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When Mom Behaves Badly

Traffic Can Really Throw a Wrench into Parenthood

I generally feel that I exemplify good behavior for my child. While there may be some conservatives out there who don’t like my big  liberal mouth, I am genuinely a nice person. Even a well spoken person. I try to be polite and kind to everyone. I like to think that much of my small child’s charm and social grace is a reflection of what I’ve taught him. And he is friendly to everyone.

But there have been many times, of late, when I am concerned by the poor example I’m setting for my child.  Things have been coming out of my mouth when I’m behind the wheel of our small car, things I say most of the time in a lowered tone, but occasionally in a fear and adrenaline induced outburst.

Things are very hairy around here, traffic wise, in my small island town. This is the month when everyone wants to be here, and it all becomes a game of survival of the richest. It is the law of the land in terms of traffic rules. No stop signs anywhere and narrow old streets are the pride of the community, the proof of our historical integrity, but also the pudding in our lives in August that slows everything down and turns the civilized into beasts.

My god, the look on my child’s face. The look of disappointment when I transgress. When I fall into this fit of name calling using rude words that start with a and j. It’s like he doesn’t recognize who this is. This is not his mama.

And thank heavens, so far, as if he knows, this child of almost two who repeats everything his parents say has not repeated my occasional traffic induced swearing. He has only repeated certain perfectly acceptable phrases like “Slow down,” and “Stop sign.”

We’ll see how long I get away with this. Because I mutter, growl, honk, and much worse. I’ve even flipped the big fat bird out the window when some j-e-r-k in a red BMW convertible whizzed around me as I was turning into the hospital. A lady coming out looked at me in utter horror.

Yes, there it was, me looking like the jerk because I reacted to the jerk. You can’t let them get a hold of you. You really can’t.

But it’s really hard. Especially around here. And every year it gets a little wilder, the driving, more and more cowboy rodeo and we’re out there in our smallish car surrounded by massive SUVs armed with kids and wives and credit cards and dads getting their week to shine and heavy on the gas and soft on the brakes.

So out comes Augusta, my alter ego. She’s a bitch in high heels, a broad in mirror glasses behind the wheel of a Dodge Durango or an Excursion or some such version of a living room on wheels rigged with wifi and surround sound and Connecticut plates. She won’t stop to let anybody in. She leans on her horn She gets her way, but she’s not nice about it. She’s not really anyone a person should aspire to be. And I can tell that my child is confused and baffled by Augusta.

So I am making a promise to Cayce and to myself to keep Miss Augusta at bay. So shoo, Meanie. Hex on your gnarly self. Sca-dattle. And Septemba, with your milder moors, will you get here already?

p.s. This blog post was originally posted on my blog

P.s.s While I was just reposting this hear, a road rager screamed What are you doing? to someone outside my window. It goes on...



August people?  So sorry you're experiencing this--but what about trying that old reliable curse word Phooey?

The only unhappy folks I see on island are behind the wheel of a vehicle. Solution? Get out of the car! Ride your bike! Take the bus! Walk! Get a trailer or pedal trail behind for your kid. Then remember August is more than halfway over and after the Opera House Cup it begins to ease off anyway. Then read your associates piece on being considerate and smile at everyone knowing you'll still be here to enjoy the beautiful fall that is on tap.

Good point.  Driving exacerbates everything--get out the bike!