Imagine me at the dinner table saying:
“Pass the yams, please, and my coat. Thanks, I have to get to Walmart.”
It’s disgusting. In addition to the media mockery of Christ’s birth, I seem to notice more rudeness everywhere I go, and I have to work extra hard to control my temper. It’s like God gives you a test at the holidays to see how mild and forgiving you can be.
Watch me score a B+ this year in Christmas Anger Management, Jesus! I know I can do it. (That’s a prayer, by the way, and I’m being realistic here.)
I go to the mall on a Saturday morning to buy gifts. That goes rather smoothly, until I get on line. To my right is a pile of stuff: bags of bows, wrapping paper and Christmas cards. The box of holiday cards catches my eye. On the front is the image of Mary and baby Jesus. It is one of the most beautiful Christmas cards I’ve ever seen. I pick the box up just to get a closer look. Then I hear:
“Uh, EXCUSE ME, that’s mine.”
Startled, I look up to find the owner of the voice. It’s this little woman with very tightly curled black hair. Her expression suggests that someone has pinched her. Her arms are full of things and she must have rested the cards on the pile because she was holding too much. I figure this out quickly, but I’m still processing her tone of voice, trying to understand why it sounds rude.
“Oh, they are? The picture is so beautiful." I mutter, handing the box back to her. She literally snatches it out of my hand and struggles to hold it.
“Yeah, well. There is only one box left.” She snorts.
I just stare at her. In my mind, cynical me is trying to break out of her chains and speak. I swallow and smile.
“That’s great. Enjoy them.” I say. There is no way I’m going to get into an argument with this stranger over her rude tone and an image of the Holy Family. I would not fight over any object in a store, ever, because it’s not important.
Wow, I did really well just now! I think, on my drive home. I passed the first Rude Holiday Encounter with flying colors. I’m going to be much calmer in rude public situations in 2010. In fact, I bet I will be so mild and peaceful that friends and neighbors will notice.
When I get home, I open my email. A friend of mine has sent me a question as part of a game.
“If you saw me in the back of a cop car, what would you think I did?”
I tell her I’d guess she was arrested for volunteering too much, (since this woman is pretty close to being a saint).
She writes back:
“That is a good one. In your case you would be in a cop car because someone tried to hurt one of your kids or husband and you went into mother lion mode and beat the stuffing out of that person.”
Hmmm. It’s seriously time to fix my image.