Why I’m Just Sitting Here Annoying You
I’m sitting in my car, at the crosswalk, in the middle of the street at Walmart, and the guy behind me is mad. I can tell by the disgruntled expression on his face, if not by the angry gestures. But I’m not moving. Not yet.
I want to get out of my car and tell him,
If I’m not moving right now, it may be because I can see something you can’t, and the time is not yet right to go forward.
That’s something I’ve tried to tell friends and colleagues over the last couple of years, regarding different subjects in my life. It’s something I’ve wanted to say to other people who, to me, should be moving forward on certain plans but are slow-as-molasses-in-wintertime annoyingly not moving forward. Or backward. Or sideways. They seem to be stuck. Just as, to my friends, I sometimes seem to be stuck.
Just as to the irate driver behind me in the Walmart parking lot, I seem to be stuck.
I’m not. I’m simply choosing the right moment and aware of the consequences.
But the driver behind me does not know this. This driver in the other car has been part of my life for less than 30 seconds, and that includes speeding down the main street, whipping around the corner, and standing on the brakes to stop behind me.
A day ago, I was prepping the guest room to be repainted. I’d planned to spend the day painting, but the job turned out to be a lot bigger than I’d thought. I had to break the effort into baby steps, including moving everything out of the room, cleaning up some unexpected messes a previous guest (I don’t know which one) left behind the bed and tried to hide, removing nails and picture hangers from the walls, cleaning the baseboards, filling the holes with spackling paste, taping the edges, and finally…painting. So a job I’d expected to finish within a day off quickly became a weekend to weeklong project.
An hour ago, I popped the lid off the container of spackle and found that it was hard and dry and useless, even though I’d bought it a month ago when I’d decided to paint the room, right before I got too busy with a million unexpected life-invaders.
Thirty minutes ago, I ignored the idea of a quick shower or change of clothes and decided to make a Walmart run for spackle, at the risk of ending up on the People of Walmart website for the way I looked, if not smelled. I’d had quite a morning workout!
A minute ago, I’d turned down the street in front of Walmart and stopped at the crosswalk for a father and his two little boys, probably 4 and 6 years old. Dad had a cart full of fishing gear, and each little boy carried a fishing rod, dipping it in the air or swaying it like a Samurai sword. I could have gone on ahead and left them gathering at the crosswalk, the father trying to coral the boys, but he and I made eye contact and I knew he was struggling a bit. So I stopped the car, appropriately, at the crosswalk and waved him across to let him know that yes, I was most definitely stopping to allow his children to cross.
Fifty seconds ago, Dad acknowledged me with a nod and pushed the cart across in front of me, eyes on the other side of the road and both boys within reach.
Forty-five seconds ago, the two little boys lagged behind their dad’s footsteps, their attention caught by something in the wrong direction, and both stopped in the street.
Forty seconds ago, the older boy realized his dad had crossed the other lane without noticing his children weren’t at his side. The boy looked up at me across the expanse of car hood, and then raced off after his father.
Thirty-five seconds ago, the younger boy was still standing 3 feet in front of my car, his attention on something behind him, but I was the only human on the planet with my attention on him.
Thirty seconds ago, the driver behind me whipped around the corner and slammed on brakes behind me. From his perspective, all he could see was a female driver sitting at the crosswalk. Just sitting. Blocking his path. Annoying him.
Five seconds ago, the little boy in the street realized his dad and brother were already–what to him must’ve seemed like–miles away in the parking lot. But he didn’t take off running. No, instead he slowly turned toward them and started across the street in front of me, step by step by gradual-little-tiny-boy-step out of my path.
One second ago, the driver in the car behind me heaved an obvious sigh. His jaw jerked sideways, tugging his mind in the direction of passing me.
But he didn’t. Not yet.
I am sitting at the crosswalk, not moving, not going forward, when the driver behind me sees for the first time why I am sitting still.
The little boy putters along, out of my path, then across the lane and toward his father, who is now turning to stretch out his hand and urge the kids to catch up so he can take them fishing.
When the path is clear, I move forward. The moment is now right.