts of all the wonderfully angry things you could do in whatever situation makes you angry.  Hell, you could even write a self-purported witty blog about it.  The key, though, is to not actually do it.  When the Disney employee annoys you beyond all belief with her happy comments, stupid questions, and dancing to “The Circle of Life” playing over the intercom, imagine smashing her face into the cash register and yelling “you are what is wrong with our society!”  But after chuckling to yourself about this thing you will never do, pay and be on your way conflict-free.  And just because you are managing your outbursts doesn’t mean you have to respond to the canned good-bye with a reciprocal “have a nice day!”