When I watch parents on TV pick up their children on basically any movie or show, they roll up in their car and the kid hops in. No muss, no fuss, no drama. No waiting on your pokey puppy of a child that would take 30 minutes to wander to the car in real life. No child socializing endlessly just out of arm reach from the passenger door while the mom tries not to lose her cool and scream at the pre-teen in public. No long lines of other parents leaning on the horn for you to get your slow moving turtle-esk children in the car and out of their way so they can get their own pokey puppies and chatty patties. This is all just an imaginary situation as I don’t get the benefit of the drive-by school pick up. That may, in fact, be a magical made up situation Hollywood uses to taunt us real folks. My kids go to a school where I park my car, drag the cranky toddler along and pick my children up at the door of their class. I’m five years into this school situation and I’ve come to the conclusion that school pick up is like riding an elevator. Trapped. I have an irrational fear of being trapped inside. School was awkward for me the first go-round and I need to get in and out as fast as possible. As soon as the front door closes behind me, it’s a countdown until I step outside to freedom, sweet freedom. The stare. We all walk in to our childrens classroom designation like mute zombies, promptly put our back to the wall and face forward towards the classroom door just like you do in an elevator. As a unit, we all stare at the classroom as if we can force the teacher to open it quickly with our Jedi mind control. This is the door you are looking for…… Penthouse Suite. Our particular elevator is like getting to the penthouse on a very specific elevator with a very specific key. Our school is on such stranger danger lockdown that we use special doors at special times during the day and we are issued a pass card. It’s on par with needing to know the elvish password to get into a dwarf mine. Bathroom. Some make the mistake and walk into school pickup needing to pee. Once the door closes behind you, you can’t take care of business. Using the children’s facilities is about as bad as urinating in the corner of the elevator. Don’t do it. No talking! Trying to smile without initiating a forced conversation is an art form. Even I can only talk about the weather for so long. You have the parents you actually know and want to talk with, but the majority is a vast sea of people that you vaguely like yet know absolutely nothing about. That distracted smile and head nod combined with a perfect timing of body shifting away is key. Children! Inevitably you have the button-pushing kid. The one that will push all the buttons (throw a fit, lay down in the floor, knock over backpacks, bump into people, run into other classrooms). This is annoying. It’s also usually my kid. Sorry. Space. Elevators have a limited amount of space. So does the hall in front of the classroom door. Some people have a clear understanding of personal space and some do not. I usually end of next to the person that is comfortable with their face in my armpit. I’d apologize, yet I’m not quite sure why you are standing that close to me in the first place. Germs. A school is a petri dish of germs on every surface imaginable. If a kid in kindergarten has the flu, then pretty soon the entire senior class will have it as well. That’s just life. So is an elevator. This is why both places need to be treated with as little surface contact as possible. Taking a drink from the water fountain might not be the best idea. I would liken that to licking the HOLD button in the elevator. Your Phone. We all know you are staring at that thing in a desperate attempt to avoid eye contact. Amateur.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I have a serious cussing problem. If we were going to rate me on a scale from Sesame Street to Pulp Fiction, I make Quentin Tarantino and Samuel L. Jackson sound like rank amateurs in verbal profanity. They just dabble. I’m immersed. I was trained by the best. Sailors on shore duty. I don’t even hear it when it flies out of my mouth any more. I don’t classify ‘Damn’ or ‘Hell’ as cuss words. I’ve gone straight to the big ticket words. Which is a problem. Using it to color up a moment is one thing. Dropping the F-Bomb at church is another. Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t developed moral outrage over the issue. I know most people are offended. I just don’t happen to be. Mostly I just think it’s crass but the kicker for me is that now I think it’s lazy. I won’t use much profanity when I’m writing as it just seems cheap and distracts from the story. Any story. I can’t have that. Even when I’m not writing it down. My friend Tanya has laughingly told me she describes me as “Someone that loves Jesus, but says F@#$ a lot.” I can’t argue with the statement as both are true. But maybe it’s time to tone it down a smidge. This in mind, it influenced my vote on the topic our Life Group was going to study on Sunday nights. It’s one thing to tell myself to stop cussing, but it’s mighty hard to make that happen when it truly doesn’t bother me. I’m hoping that this study will convict my heart that dropping the F-Bomb in no way glorifies the Lord or the funny story you know I love to tell. We watched the opening video this Sunday night. I was nervous as I thought I was about to spend two hours feeling bad about myself. I was okay with the thought as I was raised Southern Baptist. It’s not a true Southern Baptist sermon if you don’t walk out of church with some serious guilt and conviction on your heart. We don’t sugar coat sin in West Texas – we call you out on the carpet and still get you home in time to watch the football game. Hallelujah! I was a tad disappointed as the guy on the video didn’t even talk about cusswords. This first chapter was about using words to lift up or tear down but nothing specific about using the F-Bomb like it’s a comma while you are in the lobby of your kids school. Huh. Imagine that. cussing2 So for about two hours I’m feeling pretty good about myself as saying nasty things about people isn’t a particular topic I have a problem with. I have a lot of things to work on, but that’s not one of them. My default is to think positive things about people. You can thank my mother for that one. Way to go mom. I was even a bit hoity about the fact that at our advanced age (I’m ancient, I know ) we have a lot of flexibility to avoid the people in our lives that are hateful. Heck, I don’t even have to do the workbook exercises this week on dealing with people in a loving way that are tearing us down and how not to internalize that negative message. I think it’s moments like that, that send a warning up the line to a bell on God’s desk. Ooops! Looks like Reesie’s getting a little big for her britches. Let’s help her out. First thing this morning I learned that a woman that actively hates me is coming back into my life on a semi permanent basis. I don’t just think this, she’s proven it. I’m not being paranoid. #D@m%& to F*@#ing H#$! Son of a B$%^&! Mo$%6r F$#@er! Now I’ve got two things to work on this week
1999-ish timeframe. Sometimes you have to make a big push to start out your life. A big, scary, all by yourself push. I had just graduated college and I was in love with a sailor. A submarine officer that was never going to live in the middle of landlocked West Texas. We weren’t ready to marry, we were just ready to see if our relationship could survive for longer than an extended weekend. So I loaded up my Isuzu Hombre with all my stuff and I headed out to follow my man. I pulled out of my mom’s driveway on a Thursday morning and it took us two days to get from Texas to San Diego. I had never driven more than 4 hours away from my family and this was bigger than any adventure I could have imagined on my own. I had a total of $2,000 to my name, no credit cards, and I had no plans to live with Blake. I had to find a job and an apartment in San Diego in less than a week. But I was young so these worries didn’t stress me out in the least. I don’t think my truck engine had even cooled down from our drive before we were making plans to go to the ocean. Blake’s buddies had a sailboat and the San Diego sky was a blue as blue could be. We get to the boat and the Navy guys are doing what Navy guys do to get a ship ready to sail: hoisting the Jolly Roger, swabbing the poop deck, and dancing the hempen jig. It’s comments like this that get me thrown of the ship and sent to get the grog. Basically a beer run. The sailboat was stored at a dock with many other ships all shapes and sizes. Ours was on the smaller end and further down were the massive beasts of the ocean. Needless to say they have measures in place to protect the boat owners. I end up trapped at the gate to get off our dock because I can’t figure out how this round key fob opens the gate. I’m fiddling with the gate and a homeless man approaches and says, “Hey man, that’s not how you do it. You do it like this.” Then he proceeds to help me out of the gate. I’m fresh out of Texas and my accent was a thick as my mom’s buttermilk pie and my manners were just as sweet. I proceed to thank the homeless man and I bend down to pet his two ancient poodles. They weren’t cute, poodles do not age well. They get that crusty tear stain around their eyes, they shake, their hair looks like a badly colored perm and usually their breath smells. I continue to chat the homeless man up when I see a hugely muscled man sprinting towards us. Sprinting and mad. I can not fathom why this man would be mad so I leap to the conclusion that these men are gay lovers and he is jealous and sprinting towards me to claim his territory. No shit, this is what I thought. I’m in San Diego, my mom told me about this stuff, I’m going to play it cool. So I use all my southern charm to chat the mad muscle bound man up to let him know I’m not poaching in his territory. I even reference my Navy boyfriend who is now sprinting past us all to actually get the beer I was tasked to buy. It’s not even 2 minutes into the conversation when the muscle bound behemoth relaxes. I’m under the impression that I’ve soothed his jealous soul. We had a lovely conversation about dogs, San Diego, my adventure from Texas, sailboats and I end up inviting both of them back to our boat to chill and have some beers. I do have to tell them they need to bring their own beer as I think the Navy guys might drink every drop of their own beer. This seemed to amuse them greatly. The homeless man and his huge muscle behemoth of a companion are as nice and nice could be and they decline graciously. I continue on my way back to the sailboat and we prepare to set sail. We are chatting with Blake’s buddies and they mention that Carlos Santana has his massive ship docked at this marina. It’s docked here and he is here all the time. And guess what, there it is. There he is!! My super sweet homeless man that I chatted with for at least 15 minutes was Carlos Santana. The huge muscle behemoth was his bodyguard. #carlossantana #Santana *That year Carlos Santana released his album Supernatural. It went 15 times platinum in the US and won nine Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year as well as three Latin Grammy Awards including Record of the Year.