Friday, November 02, 2007

[Update: I did send a revised resume, with a short but funny/mildly-self-deprecating email; the guy wrote me back almost immediately saying not to worry, he hadn't read the previous one yet. Sorry for ignoring your advice, commenters; I went with a former co-worker's opinion.]

Last Thursday, I drove CJ to a CVS to get eye drops and much-needed pain reliever for an eye thing he was going through. I could tell it really hurt because he was kind of trembling and not-talking. While cruising through the parking lot, a big old sedan in front of me suddenly stopped. So, I pulled into the open spot he had just passed, and parked. As CJ and I searched the car for his pain-killing prescription (with increasing distress), a very angry man suddenly knocked at the window. "Do you do that a lot, stealing people's parking spaces!?" I opened the door to be polite and asked him to repeat himself. He did. I said, "Oh, were you going to back into it or something? I didn't know." (By the way, there were plenty of parking spaces. Plenty. And the dick didn't have his blinkers on.) He said something angry to me back, about being careful or something, and how I should watch out and pay attention (I didn't pay attention). He was so furious, so furious at ME. I suddenly got angry, and as he walked away, I said to his back, "You don't have to be an asshole about it." He immediately turned and rushed up to the car saying, "Excuse me? Did I use bad language with you??" I glanced over at CJ, still wincing and fumbling around in the dark for the prescription, and I said, "No, fine, you're right. Have a good night" -- that last bit said with sweetness and only a tiny hint of sarcasm.

After he walked away and the adrenaline rush subsided, I felt like crying. We decided the prescription was not in the car; this was bad, and meant he'd have to just use Advil. As I walked a blind CJ to the CVS, I had to excuse my bad behavior to CJ: see, I used to just turn meek and yielding when confronted with jerks, but now I stand up for myself, maybe a little too much, when I should really be polite but firm. Plus, because CJ had his eyes closed, I felt I had to convince him that I hadn't actually knowingly cut the guy off. (He doesn't know me well enough yet to know I don't pull that crap.) But replaying what had just happened made me feel worse and less-together. I nearly fell apart in the freakin' CVS, and I think it all happened because I'm unemployed.

Here's why: My ego has taken a big hit, which I didn't really expect from being laid off; I don't feel it consciously. I know I'm good at what I do (or used to do). But I am definitely more insecure than I have been in a long time. It's not a good feeling. Nobody's more critical of me than I am. I don't know how to counteract this, except to just be aware of it. I hope I don't end up stripping for cash just to feel better about myself. If you catch me on the pole, please pull me off of it.

Inside CVS, CJ sat in the waiting area while I collected the other stuff he needed. As he occasionally blotted at his teary, shut eyes, and I held his hand and tried to distract him from the pain, I thought I saw the angry guy walking up the aisle. I hoped he saw me, and I hoped he felt guilty.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Scratched cornea?

Mom

debl said...

Actually, blindness brought on by untreated syphilis.



Kidding!

Short Hands said...

Untreated Syphilis (untreated by anything but mercury that is) actually creates an insanity which is often accompanied by mad (literally mad) creativity and genius. Yes, I said genius. Beethoven genius. Keep paper, piano and whatever other tools (handsaw and soft wood?) applicable to CJ available as he goes through that stage (usually followed by death.)

He's lucky to have a caring, nurturing doll like you. Keep up the inspiring doin's.

Short Hands said...

oh, you said, "Kidding!" never mind. (About the syphilis, not about how wonderful you are.)

Anonymous said...

I one time had a similar situation at the gas station. I saw an open pump and pulled in an this total ahole started shouting at me and yelling, "Don't EVEN try to tell me you DIDN'T see me!" But I really didn't. And I was confused about why he was so angry at an obvious misunderstanding.

Some people are just so filled with venom that they're roaming the world looking for a place to spill it. You can't let the people like that shake your nerve. You can thank your lucky stars you're not as miserable.

-Jennifer Myszkowski