As I greeted Lucy and Bayla on the sidewalk in front of the bustling schoolyard this afternoon, a beige station-wagon pulled up and stopped.

The passenger-side window rolled down and the septuagenarian driver barked at me something along the lines of, “Close the back hatch”.

Startled, I glanced in at the rear of the wagon. A large, long box was lying the full length and, just next to the rear door, a young hand and wrist reached out of the box.

I had hesitated just long enough for this glance and started uttering a response when the driver cut me off with an exasperated “Don’t worry about it.”

He stormed out of the car, slammed the hatch and shot me a loud, snide, “Thanks, Lady.”

I couldn’t have possibly reacted more quickly to his rudely delivered and unexpected instruction.

And it’s clear his behavior was boorish, at best.

So why does such treatment consistently feel like a reflection on me?
And why do I attract it in the first place?

Andrea needs to care less… Andrea needs to care less… Andrea needs to care less…

About Andrea

Andrea Ross was diagnosed with breast cancer October 6, 2009 and intends to survive and thrive. You can read more from Andrea here.

  • Ginny

    Huh? I read this about a zillion times. I don't think it's that you need to care less in this situation, Andrea. Not at all, not in this case!

    “A large, long box was lying the full length and, just next to the rear door, a young hand and wrist reached out of the box.”
    “just next to the rear door, a young hand and wrist reached out of the box.”
    “a young hand and wrist reached out of the box.”
    My first thoughts on that aren't exactly good! Who was the owner of the hand? I'm glad you took a photo of the man; did you choose to forward it on to the authorities?

  • Exactly. Who wouldn't have hesitated a moment before reacting to this?

    As soon as he drove away, I thought maybe I should have snapped the license plate too, just in case. But, despite the startling strangeness, Luba identified the 72 yr old man and told me his seven year old son goes to the school, so I became quite sure it was a treat for his son to ride home from school seatbeltless, in a long box in the back of the wagon. Although I couldn't help checking the local paper for missing kids…

  • steve

    Sheesh! This was real? I thought you were writing a short story for “Tales of The Unexpected” magazine.

  • Yes — it was real. Why do I attract this kind of stuff? Maybe I'll submit it to the magazine and cash in…

  • Dear Andrea, shame on him that his behaviour is not consistent with his age. On the one hand, you have a person acting like this, and, on the other, a person almost half his age whose heart bleeds for even a duckling. Who wins my vote? I am reminded of an incident that happened some 5 years back (which I mailed you at that time). That evening, a fellow was driving his motorbike on the sidewalk, and I picked up a fight with him. We almost came to blows (hands locked with each other). I felt terrible that night. I would have felt worse if I hadn't questioned him. It makes us wonder what quality of life a person of such thinking/behaviour could enjoy.

  • This guy obviously has aggression issues, or at the very least manners issues, but my question to myself is: why do I end up feeling tarnished — and need to analyze and re-analyze such situations in order to convince myself that I didn't deserve this treatment? Mistreatment always sticks to me and makes my wheels spin and spin in self-defence — replaying the situation over and over.

    I don't replay and spin on good treatment! I feel good when it happens and I move on.

    I seem to have “hooks” in me that are ready-made for unfriendly events, they snag them and keep them bouncing around inside, while I resist the notion that I was in the wrong, or I somehow deserve it.

    I don't think I'm doing a good job of explaining it.

    My goal is to let the hurtful actions, of strangers, family, in-laws or whomever, slide off and slip away without a second thought. And to soak up the massive amounts of wonderful, healthy, nourishing encounters that make up the hugest part of my fabulous life every day.

  • I remember that incident, Sriram, and I'm so glad you didn't get snapped in half!!
    Thank you for your friendship. We are so lucky to share our lives with you, half a world away.

  • I recognize that guy. He's the talk of the schoolyard parents for the way he speaks to people.

  • Kelly Clavette

    It's difficult to 'care less' when people are so rude. I have had it done to me too many times to count Andrea. I truely believe that some people are put on this world to be miserable and to try and make others miserable right along with them. It really is sad that that man is such a miserable sob and takes it out on sweet innocent and loveable people like you.
    It wasn't even your car he was going on about was it?
    What a LOSER!
    He is to be pitied.
    On a happy note, I hope you, Mark, Lucy and Bayla are all doing really well.
    We miss you guys like crazy and can hardly wait for summer!!!!

  • You're obviously more like me. Things like that don't bother Mark one bit.

    To clarify, the guy was talking about his own car — I was on foot. He was asking a favour — for me to go around and close his rear car door to save him the trouble of getting out of his car and doing it himself. But he didn't want to wait one second while I tried to process his request (and his strange cargo).

    Can't wait to hang out with you, Jade, Luke and Ian this summer!
    We miss you too!

  • Iza

    This is totally absurd and *my* head would be spinning too after *that* encounter… That loser has a 7 year-old son? In a box???? WHAT THE… And he speaks to women like that? He sounds like Cotton in King of the Hill. Why do you “attract” such comments? You think maybe it's like a magnetic attraction where their negative pole gets attracted by your positive pole? Oh Andrea…they're just jerks and jerks like to be jerks to good people, always… That's what a bully likes, a nice kind easy person to harass… Fuck him. (this was to make you laugh…hihi)

  • Hey, Swearing-Isabelle!

    Don't be so timid! Tell us how you really feel! ;O)

    Thanks so much for all your support, Iza. I'm so, so, so disappointed that I missed you on your way home from Quebec — and that I'll miss you at PAB. I hope your vacation was fabulous and that you'll be back in Ottawa soon for a longer visit with us.

    (ps. I love it that Luba got to see that our fabulously warm, loving, kind, smiley Isabelle speaks colourfully and that I'm not the only mom with a zesty tongue. Thanks!)

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