Sunday, October 2, 2011

Thou Shalt Not Berate Women Stranded on the Side of the Road

Yesterday I posted about the good that came out of a situation that started out as a fiasco. Today I'm going to post about the bad. I already set up the situation, so I'll spare you the recap. Let's just pick up at the point when Erin and I were standing on the sidewalk next to a car with its hazard lights on.

So there we were, standing on the sidewalk next to a car with its hazard lights on, a clear indication that something problematic had occurred. I was on my phone, frantically calling my insurance company, one of my credit card companies, various towing operations, and Glenn in an effort to try to figure out what to do with my car. We were both pretty panic stricken, having thought my car was going to blow up, and I was insanely stressed, having no idea what was going to become of my car. It's one of the few times in my life I've felt completely and utterly helpless in a "helpless woman" sort of way.

In the forty-five minutes or so that Erin and I were stranded on the side of the road, I'd estimate that at least one thousand cars passed us. It sounds like a lot, but we were on a busier-than-not-busy street right in front of a college, across the street from a shopping center with Whole Foods and Barnes and Noble, and only a few blocks away from the entrance to I-95, so that thousand is probably a conservative estimate. Now, I didn't expect anybody to stop to offer us help--although it would have been nice--but what I didn't expect even more than that was for people to yell and scream at us. At least five separate cars slowed down long enough for people to yell something akin to "Move your car!" at us (because, you know, we were obviously just leaving it in the middle of the road where it could have been smashed into at any moment for fun). At one point, a bunch of guys in a pick up truck stopped behind my car, sat there for at least two minutes, and then, upon pulling away, yelled at me to get my fucking car out of the street.

My question is this: What the hell is wrong with people? Like I said, I wasn't expecting complete strangers to stop to help us, but did they have to berate us? Did they not think that, as two girls with a broken-down car in the rapidly-approaching dark, maybe we were scared enough already and didn't need random strangers hurling vicious words at us? Did they not think about how they'd like to be treated if something like that were to happen to them?

The world makes me sad. I know I can't change the miserable hearts and bad behavior of everybody in existence, but I know I can make a difference with some. As soon as I got home, I sat my sons down and told them that if they ever see a woman in trouble, it's their responsibility as good citizens and good people to offer help to them. Griffin, because he always wants to help everybody, pointed out that sometimes men need help, too, and he was absolutely right. Everybody needs help sometimes. I'm glad that, through my children, I'm able to contribute to a new generation that understands that.

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