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mother of josh, richard, and mutt. lover of books, yarn, and the quiet places. spinner, knitter, kayaker, survivor, vandweller, warrior.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Out of sorts


I just had my first fight with a trucker. Okay, we didn't come to blows. I did have to push him though. gently but emphatically, belly up to the counter at the truck stop deli. Right up against the displays of peanuts and led flashlights and solar keychains. And I held him there. I told him "i *said* you go next". He laughed, but not at me, more in a nervous sort of way......probably because all the other folks behind us in line clearly didn't like his behavior either, and appeared to have my back.

I hate mean people. Which is counterproductive, I suppose. Hate is mean, right?

The lady in front of me was trying to pay for her breakfast sandwich with pennies and nickels and dimes. She was also crying and talking rapidly and rather incoherently in a "word salad" sort of way that some mental illnesses produce. She lived in some kind of van that just got hit by "those people who are stalking me" and she was hoping that this truckstop had a ministry so she could pray......meanwhile the loose coins were flying like winged monkeys out of her shaking hands. I was behind her, and the trucker behind me piped up and said "Jaysus, is it christmas yet? move it, lady". I could feel my heart get really small and hard in my chest, and I pulled out a couple bucks to pay for her sandwich just so I could turn to that trucker and say sweetly " since you are in such a hurry, mister, you go next".

he told me no.

That was it. I'd had a rough two days where I felt all at odds with the world.....rattled out of a pecos truckstop by fighter jets on maneuvers, driving into a relentless sunset with a blinding headache, and driving mile after mile of what was suddenly a terribly lonesome texas highway.

I guess I was looking for a fight, cause I could have ignored him when he told me no. Instead, I stepped behind him, planted my hand between his shoulder blades and pushed him belly up to the counter and told him "i said you go next".

He did. And while I waited for my turn, this lady turned on me and spat words at me like bullets, so great was her need to tell her story, to be heard. She didn't make much sense, so I just looked hard into her eyes and saw her. And I saw her seeing me see her. That quick, a connection, and then gone. It was one of the moments I live for, when, again like the velveteen rabbit, I become real.

My turn came, but as I turned away, I saw a different trucker slip a bill into her hands. Maybe he had become real, too. I betcha. And as I left the store a few minutes later, I saw one of the clerks had come from behind the counter and was standing with an arm round the woman's shoulder, maybe sharing the prayer the woman sought. Who knows. But it's hard to remain out of sorts when you are reminded of all the people in the world who need to have the stuffing loved out of them, and those who are wiling to do it....

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

You go girl ! I can just see you standing up to that trucker. You are such a beautiful person inside and out ~ I will have to save these wonderful stories to read to the twins about Auntie Kate ~

Visionquest said...

Sweet Katie Rocks! Heidi and I would have been right with ya dear! You absolutely did something that clearly needed doing. I love you more now than ever and that is pretty tough to do!

-Mike & Heidi & Bocephus & Roadie

Heidi said...

Numees! I would have pushed him too! You are one of the very realest people I know! I love you Numees! Don't let the mean people get you down! See you soon with lots of hugs. Your Numees (with Your Sweet Mike)

kate said...

cathy, you are so sweet! kiss those babies for me, and don't let them grow too fast!

mike, you are one of the people who make me become real!

and heidi, my sweet numees, you woulda pushed him, and then taken down his license number!

LoveRise said...

'And I saw her seeing me see her.'

Katie, what better reason for living, a blessing in the giving and the receiving.

Warmly,

Laurie

NEMO '09 said...

Thank you for that Kate, I myself suffer from Anxiety issues, and have a friend that is quite fractured with multiple personality disorder. I have nothing but compassion for someone that is trying to do thier best to function in a world where you just dont fit well. Folks in general need to be a bit more patient and understanding of others.
/Hugs Steve

lcd said...

thanks for that post. I really enjoyed it.

I wish I get to meet you someday, you seem like an interesting person :)

RovingWeaver said...

It's too bad there aren't more people like you in the world. What you did for that woman was wonderful.

zelcat said...

What everybody else said...plus, you truly are an amazing writer.

The Good Luck Duck said...

Awesome story, all the way through.

sjptak (Stan) said...

Kate, we haven't met yet, but you are one person I have an awful lot of respect for. You are your own drummer and that is an admirable quality to have. Keep it up, woman.