One American. Two American. Three American. Seems like seconds, huh? But count to four Americans and you will know how long I stand outside the car on average - waiting for Chris to unlock the door. When he gets in, he sits down, pulls his phone out of his back pocket, closes his door, and then, I guess; notices that I am outside in the January cold, August heat, April rain, scary dark city neighborhood - you name it - and Click! Unlocks the passenger side door. The polar vortex outings were tough.
You say jiggle the door handle? No. Then he goes to unlock it, but I have the handle out. It doesn’t work. Then he’ll yell through the glass: “It’s open!!” Which; I demonstrate by jiggling the handle again: it is indeed NOT open.
We have been together since 1979. This has been going on since then.
I am too tolerant. Always have been. When I was young, my impatient mom always told me that I was so patient. She said I should work with old people or small children. I figured it was some sort of “writer” thing - seeing both sides of a situation. I understand that people have routines with they enter a car. I also understood when I read about the woman driving over her husband with her car.
I actually did work at a nursing home. But my most difficult task is parenting. Turns out, tolerance is another trait that doesn’t help me as a Mom.
I have an old soul friend who is calm and sees things as they are.
“You know,” she said to me the other day, “You shouldn’t let Shane get away with so much. Call him out every now and then!”
What? I thought, incensed. “What are you talking about? What does he ever do wrong??”I said.
“See what I mean?” She said.
So I started thinking. And thinking. Because thats what we tolerant people do. Like lawyers and lengthy opinions, like philosophy class on steroids. Giving and believing and leaps of faith bigger than any jump Evil Knievel ever took.
I reassessed. I identified red flags.
These red flags that I witnessed, include, but are not limited to:
-People calling me a “saint.”
-Letting my kids change the radio station in the car from my favorite song to any rap or heavy metal station.
-The last three movies we’ve watched at home starred Bruce Willis.
-People calling me an “angel.”
-People saying to me “God, love you!” With sympathetic eyes.
There are things I do not tolerate, I tell myself. I do not tolerate Donal Trump. I do not tolerate when my West Palm Florida cousin tells me she is not evacuating during a hurricane. I give my opinion. I am strong and sure and do not flop around. Sometimes.
So when the bill came for the “emergencies only” credit card we gave Shane and I noted all the fly fishing gear and restaurant purchases from his trip out west …. I picked up the phone. I did not understand how he budgeted incorrectly nor how desperate he and his friends became when they ran out of food in Wyoming. I gave him a payment plan.
And I bang on the car door now. “Open the door!” I call out - with a tolerant smile.