Conversational Speed Bump
As I sit here with a sore throat, sneezing so hard I think I’ve rearranged some brain cells, I wonder how I even got sick since I still mask up in public. I’ve tested twice for Covid and it’s been negative both times, so that’s something to be grateful for. All I want to do is to curl up with a mug of spicy ginger tea and a cozy blanket. My virus-type thing came on pretty rapidly after THIS experience. Maybe the Universe is helping me stay home and safely away from toxic people…
There’s one specific car that flies down my street every morning, Monday through Friday, hurtling itself over the speed bumps/humps and barely — if at all — bothering to slow down for the stop sign before turning right and into the elementary school parking lot.
After randomly witnessing this occur over several days, I walked to the school and snapped a pic of the car in the parking lot.
I entered the Admin building and asked the school secretary to please take a look at the photo and explained that I’m sure this was an employee and it would be a good idea to caution this person that she was speeding and please slow down on our street as it’s not a freeway, even if she’s late for work.
I never imagined the vitriol I soon receive.
First of all, the secretary curtly informed me that anything outside the parking lot wasn’t her business and I should go to the police. While she thought that statement would deter me, along with her frosty dismissive attitude, she clearly didn’t know with whom she was dealing.
I said slowly, enunciating carefully, “I came here as a courtesy, hoping that all staff would be reminded to drive carefully, legally, and responsibly around the neighborhood as it’s a known ongoing problem, and what you’re suggesting is that I should just go to the police?”
“Well, there are fifty cars out there, you can’t expect me to figure out who owns that car! How do I know if it’s even an employee! That’s not my job!”
I responded, “Oh, but yes, I surely DO expect you to do your due diligence, especially since you’re looking at a photo with the license plate. And I don’t understand why you’re not concerned or being helpful. This person is driving in a reckless manner.”
I will tell you that I spoke in a calm but firm voice, having been in that office dozens of times as a parent, which is why I know the lay of the land, so to speak.
I reiterated, “So what I hear you say is that you WANT me to go to the police and you are refusing to address this issue, simply and internally?”
She looked at me and said, “Where did you say this was? At the roundabout?”
Geez, I hate these kinds of encounters so much, but I persevered. I took a breath before continuing. “So far, I’ve explained to you three times that this car flies over the speed bumps on the street before the stop sign.” (And I actually pointed in that direction, which she could see through the doors.)
Her next words made me chuckle. So predictable for people like that.
“STOP YELLING AT ME! You’re being rude! I don’t have to be treated this way!”
I calmly informed her that I hadn’t raised my voice but that we neighbors do not appreciate staff using our street like a freeway and if she’d prefer that I give the vehicle info to the police, I’d be happy to do so as I had made the effort to come into the office as a consideration to avoid involving the police, which seemed entirely unnecessary.
In the old days, I would have been so angry that I would have met her vitriolic negative energy with a shit ton of my own. Trust me, I could raise the threat level to DEFCON 2 (next step to nuclear war) in a heartbeat.
In the OLD DAYS, smoke would have poured out of my ears and nose like a dragon, but this kinder and gentler version of me didn’t respond further. I walked home, shaking my head. Life lessons learned.
I was honestly surprised by her attitude. In my naïveté, I thought she’d thank me for bringing the matter to her attention and she’d inform the principal to review safety protocol for driving in our community, to respect the neighborhood, and to assure me that my concerns were important and would be properly addressed.
I was wrong.
So my next call will be to the police which was definitely avoidable. Once again I’m reminded of one of the reasons I HATED teaching elementary school.
(Another time I’ll recount the tale of the high school assistant principal who DARED to target my 4.8 GPA child for a crime he didn’t commit. Let’s just say that after I was done with him, he had another job. Mama bears don’t have an off switch when it comes to protecting their young, right?)
Originally published at http://enchantedseashells.com on November 5, 2022.