Everyone has their line. On one side, we’re polite, civilized people. We let it go, move on, and drink away the piled up stress. On the other side of that line . . . we become wonderfully horrible people. The rules are already broken, and we’re free to be completely, brutally honest. To own the insults. To say “Yeah, you’re right. I am a horrible human being. Deal with it.” On this side of the line, we’ve already snapped. We’ve stopped caring if your delicate sensibilities are offended. I drove right over that line the other night in the grocery store parking lot, and it seemed like the right story to tell for the first time I’m linking up to the Pour Your Heart Out meme.
But first, I have to give you a little background info: I was diagnosed with Celiac disease just before Halloween. I could go into all the clinical details, but the short version is that if I ignore it I’ll get progressively more miserable and will die young of complications – statistically, the likely winner here is cancer. The only known treatment is to eliminate every single molecule of gluten from my diet. And we’re not talking “skip the breadsticks and you’ll be fine.” We’re talking “Go replace every kitchen implement you’ve ever owned because they all harbor gluten molecules from your heady days of baking bread and cake from scratch.”
(Did I mention I’m an avid baker? I kinda geek out on food.)
So I’m learning how to bake all over again. It’s a little stressful. Sure, there are gluten-free flours, but they don’t behave the way good old all-purpose wheat flour does. It’s kind of like learning how to walk again when you really need chocolate.
The other night, I was trying. In sheer desperation for something like normal – because the last couple of months have been anything but normal – I pulled out one of my brand-new gluten free cookbooks and decided to bake a chocolate cake. Step one: mix up seventeen different flours. Step two: Run out to the grocery store at 9:30 pm to find gluten-free defatted soy flour.
It took me almost an hour in the grocery store to find the stupid soy flour. By the time I got back to my car, I was successfully not crying. That was my big accomplishment for that moment. Buying soy flour and not crying. Started up the car, glanced in the rear view mirror, and pulled out of the parking space. And the next thing I know, I’m being tailgated by an older woman in a Buick. In the parking lot. Glaring, gesturing, the whole bit. It’s probably for the best that I can’t read lips, because whatever she was saying wasn’t flattering.
And there it was. The line. On that side, I was three seconds from dissolving into a puddle of stress tears. On this side . . .I’ve already snapped, honey. Bring it. You’re right, I am self-centered for being wrapped up in my own world for just a moment, instead of putting my own concerns on the back burner to make sure you were comfortable first. Because it must be rough to have some big, scary minivan bearing down on you from three parking spots away as you drive down the lane. I am a horrible person. You might want to get used to it. The world is full of horrible people, and if you start following all of us around parking lots screaming obscenities, someday one of us is really going to snap, and both you and the innocent kids in the backseat of that minivan are going to get a vocabulary lesson.
Vocabulary lessons weren’t fun in elementary school. They don’t get better with age. Back off.
For the record, I did not stop the car and give Old Woman in a Buick an earful. But boy did I fantasize about it on the drive home! It’s one of the perks of being a writer – I may not be able to come up with the perfect retort on the spot, but catch my attention and someday you’re going to end up in a story (even if it is only in a blog post) and I’m going to have my say. What about you? What have you said or done (or wished you had) the last time you crossed the line?