No Good Deed
Scene: It is 9 degrees F, but a sunny day. A daughter pulls into the circle drive in front of a hospital entrance. There are two other cars in the drive. She angles her car between them to get close enough while allowing any other vehicles room to pass. She assists her 91-year-old mother into the vestibule, plops her into a wheelchair, locks the wheels, and exits. Just outside the revolving door, daughter realizes she is holding her mother’s purse. Zips around and hands it to her in her wheelchair, telling her to be patient and wait right there while she parks the car. An estimated 90 seconds have passed. She hops into the car and pulls away.
Scene: Car interior with the daughter pulling out of the circle drive to go park. (Me. I’m the daughter. The person taking care of her mom. Punching my ticket to Heaven.)
There is an open space at the far edge of the lot. I grab my purse, don earmuffs, and put a full-length down coat on to head back to the hospital building. I feel good. Even peppy. It’s not too windy, so the frigid cold doesn’t cut like it can in Illinois. All good so far.
Mom is waiting patiently in her wheelchair, which is always a relief. I never know if she’ll hold on to my directions long enough to follow them. I spin her around and head towards the door into the hospital.
“Here we go!”
Before I even get any momentum, a tall, bouffant-haired woman, with the face of a snarling gargoyle looks directly at me with dark angry eyes as she brushes past to leave the hospital.
“I called your plates into the police.”
“Okay” pops out of my mouth a little too fast.
The automated door opens so we roll forward. Mom didn’t hear her, and certainly has no idea our little “convo” just happened. That woman just pulled a drive-by shooting. I’m wounded, but not critically. Fully aware I didn’t do anything to deserve it, I am in shock. That was her go to? Her first response to my car supposedly inconveniencing her in the circle drive? Seriously? Other cars were in the way as well. People take turns. But I guess that minute-and-a-half is gone for her and she’ll never get it back.
The women at the desk in the cardiologist’s office are surprised when I tell them someone just called my plates in. I mouth “what the fuck,” and one laughs encouragingly. Like, who does that?
“Where were you?”
“Just in the circle drive. You know, assisting my elderly mother into the building.”
“Yeah, I would love to talk to a cop and explain it all.”
It’s funny how a little spark like that woman’s comment can ignite my day. I don’t feel bad about it, but it sticks with me because I am so amazed by it. I try, to a fault, to be considerate, and to be “good” like a “good girl” should. Sometimes I sneak a couple of extra items through the express line, but overall? I’m no Lizzie Borden. So her anger surprises and baffles me, but mostly it sticks in my craw, niggling away at my psyche. I did what I always do, made people laugh about it. Laughed myself. But it is still there, like a bed bug, biting without really feeling it, and leaving a little itchy mark.
In the end, I know she is a miserable person who is probably having a miserable day. And that is just sad, but I really resent her passing any of her pus my way. I hate scraping that shit off while trying to make sense of it. There is no sense to be made. I simply need to move on. But the stench of her venomous action lingers. The worst thing about something like this is it immediately makes me second-guess myself. I rerun my actions in my head, searching for the criminal action worthy of a call to the police.
Will my car be towed from the lot? Will I be issued a citation? Am I a bad person?
Obviously, no cop in their right mind is going to do a damn thing about some woman who took too long in a circle drive of a hospital. Because it is a ridiculous call. Nothing happens. No arrest. No ankle monitor. And yet I am grateful there are no warrants out for my arrest. That might have made me ugly grumpy too.