One Double-Tall-Cup-of-Kindness, please.

20130129-220027.jpg It has been a rough week. I’m finding myself in a very emotionally unstable place. Probably shouldn’t even be driving. Everything in my path just seems to be an accident waiting to happen.

It has been hard making it to (and through) work. I am distracted, forgetful, tearful, an emotional time-bomb. So today at lunch I went to Starbucks, my saving grace, to reward myself. I pulled up toward the drive-thru and there was some lady, half pulled-over, half blocking the entrance, on her phone. Net result? I couldn’t tell if she was in line. Because she was on the phone, she didn’t react to my questioning hand gestures, so when the car in front of her moved, and she didn’t, I pulled forward, around her. This didn’t go over well. Apparently she was in line.

She started honking, we rolled our windows down, she finally got off her phone, and much yelling and mis-communication ensued. You would be assuming correctly that there was swearing on my part. I was angry. Very angry. So angry, that I pulled out of the line and drove off. (Sans drink, which I had obviously really needed to sweeten my mood.)

I then proceeded into complete meltdown state, and had to pull over in another parking lot, bawling. This meltdown was a long-time coming. It was just waiting for the opportunity to burst.

Poor woman. It wasn’t her fault that she was in my path of sorrow. In fact, I am pretty sure now, that her intention in the drive-thru was to be kind, making space to let traffic cross through. So there she was…trying to be nice, and instead some crazy lady (me), gave her a big old cup of, “have a nice day, bitch!”

It wouldn’t surprise me if friends of widows feel this way, at times, too. Trying to be nice, only to get stomped on. I get it. People in grief are unpredictable. But I also get this: bad shit happens to good people. I might swear a lot, but I am actually a pretty nice person. And last year, I got stomped on. And today, another nice person got stomped on. She surely thought I was the evil incarnate, thumbing my nose at her act of kindness. I didn’t do it intentionally. She was outraged that I cut in front of her, when her intention was to be nice. Well, I am outraged that my husband died of cancer, he was just being a nice guy, too. Did she deserve my anger? No. But bad shit happens to good people. Even on Tuesdays.

Little did she know her comments (which weren’t the nicest, either) made a “widow” cry. I miss my hubby so much. I really needed that vanilla spice latte to make it through the day, and I wasn’t in any kind of hurry to get it. Just confused. About everything. It’s actually a miracle, that I knew what I wanted to order today. But it’s not like strangers would have any clue as to the source of my vulnerable and volatile state. And for all I know…that woman might be a widow too, or she might have cancer, or if she’s lucky, she might be someone with few problems…I hope it’s the latter. Cancer is evil. Losing your mate? I wouldn’t wish it upon anyone.

We all know life isn’t “fair”. I was never under the impression that it was. I don’t feel like a victim of circumstance. I am pretty “practical” about life, and death. But the losses hurt. A lot. Eventually everyone will face a death that completely shakes their world. And when you do, every act of kindness from others is like gold, and every mis-step from others like a burning coal. But just because you are nice, or grieving, doesn’t mean you are immune to more bad shit happening to you. Or people yelling at you at the Starbucks drive-thru.

Yeah, this all probably sounds really negative. That’s because I am having a bad day. But it can work the other way, too. Like random acts of kindness.

My conclusion? I still think it’s better to at least try and be kind to people, and do our best not to hurt others. Even if sometimes our best isn’t enough, or we get stomped on. That’s just the nature of the beast. I’m also thinking I might pay for the people behind me in the drive-thru line for a while…to cleanse the bad karma, and…just to be nice. I’d much rather stack the odds in favor of kindness. Good things happening to good people, good things happening to bad people, good things happening for all people. That makes my heart feel a little better.

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4 thoughts on “One Double-Tall-Cup-of-Kindness, please.

  1. Random acts of insanity….
    I remember those and how they always led to a breakdown, because I was trying so hard to NOT breakdown that any little thing that allowed me to was SO GREAT, and , of course, so awful.

    I maintain they should bring back “widow’s weeds”…at least for a year . The others might understand, might be kinder. An outward sign to the world to back-off, to please, PLEASE, don’t make me fall apart/hurt you/embarrass myself with my emotions….to tread softly.
    I just want an effing cup of coffee….

    Bad shit, and good shit, happens to everyone, but THIS shit is happening to you.
    Your reactions, your responses, your feelings matter
    There is no way out of the mess..just through it, and you are remarkable in the grace that you are maneuvering through with.

    Take care of yourself, be kind to yourself.

    I love your writing, thank you for this.

  2. i’ve been coming to the same conclusion. i keep hearing it in that sappy jewel song… “in then end… only kindness matters.” kindness and love. so give some extra to yourself today.

  3. Such a rough week for you.

    For a few fraught months in the fall, I dreaded driving because of all the jerk drivers. Then one day I realized that I’d inadvertently blocked someone’s driveway when picking up my daughter. Another time I think I cut in front of someone at an all-way stop. And that’s when it occurred to me–Sometimes, I’m the jerk. That helped me to both be more mindful and to not absorb other people’s bad behavior. Then, last week, someone waved me to go first at an all-way stop. I was so moved by the kindness that it sustained me through the afternoon. I needed a kindness that day.

    We never know what damage we’re inflicting on others, and we never know how far a small kindness can go. What wisdom there is in doing what you’re doing–face our mistakes and others’ mistakes with compassion, and proceed with kindness.

    I really hope you get that latte.

  4. We’ve all been there, done that with melt downs and taking our moods out on the wrong person. Karma eventually evens it all out. I agree with mishedup up above about bringing back the ‘widow weeds’. In fact i even wrote a blog about that topic. It would be so much easier if the world could tell the widows walking around in a fog. Hope next week is better.

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