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Ready To Pounce







My “boss” Jackie – a real sweetheart – surprised us at work the other day with something she found outside.

Here’s a snapshot of it:

Her comment was that this now-deceased snake apparently died in-process of pouncing.  I thought about that and started to ponder the number of times we humans are ready to pounce.

I do it.  Others do, too.  It’s hard to imagine a world of peace if we can’t manage to un-pounce ourselves.


A few weeks ago, I went to a nearby nature area where there is a good walking path.  My husband, who has not been well, was with me, and we were going to try a brief outing.  My daughter from NY was also with us.  I parked in a Handicapped spot, as we legitimately have a reason and the placard to prove it.  Now here’s the thing:  it’s a small parking lot.  If it’s full, the only alternative is either leaving/going home, or parking close to a mile away and walking to the place where the path begins.  That wouldn’t work for us, due to his medical status.

After we parked, we walked, though slowly, and it went pretty well.  When my husband & I got back to our car, my daughter, who had hustled ahead on her own, was sitting, waiting for us.  She watched me as I approached the car.  She watched me as I looked at a huge note taped onto my driver’s side window.  She watched me as I told my husband, “Wait here” (actually it was more like a snarled “WAIT. HERE.”) & they both watched as I stormed off to have a “chat” with the parking attendant who had left the note which read, in part, that I had parked in a Handicapped spot & that a woman passer-by saw our car and wanted to call the police.  He had asked her to please not do that – that he would leave me a note asking me not to park there again.

So, ready to pounce, as one often gets when under the stress of a family illness, I went to the attendant to explain that we indeed had a Handicapped tag swinging from the rear view mirror in the front of our car, which is where it is supposed to go, that my husband…blah blah blah…well, I gave the attendant (who was a really sweet guy) TMI, including asking him to give the woman who complained about us parking there a couple of choice words from me if he saw her again, which completely cracked him up, obviously he didn’t know Grandma-types could have mouths like sailors.  Are you following this?  We had the darned placard.  It was posted.  We parked.  Someone apparently looked at our license plate and no further & concluded we had parked illegally/unethically/irresponsibly enough that she wanted the police to come!  I wish she had called them.  The police would have walked her over to our placard – well, my fantasies of what they might have said to her were quite vivid.

The nice parking lot guy was so sweet to me, he even ended up by saying next time we came there, he’d let us park next to him, near his booth.  It must have been the crazed look in my eyes.  The poor guy had not realized that some placards are just hung up in the front of cars, and not just imprinted on license plates.

I was steaming mad all day.  Ready to pounce.  I wished I could have confronted the woman who complained.  My rational thinking allowed for some reasonable explanations:  Was she upset about something in her own life?  Did she have a loved one with a Handicapped plate on the car & had more than once been blocked out of doing an activity because there was no place to park?  Was she out to save the world (in her own mind), one car at a time?

It was days – no, weeks – before I could let this go.  I felt affronted, misjudged.  It was out of proportion.  There were occasional times on the road – like the day I got into the wrong lane and for about 1/4 mile, tried to get into the correct lane, blinker on, signaling so I could ultimately get in the right path for the turnpike entrance – to get home, to get groceries, to get, to get, to get…for my husband.  A kind soul finally let me in.  The pain of being helpless when faced with illness in someone you love is overwhelming at times.  And my reaction?  I am ready to pounce.

That is what I thought of when Jackie brought in the dead snake in pounce-pose.  And I took a few breaths, physically and emotionally, and allowed myself to process the pounce, to realize that just maybe the woman who “reported” us was also in pounce mode.  Or maybe not.

But I knew I had to back down.  Had to back down and fight off the pounce mentality – lest it catch me mid-air and kill me, too.

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