September 25, 2011

Talker's block...

Long ago and far away, my brother and I sat in our mother's Ford Escort while she drove us to a local mall.  

We went to malls a lot; it's what you do when you're a teenager in New Jersey.  This time, though, Mom was coming into the mall with us to do some shopping, so instead of dropping us off at the doors, she circled the lot for a parking spot.  Mom drove up and down the crowded aisles that we'd seen a million times before, searching for somewhere, anywhere to park. 

When a spot opened up right in front of us, Mom rolled the car to a stop and flipped on her blinker, the universal sign for "Hey, everyone! I got here first! This spot is mine!"  But the car pulled out in such a way that we couldn't pull right in, and as we watched in dismay, another car zipped into the spot. Our spot.  Mom was furious.

So she pulled the car over and hopped out.  As the offending driver exited his car, Mom walked behind him and called out, "Excuse me, excuse me, sir!" He turned around.  She was purple, my Mom, and the was no telling what would happen next. My brother and I braced ourselves for a four-letter-word diatribe, but it was not to be.  As soon as the man stopped and turned, Mom got in his face and said...

"Excuse me, but I just wanted to tell you that you are a rude dude, sir."

Yep.  You got it.  A single, embarrassing rhyme. A rude dude.

I have no idea what happened next, as the utterly black world of humiliated teen angst opened up and swallowed me whole.  

Rude dude? Really, Mom? That was the best you had?

(Please note: I'm sure I over-reacted, and it wasn't that embarrassing...but still...we tease her about it to this day.)

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But then...

Today, it was hot in Charleston. And ohmigosh, I am SO sick of the heat. It's September, people! Time to cool the heck off!  But no. The thermometers crept way too close to 90 today, and I was mad about it. And I had to go grocery shopping in the heat. Ugh.

One coping mechanism I've developed for hot-day-grocery-shopping is to always park near the little cart-drop-off areas, because I hate to unload groceries into a baking car and then close them in to walk halfway across the lot to return my cart. And God forbid I not return a cart! I am such a goodie-two-shoes rules follower! I hate to get yelled at, and some little part of me is terrified that the Grocery Store Gods will strike me down and YELL AT ME if I don't return my cart.

So, I always look for those spots near a cart return. They're not typically hard to find, so long as you don't mind the long walk into and out of the store.

But today, lightning struck, and even though it was a Sunday afternoon when everyone and their mother goes to the grocery, as I pulled into the lot I spied two spots that were both near the cart return AND close to the actual store!  Score!

However, both spots were down an aisle that only allowed traffic in one direction; I had to circle around to go down the aisle in the appropriate direction to get to the spots.  So I carefully turned on my blinker and started my loop.  (See above re: goodie-two-shoes rules follower...)

To my surprise, a car that was behind me cut across the empty spots to zip in front of me to get to the spots! And then, another car went the WRONG WAY down the aisle to get to the other one!

Burned!!!

That moment with my mother at the mall came back to me, and for a moment I imagined all the non-rhyming things I would say to these to bastards who stole BOTH of my spots.  I yanked my car into the nearest spot, got out, slammed my door, and started storming towards the offending drivers.

And then...I got talker's block. I had nothing to say. I was purple, I was angry, I had been wronged, but I could say NOTHING. 

Instead, I walked sheepishly past the bastards and did my grocery shopping in sullen silence.

So...maybe there's something to be said for rhymes? I mean, at least Mom said SOMETHING, right? 

Me? The writer? I had nothing.

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Later on I remembered this link a friend of mine sent me last week, all about writer's block vs. the idea of "talker's block." (Since I clearly had talker's block at the store today...)  It's great advice, and only made me wonder for a minute if my friend wasn't saying I write poorly... Give it a glance if you have a sec.  It's better than my silly story above. 

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