‘Tis Christmas, y’all. Today, I was dragged kicking and screaming to the local shopping mall. You see, my MO is that I don’t venture near the mall anytime between the day after Thanksgiving until everyone goes back to work after the first of the year. It is insane out there and I am far too crabby to deal with crowded stores, rude cashiers, screaming kids with moms screaming at them and people cutting me off in traffic. In fact, you could say that my pre-menopause combined with my low tolerance threshold for nonsense is a dangerous combination that is sure to result in me telling a few people what I really think about their Christmas spirit.
At Walgreen’s, I waiting in line behind a young mother with a beautiful tow-headed daughter. The child was chattering away and her mother ignored her. Every once in a while, the mother would sigh or tell the girl to stand still. The child was simply happily swaying from side to side, for example, and the mother said, “Stand still!” The tone of voice the mother used was similar to one I might use if a slimy worm tried to sleep on my pillow. Her tone was filled with disgust and dislike and she seemed as though she cared more about her $4 bleach job on her hair than her beautiful child. The cashier mentioned that the child could be “Mom’s special helper,” trying to diffuse the situation. The mother said, “Pfft! She isn’t a helper. She is being bad. BAD!”
That was it. I couldn’t help myself. I said, “You know. There are dozens of parents in Connecticut who would be happy just to have their child with them this holiday season. You really are lucky.”
The woman behind me shouted, “Amen!”
The mother left, probably to go out in the parking lot and beat her child, but hopefully with a new perspective on life. I doubt it, but you never know.
Then, there was the actual mall. Yes, you guessed it. Someone stole my spot I’d been waiting on. I really wanted to go Madea on him, but I restrained myself in an attempt to set a good example for my teen daughter. After fighting the crowds, dealing with a rude cashier who probably should work so far away from the public that he lives in the middle of Antarctica, and a long, and a slow walk behind people spread all the way across the aisles, we made it to the exit of the mall. As we attempted to leave, NO ONE would let us out. After about ten minutes, there was a break. I pulled into the right lane and put my blinker on for the left. This is when the woman in the left lane decided to speed up and try to cut me off. (Welcome to Clarksville, Indiana, land of the not friendly at all). I looked over my shoulder to see if I could get over behind her and caught her telling me to “blank off”. I don’t know what happened. I think Madea did take over my body, because I suddenly hit the gas and moved in front of her. Looking in the rear-view mirror, I could see her cussing me and making gestures. “Hateful jerk,” I said. “That’s what you get for being so mean and nasty.” I had beat her! Strangely, I felt suddenly giddy.
At least until I pulled up in front of the Family Christian bookstore to run inside and my teen daughter, who has a way of stating the obvious, smiled sweetly and said, “Yes, mom, call people names and then go into the Christian bookstore. Good job.”
That was the moment I realized that I’d become like “them”. All those holiday shoppers who had forgotten what the Christmas spirit is all about. I asked God to forgive me and to help me remember myself next time. It probably won’t happen, because I’m one of those stubborn daughters he has to deal with, but I did ask and I will try. So, on a parting thought as we end 2012 and head into 2013… Love God above everything else, hug your family every chance you get, ignore the jerks of the world — those parking spot thieves and traffic cutter-offers — instead remember the true gift of Christmas wasn’t given on Christmas at all but was given on an amazing Friday when Christ died so we could be forgiven for calling people jerks and forgetting just what He did for us for a moment.
Merry – not crabby – Christmas, everyone!