One Day I Will Rule the World

World Domination, Babies and Middle Eastern Dance

October 29, 2008

Traffic Zen

I think I’m forgetting how to blog.

But I seem to recall it involves updating.

Hannah had her first day at her new daycare today. And I think it went pretty well. Ian stopped by at lunch to see how she was doing and she was just playing with the other kids. And I picked her up an hour and a half early, but she was still napping when I arrived.

After fighting with my last daycare (a week and a half ago) about the manner of her quitting, she called me the next morning and told me she was too sick to take Hannah. And then, over the weekend, she emailed me to say she was too sick to take her after the weekend. And so on, until Wednesday when she said, “now my daughter has my flu. We won’t be ready until Monday, unless you’ve found some place else by then.” I emailed her back to say that, while we had found another place, they didn’t have anything available until the 29th. And she wrote back, “okay, Monday we’re good. And I’ll refund you for the last 3 days of October.”

And what, I thought, about the six days you just took off? You know?

So. I went back to taking Hannah there for all of last week. Sometimes I thought I would bring it up to her and then sometimes I thought it wasn’t worth it. And then I would be angry and think I shouldn’t stew about it, I should do something about it. You know, at first I thought clearly she was faking being sick because she didn’t want to face me. And then I wasn’t sure. And then I would think how it didn’t matter because she never specified that I had to pay when she was sick, and I’m not her employer, I’m a customer. So if she wants benefits like sick days, it’s up to her to charge enough on regular days that she can cover her own benefits, not charge me for services I never receive.

This last weekend, I realized that since my fight with her, her husband had always been on-hand for my dropping off and picking up Hannah. Like, he must have been leaving later for work and coming home earlier in order to be on-hand. And that made me return to thinking she was faking or exagerrating the sick in order to avoid me until I made it clear she couldn’t avoid me all month.

I got all set to write her an email this last weekend asking for a refund for those days and laying out why I felt like she was in the wrong and ripping me off.

But I didn’t.

And then, our final day came. And I went to pick up Hannah. And she had packed up all of Hannah’s stuff and handed me a cheque that covered only the refund for those three days. And I pocketed it, and walked out with Hannah and never said anything.

That night, I went for a drive to deposit the cheque. And, driving back, I can’t remember what was playing, but you know how music does it to you sometimes. I just burst into tears. And I sobbed on the drive back down Diefenbaker. I was angry, angry, angry about how ripped off I felt. But, it also felt really important that I had decided not to confront it. Because, on Sunday, when I was set to send the email, it had actually been a conscious decision to not do anything about it. And then, I realized, I had just spent the next two days waiting, on edge, to see if I would stand by it and to see if she would bring it up. And there was so much relief at the end of it.

While the decision to let it go was conscious, I don’t think I really acknowledged why until last night.

So, Ian and I talk about traffic a lot. It’s probably because we’re getting old (young whippersnappers don’t know how to drive!) and we grew up in small cities or large towns where traffic wasn’t much of a problem (in my day!). And now Saskatoon is booming enough that the traffic quantity has improved and the driver quality has declined. But really, our talks are mostly about driving zen. We talk about how we’re both proud of the little things about driving – like obeying the speed limits most particularly in residential areas, or being pretty consistent about stopping for yellow lights. And we talk about being astonished at how when you know you’re pushing that yellow, then you look in the rearview mirror and two more cars are coming through the intersection behind you.

Recently we had a conversation about conquering our road rage. I think it was that I volunteered that I was trying to just let it go when I get cut off. And, actually, not do that, “oh no you don’t” thing of tailgating in order to remove opportunity when some asshole tries to do something like pass on the right and then swerve last minute into your left-turning lane. Ian said how he had been having the same zen-driving thoughts lately. We talked about how it is frustrating, but reacting to it just makes a dangerous situation worse. How is tailgating going to make anything better? How is driving with all your focus on ‘that guy’ going to help you?

You probably see where I’m going with this.

See, I went back and forth about those six sick days because I really did feel like she ripped me off. But then I thought, okay, what’s at stake here? The actual amount comes to about $150. Which would be nice, and which, a fiscal me says, you shouldn’t give up without a fight. But I’d already paid it, so I wasn’t out money that I was counting on. And, my mother and my aunt probably won’t charge me for the daycare that they provided and though it was a pain to take so many family days right off the bat, I can make up that time down the road.

So then I questioned what was at stake for her. And figured that, probably she could afford it less than me. Which, actually, gave me some satisfaction when I was considering fighting with her. But then I thought, well, okay. Now I’ve measured the stakes and I’ve acknowledged my own degree of satisfaction at making her uncomfortable.

So, this might be about fairness at its core. But there is also that it either includes revenge, or it doesn’t.

And I concluded that I didn’t want it to.

It’s like getting cut off on 33rd street, I said to Ian when trying to justify why I was not going to ask for a refund for those days. I try to remember that this person might have circumstances that mean they’re desperate for those seconds. I bet when I’m racing to the daycare because one of my kids is sick, I drive like a jerk. And I don’t know what the person who just cut me off is racing against. I can afford the time, so I try to just let it go.

I can be angry, but I don’t have be judging and struggling for dominance, I said.

And that was the part that was so big that it made me start crying in the car last night.

And he totally got it. And he didn’t think I was being a big wiener at all.

« Previous post
Next post »

Leave a Reply