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Par la Grâce du poisson

By April 26, 2007thoughts

Can’t stop thinking about this. Must tell you about it.

Tuesday morning, Zoe and Lucy were really, really, really slow getting ready and we were really, really, really late leaving for school. I’m not terribly horribly concerned with being late for school, but Tuesday, all the not listening to me, and all the not getting ready, and all the doing other things instead of getting ready, well, it got to me. Usually I am a deep well of patience with Lucy and Zoe. Tuesday I wasn’t.

So we left the house and I was not in the best mood. And we were so absurdly late it was as if we were parodying lateness. So I wasn’t being the most patient driver. So when we were stopped at a red light and the light turned green and the car in front of me didn’t start driving within a normal amount of time of the light changing, I said to her (from the isolation booth of my own car), “C’mon fish lady. Let’s go.”

She had an ichthys on her car. You know, the fish symbol? For Christianity? Not my proudest moment, for sure. But I’m sharing it with you to show just how deep the depths of my feeling guilty for being in such a crappy mood could go.

So she paused. A good long pause. And then she started to go, but immediately had to stop as a car from our left was suddenly careening through the 4-way, 12-lane intersection. As it made a 90-degree turn through the (shockingly empty) crossroads, the car was squealing tires rocking as though Bo or Luke Duke was behind the wheel. But actually, I think I saw an elderly woman in the passenger seat. Or someone with a white, hair-done hairdo who sat very low in the seat.

If the woman in front of me had gone when our light turned green, she would have been hit square on (like a capital T) by the fast-moving out-of-control car. Lucky we were right next to the hospital, because that’s where she would have been headed next. We would have been much later to school, or worse, we would have crashed into the back of the car that got hit, and possibly been crashed into by the car behind us. And then where would me and my foul mood have been — guilt over being in such a bad mood with Zoe and Lucy coupled with dealing with a car accident, compounded by heavy guilt over mentally urging the woman to go when she clearly needed to be waiting. I would have been a mess.

As for the woman, did she know that the General Lee was headed right for her? Was she forewarned? Does having a fish on your car work sort of like having a Police Benevolent Association sticker? Spritual driving insurance? Or does she always enter intersections cautiously? Maybe something that happened in her past now informs her every visit to a green light? She didn’t appear to be doing anything else — rifling through her purse for her ringing cell phone, fiddling with the radio — she appeared to be just sitting there, ready to go but just not going.

Maybe she just didn’t notice the light had changed. Who knows.

What I do know is this: it was a good thing that woman didn’t go when our light turned green. And if the ichthys on her car had anything to do with it, well all the better. We could all use a little intervention sometimes from higher powers; especially in the morning. More power to her.

I can’t say I was in a better mood after that, but you can darn well bet I was a little nicer to Zoe and Lucy the rest of the way to school. It doesn’t pay to be a bratty mom when someone is watching.

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