I took my Mom to a follow up appointment with her hip surgeon on Thursday. It was meant to be a relatively short trip with a stop for lunch and Costco added into the mix. Leave at 11, home in time for a Zoom conference call at 6. Easy peasy.
That should give you most of the information you need to finish the story…
Everything was great up to and through our lunch. We had to eat in the car because new COVID guidelines, but it was all very pleasant. After a quick side trip to Krispy Kreme we started our journey home by pointing the car toward Costco.
When we hit the front door at Costco, the ball of yarn began to unravel.
The first signal of impending doom was the Mom stopped right inside the door to fish out her list and to put away her card. I gently (honestly!) suggested that she move out of the flow of traffic to do all this, and after a small amount of cajoling, she did. Good job, on with the shopping!
The theme of the afternoon quickly became me trying to get her to not walk down the middle of the aisles. I tried to point out that she was slow (just a couple week on that shiny new hip after all) and that it made for a better shopping experience for all of us if she tried to stay close to one side or the other. She did not seem to agree and kept drifting to the center.
Eventually I decided that it would be a good idea if I put her and her cart in one spot and brought her desired items back to her. I am far more mobile and this method would certainly get us out of there faster. I had plenty of time built into the schedule, but I didn’t want to have to try to be on a conference call and drive that evening. It worked sufficiently in the fruit and produce area, but when we needed to move to other parts of the store, this plan was not as workable.
[Cut to an old woman wander the center aisle of Costco with younger people patiently stacking up behind her.]
Our next item was yogurt. She insisted, I mean really, really, really insisted that it was in the closest cold aisle to us. I pointed out that the two big boxes making the aisle were both freezers and therefore would not have yogurt in them. She let me know, in no uncertain terms, that she KNEW where yogurt was. I offered to place $1000 on each of our theories. She did not find the humor in my suggestion and in stead asked an employee. He told he the same information I gave her, which to her ears sounded better. Yogurt was, indeed, in the refrigerator, nit the freezer.
[Cut to Paul getting more cranky.]
The rest of the shopping devolved into more of the same- me trying to get an 86 year old lady to change the way she’s always done things. One of my favorite “Recoveryisms” is “”Expectations are premeditated resentments.” I should have known better.
Eventually I took a photo of her in the aisle to try and demonstrate to her that she really was blocking traffic. She got mad and told me that “if they want to get by, they can honk.” That was my final straw. I put the box of Clif Bars I was holding into the cart and told her I was done and I’d see her at the front of the store.
Wait a minute, that’s not exactly right, is it? Sure, I put that box in the cart, but it certainly wasn’t a Step 5 “exact nature of our wrongs” kind of telling of the story. I chucked them in there with a bit of pep. It was ridiculous and I’m sure people thought things of me that weren’t really kind.
Now I’m standing on the other side of the checkout counters fuming. No, pouting. Well, I suppose I was doing quite a lot of both!
Now for the fun part…
As I’m leaning against the wall and stewing I see an employee walk by. As he does, he gives an encouraging word to a fellow employee. “Let your light shine…”
Ughhhhh. Jesus smacked me right in the kisser with that one. I knew what the guy meant. Now mind you, he had no idea what had transpired, none whatsoever. He was just telling his mate to be a good person and not let the chaos get to them.
I spent the rest of the trip in silent reflection. Not one word on a 90 minute drive. I definitely knew what I needed to do, but couldn’t muster the gumption. I was ignoring the “prompt” part of Step 10. I left things foul that night when I dropped Mom off, but the Spirit kept working on me all night.
The next day I drove to Mom’s house and gave her a hug and a kiss. I told her that I loved her and that I behaved poorly. I told her that I was wrong.
That’s the job, people. I can never stop working my steps. How could I go up and teach a lesson on amends but be unwilling to do it in my own life?
It’s always best to be prompt, but however long it takes, we can always…