Thursday, November 21, 2013

Learning to Forgive

I moved from Colorado in the middle of the 3rd grade.
Since I attended a private school in Colorado - and was put in public school when we moved - I was a bit ahead academically than the rest of my peers. 

Instead of skipping a grade and becoming "that girl"for the rest of my academic career, I decided to do my own work in the corner of my class instead. 

The move to the corner didn't help my social life, which was already damaged due to being the "new girl". In fact, I spent most of the 3rd grade friendless. 

Going into 4th grade, I abandoned the corner and decided to join the rest of the class in the normal curriculum, thinking I was bound to have more friends that way. 

4th grade did not go well. 
I was in Miss Peter's 4th grade class. 
Madge was in Miss Peter's 4th grade class. 
Madge didn't like me. 

I thought maybe just my doll playing was "the worst" so I attempted to join in other activities. 


Still the worst.

Madge seemed to take delight in making my 9 year old life miserable.  

She would never let me play with her or the other girls in my class, made fun of my lack of glasses (how does that work?) and convinced my only/best friend Tessa to ditch me every other day at recess. 

I hated school. 

Every morning I would drag my feet getting ready, dreading the moment I had to walk into the classroom and spend the day alone. 

One morning, I had an idea.

If you're sick you don't have to go to school - so I started my acting career and faked sick.

It worked on day 1 - I got to sleep in with the "throw-up bowl" and a bottle of 7-up by my bed. 

Later - my tummy ache went away and I got to play all day long. 

The next day I was sick again. 

Having used most of my drama skills the day before, I kept it simple.

She was skeptical on day 2 but retrieved my bowl and sprite anyway. 

And then I played with mom. 

Day 3 my acting career was over.

I was out of sick days. I couldn't fake it again and, unless I came up with some other reason I couldn't grace the halls of Greenville elementary, I was going to school. 

I contemplated 

1) "Falling out of bed", anding on my arm wrong and hoping that it broke. 
2) Pretending my teacher was force feeding me drugs
3) Running away forever. 

Instead - Mom found out why I didn't want to go to school. 
She did what any good mom would do - she hugged and me let cry. 

Then she came up with a plan. 
I imagined her marching into school, dragging Madge out into the hall by her stupid hair and either hurting her feelings or her face. 

Mom had another idea.

Mothers are wise beyond all reason, I don't know where the wisdom comes from but I hope it's just naturally grown with pregnancy because I definitely do NOT have it yet. 

As I walked into school with Madge's cookies, I couldn't help but feel angry and bitter. 
Whey on earth does Madge get cookies when she is the meanest girl in the 4th grade? 

I pouted the whole way into school, running scenarios in my mind on how to give Madge the cookies AND be super mean all at the same time.

The Idea Fairy visited me once more.

Yes. I ruined Madge's cookies and then gave them to the office as a "special delivery". 

She was paged to the office 20 minutes later and I smirked as she left the room because I knew she was going to pick up a pile of cookie crumbs. 


15 years later - now that I am friends with Madge and we've discussed this fateful 4th grade day - I found out she threw away my cookie crumb friendship offering.
I don't really blame her. 

I did eventually forgive Madge and she is one of my best friends now, but I harbored the hate for almost 3 years before I finally let it go. 

I'm sad to report I may not have completely grasped the lesson my mom was trying to instill in the 4th grade me - 

love your enemies and forgive easily. 

I am a natural harborer. 
I believe it's because I have such a great memory - but that may just be a euphemism to excuse my own vices. I am also accused of being judgmental, elitist and, at times, unwelcoming. 

This isn't to say I don't have any good qualities - but this post is not about my many (and there are MANY) talents - this is about my quest for change.

Do I like sharing these faults on the internet with all of my friends, family and acquaintances? 
No, not particularly - but I've come to some new realizations lately and think some of you may benefit from my epiphany. 

So here are my 5 steps for learning to forgive. 

1) Remember that people rarely hurt you for the fun of it. 
What they do is mostly about them - whether they're doing it unintentionally, in an effort to make themselves feel better or because you did something to them first, it's usually not about you. 
It's about them. 

2) Realize it's easier to forgive than to nurse a grudge for the next 20 years.
Anger takes energy - let it go and you have much more time for adventures - which is what life is really about anyway right?

3) Focus on the present 
Instead of dwelling on the past and reliving all the reasons this offender has ruined your life (or the 4th grade) focus on all the great things you've got going on. 
If you're reading this - you are using a computer, which means you have more than most of the people I love in other countries.

4) Service and selflessness. 
As much as I hate to admit it, my mom was right. By serving someone you think more about them than yourself. You put their needs above yours, which will make you happy. 

Plus, if that doesn't work, they'll at least feel super crappy about being mean to you because you were a sweetheart and they were a jerk. 

5) Cookies. Everyone needs a cookie. 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Rylan's Wagon

The Browning family lived next door to us. 

The Brownings always had an immaculate yard - they spent hours every summer pruning their planter boxes - weeding their large garden and intricately planning the placement of each piece of shrubbery.
Shrubbery is a weird word. 

Ryan is my little brother. He also lived next door to the Brownings. 

Ryan was an adventurous child. He was convinced he was half dog until the age of eight, put his head through a wall in the middle of temper tantrum and locked my other siblings and I out of the house for two hours while I was babysitting. 

His inadvertently destructive adventures often affected our neighbors - most frequently the Brownings and their impeccable yard. 

He once let an entire bucket full of snakes loose in their raspberries since my mom wouldn't let him keep them as pets. 

Mr. Browning did not always love living next door to Ryan. 

Ryan also had a red radio flyer wagon. He filled his wagon with "treasures" he found - usually in other people's homes, rooms and areas.
Some of the Browning's thing ended up in the wagon. 
This may have been an early sign of kleptomania - we're still watching him. 

One day, immediately after the Brownings had planted a new row of baby trees along their sidewalk, Ryan was out for a walk. 

He came across the baby tree. 

He liked the baby tree. He wanted to take it home as a "treasure".

He rummaged around in his wagon of stolen things.

He found an axe he nicked from my Father's toolbench. 

He cut down the Browning's tree. 

And put it in his wagon. 

He then brought the tree home as a keepsake. 

The Brownings watched the whole thing from their window. 

The End. 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Whitney The Thief.

I am not your typical girly girl. 

Yes I love new clothes and a perfect outfit but, as previously explicated in Why I'm Banned From E-bay, I do not enjoy traditional shopping. 

Stores hurt my feet, wallet and - most recently - my pride. 

The universe, and all of the stores in my area, have decided I am a thief. 
The universe has no basis for these grounds - I haven't stolen anything since I accidentally took a purple bracelet from a garage sale in the third grade. That time my mom drove me clear across town to return the bracelet or pay the 25 cents.
I used a piece of my father's silver collection as a quarter and paid for the bracelet...
but that's another story. 

Since that experience I haven't stolen a thing - other than food from my friends and family - yet I've been a presumed shoplifter four times in the last 2 weeks. 

For some reason I've been setting off store security systems on my way in and out of stores.
So far I've set off alarms in: 

TJ Maxx and 
Smiths Marketplace 

... which is probably because those are the only stores I shop at. 

2 out of 4 of the store experiences went like this: 

Each time I set off the alarms the entire store turns my way, employees skeptically eye my bags and twice I've had to verify the contents of my purse and purchases.

I've searched my purse - there is no security tag left on the seams. 
I've been wearing different outfits each time I've beeped - I have no metal plates, pins or other metal hardware inside my body (that I know of).

Theories have been postulated which include:

A) My recent dental work has become electromagnetic due to the massive amount of microwave food I consume. 
B) I'm the victim of a terrible practical joke in which i've been surgically implanted with a secret security tag. 
C) My cell phone is lonely due to my lack of friends and subsequent lack of texts - so it talks to the sensors. 

All three are viable options.
But in all seriousness - If you know what's happening to me PLEASE tell me in the comments because it's becoming a problem. And I like comments. 

Up until today only inanimate objects have deemed me a criminal - that changed. 

I went shopping with the woman (my mom) today. 
We went to a few stores - set off a few alarms - and ended up at Sam's Club. 
Usually I like Sam's club - today I did not like Sam's club. 

They have a ridiculous receipt checking policy in which minimum wage workers "check" your receipt against your cart contents before you're allowed to leave the store. 
Many times I've gone through the sensors with friends or family and only shown one receipt for the groceries of two people.
 It's never been noticed. 

Today we got in line to exit to the store and have our merchandise "checked" against our receipt. 
As we're leaving, my mom decides she wants boxes. 
Sam's Club offers the left over boxes from inventory to customers to facilitate easy transfer of purchased items since they do not provide grocery bags.

I had a box of instant breakfast packets (which I purchased) under my arm so it wouldn't crush the bread on the top of the cart. 

I went back in the store to retrieve boxes. 
Only my mother's receipt was "checked' since mine was in my pocket.
All of the groceries (except my breakfast packets) went out. 

Behind my mother in the exit line was elderly couple. 
Apparently today's checker knew this elderly couple - they stopped to chat. 

As they chatted, the line grew longer and longer. 
As I stood there awkwardly juggling my breakfast packets and three haphazardly stacked boxes I noticed the "enter" door directly adjacent to the "exit" door was line free and staffed by one idle worker. 

Since I had no cart or receipt in clear view - only my boxes - I decided to try and exit through the enter door. 
This is not allowed.

She said no. 
I thought if I explained myself - that my purchases were already out of the store and I wouldn't steal a package of breakfast packets were I in the habit of pulling heists - she would understand. 

I fished my receipt - with an armful of boxes mind you - out of my back pocket to show her. 

She budged zero amount. 
She also smiled zero amount. 

By this time the other redhead - apparently Sam's Club likes to hire red headed door checkers - had engaged in a full fledged  4 minute long conversation with her elderly friends. 
4 minutes may not seem very long but when you're standing in a line to exit a store you don't want to be at in the first place - 4 minutes is an eternity. 

The line to exit the store was at least 15 carts deep and reached the cash registers 40 feet down the isle. This was getting ridiculous.  
And there was no way I was going to the back of that line. 

I figured I'd give it one last attempt - surely this "enter" employee could dual perform and double check my receipt for the one item I did have with me - my instant breakfast packets. 

Also a no. 
Tera does not check receipts. 

So I returned to my former place in line. 

The "Enter" redhead - her name is Tera (name not changed since she was a grumpy - take that Tera) threw me a dirty look when I retook my place behind the talkative elderly couple rather than trudge back 50 feet. 

Tera finally realized the line was getting exceedingly long and decided her job description did include receipt checking after all. 
She walked over to the man directly behind me, checked his receipt and allowed him to leave the store. 

Right about this time the lessons learned in AP government and the voice of my liberal, highly political uncle Steve invaded my head. 

I felt an illogical  and misplaced surge of patriotism and decided I would defy the receipt checkers.
This was the land of the free by golly and I was going to be free!  

Yes. Yes they do that. 

Next thing I knew I was being chased and verbally accosted by my new friend Tera. 

But there was no stopping me. 
I was going to refuse checking on moral grounds now - on patriotic principle! 
I was a receipt withholding American citizen with the freedom to leave Sam's however I please. 

She really yelled for Back-up. I thought that was just something people did in movies and dramatic cop dramas - I've now learned it's a part of the Sam's Club employee handbook. 

By the way - remember the 15 cart line up? 

Yup, still there and enjoying the spectacle. 

Now remember how I told her to "try and stop me"? 
I assumed her attempts to stop me would be rhetoric based.... 

They were not. 
Tera lunged at/around me in order to apprehend me - the probable breakfast burglar. 

I don't remember her actually touching me so much as the boxes I was precariously balancing - but whatever she did was effective. 

I went down. 

She moved surprisingly fast considering her body type. 
She was back up by the time "back-up" arrived. 

Then she tattled on me like a little girl. 

The "Back-up" was great big huge. 
I can see why they chose him to be "Back-up"
 He picked up my receipt and looked it over - glancing between my long "unmarked" receipt and the pile of empty boxes on the floor.
I belligerently stood up, gathered my boxed and stood right in front of him, just to see what the giant back-up would do.  

I tried to show him my fury with my eyes. 

He didn't seem to notice. He just gave me back my receipt and let me go. 

But I didn't go. 
Instead I walked out the door to my mother waiting in the car, dropped the boxes and my breakfast packets and marched right back in the door. 

I stormed over to the service desk and demanded to see a manager, because I was angry. 

The longer I waited, however, the less hard and angry I became. 
Instead all of those angry emotions turned to sad emotions - probably because I'm an estrogen infused sissy at heart. By the time the manager got there I was crying in the tire section. 

My eloquent and thought out polemic wouldn't come out of my bumbling quivering mouth - instead I just spouted my callow grievances and told them "Tera was mean to me".  

I'm pretty sure nothing was done about it. I just stormed out in tears and got in my mom's car. 

And, to add insult to injury, I forgot to pick up my pictures. 

I can't even boycott Sam's Club for a whole week.
And stores still think I'm a thief. 

Feel sad for me. 

The End. 
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