Sense. Not so Common.

Some days I don’t have the brains God gave a piss ant.

I read the same newspapers as everyone else. I watch the same TV news shows. Hear the same radio programs.

It’s not like I don’t know we have crazies all over the place, just looking for a reason to open their own carefully hoarded cans of whup-ass.

And it’s not like I haven’t spent most of my life avoiding confrontations. My mom with the legendary temper taught me the importance of that particular survival skill.

So it’s a little surprising to me that at a time when I should be appreciating the fragility of life, now that I’m a little older and a little more wobbly on my feet, I’m actually learning to stand my ground.

Oh, not in that “Annie, get your gun” way that we have here in Florida.

I’m talking about those “Oh, HELL no” moments that hit for no good reason except you’re just tired of sucking it up. Every. Single. Time. The stupid situations that make you decide to draw your line in the sand.

Happened to me several years back.

I was driving. My friend Bob was in the passenger seat. It was hot and sticky and humid and everything that makes a summer in Florida turn rational people into raving maniacs.

Bob and I were on a mission, looking for a parking space at the local Publix so we could each do our shopping. We were chatting amiably enough, driving down one of the angle-in parking aisles, more than three-quarters of the way along the line of cars, when some chucklehead pulled into the aisle AGAINST the grain.

Wouldn’t have been a problem, except the opposing driver, seeing that the aisle was too narrow for our cars to pass each other without scraping sides, decided that HE was going to wait for ME to back up the entire length of the aisle.

Oh, HELL no. It was hot and sticky and humid and THIS time, by God, I was SO in the right that I just didn’t want to reward someone else’s bad behavior.

Bob was impressed. He’d watched me give way time after time to people who hadn’t earned what they were taking. This was a New and Improved Billie. I couldn’t afford to back down by backing up, if I wanted to keep my friend’s respect.

At least, that was the rationale.

So Chucklehead stopped his car and proceeded to shoo me backwards.

I smiled and shook my head. I stuck a hand out my window and pointed at all the cars angled in his direction. “Look, idiot,” I thought. “You’re going the wrong way.” He did not read my mind. Instead, he stuck a hand out his window and gave me a single-digit salute. “Right back atcha,” I thought. But I stood my macadam.

We sat there glaring at each other for another 15 seconds or so. He inched forward. I figured that if I was at a dead stop when he hit me, he’d get the ticket. I threw the car in PARK, turned off the ignition, and crossed my arms. It got hotter and stickier when the car wasn’t running, but there was principle involved here. “Sorry,” I tossed over to Bob. He just nodded.

Another 15 seconds went by. Still Chucklehead refused to back up and find a better parking aisle.

His passenger decided to take matters into her own hands and got out of the car, glaring at me like crazy. As she shut her car door, she happened to really LOOK at the way the cars were parked in the aisle.

YES! She got it! She got back in the car and gave her friend the whup-ass.

Chucklehead backed up. YESSS!

I felt exhilarated: I’d stood my ground! I’d WON!

Now for the folks inside the store who can’t tell when they have more than 10 items in the Express Lane …

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About Billie Noakes

The writer you want for crisp, clean copy.
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