I can’t drive…TWENTY-FIIIIIIIIVE

I have to drive past three schools between my house and my trainer’s abode. She moved since I last saw her, in aught 20, and apparently she moved to the school district.

First of all, why do we need so many schools? Can’t we cram more kids into one building for my convenience? It’s annoying that there are three of them in a 9-minute drive. One of them is a Catholic school, so OK, you all wanna be together and be the Hail Marys and have the Pope as your mascot or feel guilty together or what have you. Fine.

But then there’s a school for rich kids, and then a school for regular kids.

ALL THREE demand that I drive 25 miles an hour when I drive past them, and this rankles.

Have they not considered that anyone driving at 7 a.m. is late for somewhere? We’re all headed to work or our trainer or to buy early morning drugs. We don’t have TIME to slow down to 25 MPH. And let me tell you, they really insist we go 25. I learned that the $450 way many years ago.

Also, when’s the last time you actually drove 25? It’s absurdly slow. I feel like Olivia Soprano or Clara Peller driving 25. Let me get to the center of the road and lean over my steering wheel while I’m at it. Turn on my AM radio.

Plus also additionally, children need to learn to stay out of traffic. If we give them a namby pamby 25 miles an hour, they’re gonna get a tiny, meaningless bump if they run in front of cars. How is that teaching them anything? We’re too soft on kids. Stupid participation trophy generation. A kid in my junior high, and yes that’s what it should be called, got hit right on the first day of 7th grade. He was in a cast all first semester. You better believe HE learned.

Anyway, hi. I’m home from the trainer, in case you hadn’t guessed. I drove 25 most of the way.

Also, Milhous is here, insisting I scritch him under the chin, and he’s getting drooly nose. You know when a cat is really happy and their nose gets all tawny and damp? That’s Mil, over here. He really is the happiest cat on earth. I find myself calling him Winston a lot, a cat only longtime readers will recall. Winston was similarly happy. He was such a good cat, Winston was. Unflappable.

But that’s beside the point. My cat du jour is beside the point. Today I have to get a ton of work done, due by the end of the day, and meanwhile I have five meetings. This means I have to cram the work in between meetings. I’m sort of terrified by this, because the thought of saying, “I didn’t get everything done” — oh my god, even typing that, I get the anxious I have to poop now feeling.

I work with someone who doesn’t have this. He fascinates me. He’s very smart and does good work, but he doesn’t have the anxiety I do about being right on time or doing exactly what we’re told. I wish I had some of that lack of fear.

In elementary school, I was Nellie Olsen. I mean, I wasn’t a dick. But I was a goody two shoes. There’s still part of me that has that need to be goody in my two shoes.

Once, AGES ago, they had a happy hour for our team at work. The very tip-top head of our team invited us all via email. This was when Ned was president of his company, and he always, always worked till 6 or 7 or later. So, I forwarded the invitation to him, because the bar was across the street from his house. The work happy hour ended at 6, and I knew he wouldn’t be there till half hour, 45 minutes after it ended. I also knew some of us, the Alexes and the Ryans, would hang around after.

Thank god all I wrote was, “You should come to this” because

THE TIP-TOP GUY

saw it.

“Who’s Ned Nickerson?” he wrote back.

And that is when I died. That is when my blood froze and I fainted and woke up and froze in my blood again.

“Oh, he’s a friend,” I wrote. “Sorry.”

“This happy hour is just for people at work,” he wrote back AND I DIED AGAIN.

I did not write back and bother him with the whole Oh my god, he wouldn’t have been there till after it was over I wasn’t trying to sneak free drinks to my 47-year-old president-of-a-company friend. I knew it didn’t matter. All I knew is I was humiliated.

That was at least 6 years ago and I still burn in shame.

Now, see. The guy at work who doesn’t have this anxiety? He’d have clean forgotten it the next hour.

What is that? Does it mean I have low self-esteem? I always kind of thought I had magnificent self-esteem. Why am I like this? Why do I feel like I have to do what I’m told or I am shit? I hate this trait.

The one where I think kids should be run over to teach them a lesson is fine. I’m fine with that trait.

OK, I’d better start working. Think good June-gets-everything-done thoughts.

Prioritizationally,
June

65 thoughts on “I can’t drive…TWENTY-FIIIIIIIIVE

  1. See, I think the fact that you did not respond with the explanation is a good thing. Me? I would’ve had to explain and justify and apologize again. So there are worse levels of that behavior.

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  2. This is one of my favoritest posts.

    The anxious I have to poop now feeling…

    Being OK with the kids learning the hard way…

    I learned the $450 way…

    Love! Thank you for your writing!

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  3. I really don’t mind driving 20 in the school zones (or maybe I’ve just made peace with it), but if that sign is blink, blink, blinking in the summer or during holidays, I’m irked! No way, man! No school means I’m driving the reg limit.
    Also how awesome would the mascot’s costume be if it was the Pope?! He could drive around the field in a popemobile decorated with hand painted banners and cheap pompoms!

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  4. Oh my goodness the school zone part had me snort laughing.
    The guilt/stress/anxiety is probably first born/only child response. “The Birth Order Book” by Dr. Kevin Leman is an interesting read. I’m a typical first born. Sigh.
    Tee

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    1. So if you are an only child, does that mean you have the first born/middle/youngest child issues all rolled into one? Because I only had one kid and I need to know how badly I effed him up. Please advise.

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      1. Deb, only children, according to Dr. Leman, are much like first borns. Normally, first borns are high achievers, rule followers, perfectionist, all the traits that drive the rest of the siblings bonkers.
        Tee

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    2. I am a first child married to a first child, and we had only one child.
      Tee, I feel this deeply. 😂

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      1. My husband was a youngest male to my oldest female and that worked well. It’s a good match according to the birth order books. My most recent romantic failure involved another oldest child. We had lots of power struggles.

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    3. Me too, tee. My baby sister got away with bloody murder compared to me. They were too tired to jump up off of the couch by then. I remember an only child is considered the same as an oldest. I have read birth order books too.

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  5. I say and do stupid sh*t all the ding dang time. I’m socially awkward at times but tend to hide it well(I hope) Anyway, there is not a day that goes by without me feeling some guilt/regret about situations and words but I have come to find that most days, unless its a social media thing, people tend to forget what I did because they are worrying about themselves. The social awkwardness is some of the reason I don’t post here often. I’m a afraid something I say will offend and I don’t want to offend or be a dick to anyone.

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  6. If I relived the humiliating moments of my life, I would spend my life in the fetal position. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

    Although I do have a few “Why, WHY did I do that?” or “why, WHY didn’t I do that?” and sometimes wish I had the ability to turn back time and choose wisely instead of poorly.

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  7. I once sent an email to a co-worker meant JUST for him and accidentally included the customer I was bad-mouthing. I get flushed just thinking about it. My self-esteem is in the dumpster.

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  8. 15 mph in Arizona for school zones too. I have found “detours” around those schools…. that is realllly slow.
    I think the “got to do it all right” for me was a very scary dad shaking his finger at me and then the nuns at school. I never wanted to upset them.
    Love the happy hour story – you should have just thumbed your nose at that guy though – not felt guilty.

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  9. Same way here. I was born in 62. I worry, try to be good, do the right thing and agonize far too much. Maybe I should go take my medication now. Great post. I wanted to be a librarian, now when I go there (all the time) I so want to say SSSH because our library is too noisy. It can’t possibly be me.

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  10. I completely understand feeling humiliation and shame and I can’t shake it easily. I know the tip top guy you speak of. I would’ve felt just like you! I will note that that guy once had sent an email- a reminder to fill out the dreadful time sheets – and his meant-to-be- humorous cartoon involving as I recall, people begging flogged in olden times, was looked upon by many as distasteful and he had to send out an apologetic email. He’s a good guy – and just wanted to say he was once humiliated (?) perhaps as well. Does this help? Meanwhile-I’m feeling your anxiety as it’s become part of my lifestyle. Is it low self esteem? I ask that also. I do envy those who seem to have this “onward! Who cares?” attitude I have not mastered.

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  11. I kinda feel normal now. I’ve always thought that the crap I do was just because I am a nut job. Hello fellow nut jobs! Woo. What a relief. I mean, I have zero forgiveness for myself when I make a mistake. I am a scheduler for an Air Force training unit and let me tell you, when you smurf the trainees schedule up, it is beyond awful. Zero room for errors there. I am a walking stress bomb. Twitchy eyes, palpitating heart, and all.

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    1. I took a job assessment quiz years ago. My skill set said I should be an air traffic controller. I DO NOT think I would have enjoyed that in the least

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      1. Oh hell no! It’s a lot having their daily schedule in my hands. Having their actual lives. Yeah, no. What if I was having an awful day and screwed the pooch! One mistake, man. One. Donezo.

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  12. I suffer with this too. It is awful. I don’t know what else to say. Wish we could just be happy-go-lucky.

    I’ve always hated school zones too. Especially when they have the kind which are only active when the amber light is flashing, but…BUT then there’s nary a child in sight.

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  13. Me, too. I am like that. I hate that feeling. Is it an age thing? My coworkers are at least 20 years younger than I am and they do not have that feeling. I wish to have it extracted.

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  14. I can so relate. I’ve found I’m better since medication and I didn’t have to take it forever.

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  15. I have this too. I hate it about myself. I guess it means I’m a pleaser but I don’t feel like a pleaser. Some people would say it’s our generation’s work ethic. I really don’t know. The anxiety about work I have in my head laying in bed at night it soul crushing. I do admire the people that don’t have it but maybe secretly just them for not appearing to care. I don’t know really. I don’t consider myself a ” rule follower” at all, especially in my younger years..but maybe I am. I think this is definitely one of the biggest differences in people born in the 60’s and the new workforce. Great post today June. I love when you are funny and witty and at the exact same time thought-provoking. I have looked forward to your posts since your no-spending Pie days.

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    1. I too think it’s a work ethic thing. Since I am now in my 60’s, I am letting a lot of the bullshit go….

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  16. I, too, get the goota-poop-right-now feeling when I feel I’m about to be ‘scolded’ by life or someone. I definitely get that feeling when I see the lights in the rearview mirror and I realize I’m getting pulled over. I struggled keeping with the assigned speed zones. I lost my license once (like 5 years ago as the mother of 6 kids who I drove everywhere. That was fun) for having 4 speeding tickets in one year. Yes, that’s lots of almost pooping myself in my car situations.

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  17. I think Gretchen Rubin’s Four Tendencies are the key to this. You’re probably an Obliger – go take the quiz and see what you get! It’s hardwired in.

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  18. I still often relive all the humiliating things I’ve done in my life—and there are a lot of them. I can’t get past them. And I take medication and it still happens!

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  19. I always worked in high pressure, demanding customer service jobs for mostly asshole customers. I did my best, above and beyond and sometimes to the detriment of my own family. I felt these companies needed me and that I was important to the running of the place. FOUR times I was proven wrong and that there was no loyalty and they could get a monkey to do my job. Now i work with my husband for some of the same customers, but I make my own hours and basically do as I please.
    Stress is a a killer, and makes us older than we need to be!

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  20. Lovely post Coot.

    I was THAT kid. I got hit by the most popular girl in 10th grade dad. He was leaving the parking lot after dropping Miss Popular off at the front door and gunned his Vista Cruiser right into me. I was in the crosswalk. I was crossing with the light when Miss Popular’s dad hit and tried to run me. All my friends blocked the street so he had to stop. That was how my high school years started.

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      1. Not kidding. Nothing happened to him and I survived. My dad who was a Texas DPS trooper had a stroke word or three with him.

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  21. Okay I finally made an account so I can comment. Your story was exactly the topic I needed today. (Maybe yesterday.)
    Bizarrely, my default setting is that I do whatever I want without fear of consequence. I happily ignore rules that don’t suit me. I mean, I stay sort of within the speed limit and stuff like that, but your guy at work is generally me.
    However … Monday I was involved in a huge miscommunication that somehow spiraled into vitriol, and I am absolutely traumatized by it. I asked someone for a small favor via email (Could I get your unused guest tickets for graduation?) and they kept responding with “Well I would, but (Obstacle).” I took their words at face-value, assumed they’d love to help out if they knew how, if they knew it wasn’t against the rules, all the things they kept bringing up, so I kept replying happily with “Oh, well here is the answer I found for that question,” and “Here is the link to follow.” They kept putting obstacles out there and I kept removing them. I assumed we were having a dialogue, I was amiably responding to their concerns or questions, and it would be a win-win situation if the unused tickets didn’t go to waste and they didn’t really have to problem-solve or do much work to accomplish that.
    But they thought they were telling me NO over and over, and I was apparently harassing and badgering them into giving me their tickets! I am dead from them taking that from our conversation! They involved other people in the conversation, accused me of bullying, talked about me to my daughter (the graduate, on behalf of whom I’m trying to obtain the extra tickets).
    It’s been a long time since I was in high school, but oh did I suddenly remember that feeling … mortified that I had somehow failed in the court of very public opinion, and would be loudly burned at the stake for my misunderstanding.
    These are children, and their inability to communicate like adults (Say no and stop engaging in conversation with me about it if you don’t want to have a conversation about it, how about?) should not affect me thusly. But here I am, sleepless for two nights and still wringing my hands and trying to ignore the pit in my stomach. Not a hand-wringer by nature, but this snuck up on me and I’m trying to figure out how to get rid of it.

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    1. So this was another kid you were talking to? At first I thought you were talking to the parent. Am I confused? But if you were talking to a kid, yeah, they are all miserable communicators.

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    2. I feel for you. I recently experienced something like that (4 days ago) and was so worried about it, could not sleep, etc., that my 37 year old daughter had me spend the night with her and take her prescription anxiety pill (low dosage). We talked out the issue and decided that I did the best I could and was going to accept the outcome and walk away from the subject and put up a boundary; that I stay away from those who caused my upset. We ordered good food to be delivered and played with her cats. I got the best sleep. I am going to start counseling and work on setting boundaries and learning coping skills for my anxiety. And I’m going to see if my doctor recommends the low dose “anti anxiety” prescription because it really helped me. I avoided anxiety meds up to this point but wow this was great. It’s not something you get hooked on and it helped me shift gears and get over the funk. Hope you get better soon. Set your boundaries- even if we make a mistake, or someone misinterpreted our intent, if we try our best to fix the situation- that’s got to be good enough. We are human. Give yourself some grace and walk away from that negative person/situation.

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      1. I have been taking anti anxiety low dose medication for about eleven years. I take a pill for depression/anxiety too. I do not intend to stop ever. I suffered with anxiety from the time I was nine years old. Some serious life circumstances led me to seek out the medications finally. I should have been on them far sooner. I can skip them and have backed down my dosage but I consider them as much maintenance as my other medications for high blood pressure etc. I have generalized anxiety and recurrent depression.

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  22. Why is it we can still remember conversations from grade school when they embarrassed us?

    I don’t think I can even drive 25 mph without riding my brake. Of course, I’m not sure we have any level roads around here; it’s all up and down, even if gradually.

    Thinking June-gets-everything-done thoughts.

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  23. Years ago when I was picking up my kids from the sitter, I got a speeding ticket for doing 32 in a 25 mph zone. I actually snorted at the cop, “Please. I go faster than that in my driveway.” Ah, youth. A ticket. For 32 in a 25. And not a school zone either.

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      1. Most streets here in my Village (yes, it’s officially a Village with a capital V) have a 15 mph speed limit. Some (many) aren’t paved. They’ll stop you if they clock you at 17 mph. Highest speed limit is 35 mph. Official Village slogan on a sign when you enter: “Drive slow, see our Village. Drive fast, see our Judge.” Also: “Coyotes Live Here.” And they do. And yes, horses go faster than 15 mph. And we have many, because we’re the Horse Capital of New Mexico. And that’s your geography lesson for today!

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        1. You’ve got mine beat. The LONG school zone by my house is 20mph, and the constables pull people over every day. We used to call the end of our street Traffic Court. Every time I wanted to ask Is this your first time driving on this street? because the rest of us wouldn’t dare drive over 20.

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  24. I so get that face burn in shame. I am equal parts rebel and goody two shoes. Try that on for size. -wink- How that works is that when it comes to people I know, I don’t want to let them down. My face can still burn from conversations in grade school for heaven’s sake.

    Commiserately thinking good June-gets-everything-done thoughts.

    CommandoBarbie

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  25. I have the same annoying trait. Anxiety over getting the job done right and on time, etc. Maybe it’s our generation. Oh my god, I get the same poop feeling!

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    1. We have this awful terrible time sheet thing at work, and you have to record your time ABSOLUTELY PERFECTLY or they will reject it, and send a terrible note not just to you, but to your boss, their boss, and also to the Lord. Then everyone knows you messed up. Also, it’s nearly impossible to know if you’re doing it right, but you *have* to do it right or the mean note. Getting the mean note sends me right to Poopville. The guy I talked about in my post today? Yesterday in a meeting he said, “I just guess at my time and assume the project manager will move it to the right category if I get it wrong.” Oh my god, I envy his psyche.

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      1. Does your Project Manager not do that? Maybe you’ve just had the wrong (sadistic) Project Manager all this time. May be you should envy him his Project Manager instead of his psyche.

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      2. How do they know if your time is accurate? Who is watching to make sure that time is accurate to the minute?
        Tee

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  26. I think it’s just an “either you are or you aren’t” kind of thing. Are we born this way? Nature or nuture? No clue. But having siblings, I lean toward nature, as my sister and I both run on massive amounts of guilt and “gotta do the right thing” and my brother could care less about anything. Said I would show up to help mom move out of her home of 40 years and just didn’t come? Oh, well.

    Hit by a car on the first day of school? Well, it’s all uphill from there I guess!

    You make me laugh June. You are a pleasure of life.

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