Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Becoming Zsa Zsa Gabor

Jill's post about her daughter has inspired me to relate my own story about "losing it." Let me preface this by saying that rationally I know that speeding is my own fault and that I am not usually a loud, irrational, attention-hogging, obnoxious person. In fact, I'm usually the opposite. But Zsa Zsa Gabor is who I became last Saturday night.

A few days before, I got a speeding ticket coming back from picking up my son from school. There's this strip of road where the speed limit is 40 and goes to 55, and where it goes to 55 used to be in a different spot than it is now, so traffic usually goes faster than it should. I was just lolly-gagging along, going with the flow of traffic, not paying attention to my speed, and a cop clocked me going 52 in a 40. Not only that, but he said he pulled me over (i.e. singled me out from the other cars) because my registration was expired. Huh? I KNOW I paid it! I remember waiting in line FOREVER to pay it! Sure enough, the police officer ran my plates, and they were current. I'd just forgotten to put the sticker on. Aarrgh! So, that was my first speeding ticket.

Snap back to Saturday night. There'd been the usual traveling frustrations around Thanksgiving. I was doing all the holiday shopping while were were in Utah with all the post-Thanksgiving sales and Zen stayed back at my Mom's helping to watch the kids, and there were complaints from him and the teenagers that they were stuck watching the babies while I was out running errands. Hello! I watch babies 24/7, what's the big deal?! And besides, I'm out buying your presents and taking care of Christmas for you! But 99% of the time I'm the caboose when it comes to getting out of the door, and they all hate it, even though that's because I'm the one who can remember all the little things we need, and there are always little last-minute things that have to be added to the pile of things to pack in the car. I try hard to delegate, I really do. In fact on this trip, every time I handed Zen an assignment for packing, I said, "See, I'm delegating!" But despite all that, I was still the person holding everyone up late Saturday afternoon as I finished one more errand before we headed back to Rock Springs, Wyoming.

Plus, there's stress from being away from my business and knowing how much work is waiting for me when I get back. It's overwhelming sometimes! Working for yourself can be harder than working for someone else. But that's a topic for another time. Also, it had been probably 2 days since I'd taken my anti-anxiety meds, because I was just frazzled from traveling and I forgot. I don't want to use them as a copout, as if I don't have the ability to make my own choices, but let me tell you, they do make a difference if you've ever had to battle with depression. They just give you an extra edge over your own crazy biochemistry.

Okay, now finally down to the nitty-gritty of my story. Zen and I were traveling in separate vehicles, me in the mini-van and him in the truck, because our 7-person family and all our luggage just don't fit in one car anymore. I was taking it easy, letting him be the pace car, because I do have a lead foot I'll admit, and Zen likes to brag about the functioning cruise control on his truck (mine on the mini-van is broken.) I was falling behind, enjoying the scenery or something, and after falling behind about 1/4 to 1/2 mile Zen called me to ask if I was going to try and stay together in our little caravan. Yes, of course, you slow down, and I'll catch up. I went faster to catch up, and then spent the rest of the trip falling behind and then going faster to keep up. I fell behind again, and was speeding up to catch up just outside of Evanston, and that's when the flashing lights came up behind me for the second time in four days. I'm pretty sure I swore outloud, or was thinking about it. My emotional reaction was to feel anger, anger at Zen for going so darn fast and bugging me to keep up and anger at the cops for "picking on me." I know they are just doing their job, but come on, 2 tickets just days apart?! I just wanted to say, "Leave me alone!!!"

So, he clocked me going 87 in a 75 and he did his license and registration spiel: "Do you know why I pulled you over?" (I'm thinking, that's a stupid question!) "Ummm, probably for my speed." (Zen later told me I should never admit to anything, play dumb or something. Whatever, I was so strung out, just numb from the stress of vacation and having been pulled over twice in four days.) He took all my paperwork back to his car to write me up. I didn't time him, but it felt like forever before he came back. The longer I sat there, the more upset I became, angry at Zen, angry at the universe, angry at the cop, until I started crying and sent an angry text to Zen about what a lousy pace car he was. So, the cop finally came back, and I'm sitting there bawling my eyes out.

I think that's when the cop started treating me like a nuclear bomb about to go off. I'm sitting there crying, with my three youngest children (who I always refer to as "the babies" because they are so much younger than my teenagers. There's Connor who's 5, Emmas who's 2, and Sammy who's 7 months), as the dvd player is running How to Train Your Dragon for the 2nd or 3rd time. Blessedly, none of the children are crying, but I sure am! And these are angry tears. He tried to continue with his script of how to deal with the ticket, and I just blurted out in an angry way, "How much is this going to cost me?!" "Ma'am I know you are upset-" blah, blah, blah. Of course I'm upset, and if you don't want me to cry, take your stupid pink ticket and go away! But I don't say that, I just sit there fuming.

After he handed me the paperwork, he went back to his car. I just sat there, so upset, and not wanting to move. He came back after a few minutes, "Ma'am I know you are upset, but you really can't stay here on the side of the road." That's when I abandoned nearly all grip on good manners and emotional control. "I've got a stack of dvds, a bottle of formula, diapers, and wipes, and I will sit here as long as I want to!!" Yes, I really said that. And regrettably, it still feels good. "Ma'am, no, it's not safe here by the side of the road. Please drive on to the next exit and pull over." He went back to his car. Only now, I'm just angry, so I decide to sit there and play a game of chicken to see who will move their car first. I'm a passive-aggressive psycho now. Sure enough, he came back after a few minutes and asked me to move on.

But I'm in an angry, snotty mood and I decide to move my car, but only 20 feet down the road. Again, he got out of his car, came up and tapped on my window and asked me to move on. I decide to move my car another 20 feet down the road, only now my car is stuck in the snow bank. "Ma'am, let me call a tow truck for you." I quickly retorted, "Are you going to pay the bill?!! Get back there and push!" "No, ma'am I will not push your car." So, I got out of my car to start kicking snow out of the way, so I could move my car. "Ma'am, please don't do that. Get back in your car where it's warm and let me get my shovel." So, he's shoveling snow and I'm kicking snow. The car won't budge. At one point when he was standing back to let me move my car, I got out to kick snow again and grabbed his shovel where he'd left it and started heaving snow out of the way like a demon, thinking "I'm in so much better shape than you! I can do it faster!" He'd had a few too many donuts or chili dogs in his career. "Ma'am, here, let me do that." (Ma'am please quit being an irrational pycho.) And at one point, he did wind up pushing my car. Yes, that was satisfying, even though it didn't budge the car. Eventually I did get my car out with my persistant snow kicking, and I bet he was really, really glad to see me go.

I was still pretty angry, and now that I think about it, probably in need of a really, really long workout (it had been 3 days since I'd had a good workout.) Anyway, I was driving really, really slowly, only about 30 to 40, hoping he'd catch up just so I could be a pain in the butt again, but he must have 180'd just as soon as he could, so he wouldn't have to deal with me anymore. This whole time, Zen and the teenagers, who were in his truck, kept trying to get ahold of me, but we were in some kind of dead zone out there in the middle of nowhere. And this is making me angry, too, that they keep calling me but the call keeps getting dropped. I sent a couple angry texts when the phone calls didn't work, so I decide I will go home slowly, driving only about 50 to 55, taking my sweet time, just so I can be irritating. Irritating to who, I'm not sure, but I was one cranky chick.

I double-dosed myself with my meds Sunday, bawled my eyes out in sacrament meeting, apologized to Zen afterwards & bawled some more, got a lot of sleep, goofed off Monday, and then got back in the saddle yesterday, starting to take care of things I'd been procrastinating. I'm pretty much back to normal, and I think Zsa Zsa Gabor has left, but her perfume still lingers...


  1. Oh Becky, aka Zsa Zsa, I do feel your pain and frustration. I've got a whole slew of ticketing stories (my tickets of course) but none to match two in one week. I'm glad you're calmer, rested and back in the saddle. On Sunday I taught an RS lesson using a talk from conference given by PresidenT Uchtdorf. His advice, "SLOW DOWN." Do read it and do take time to enjoy The season and the reason for the season. It's advice I'm trying to apply to myself although Audrey was over at the house tonight and I was stressing, stressing, I need to SLOW DOWN TOO.

    I hate it when I lose it in front of other people, I hate it when I lose it in private....we've all done it. Love you Becky.

  2. It must be all the stress in the air, I'm telling you. I have felt like a raving lunatic the last few days.

    My hubby used to be a cop so I kind of feel like I understand both sides of the coin on this one. It's not easy on either side. Glad to see you were able to take some time and relax and glad to see you back posting.

  3. Loved this post! Sorry about two tickets. that sucks, but I have to say it sounds like the cop was a pretty patient, understanding individual despite the situation. Thank goodness for that.
    Hope you're feeling better this week.
    I have found myself losing control of my emotions so much more these days. Don't know if it's because I have twin three year old boys who are just driving me to insanity, or if it's my hormones going nutso cause I'm not getting any younger. Or maybe it's just a sign of the times?
    Or it could be, that I'm not where I need to be spiritually. I'm working on that though. (This sounds like a post in itself). :)

  4. Yes, he really was patient with me. I was provoking him, deliberately, and he didn't rise to the bait. I should thank my lucky stars. I'm thinking of sending him a thank-you/apology card. Not quite sure what to say. Maybe "Thank-you for not arresting the irrational psycho by the side of the road last Saturday." Should I send him some treats or something? Hmmm...

  5. I cried and laughed all through your post! You have GUTS girl!! I can not believe you did that!!! I am sure it will be a story he tells forever! :) Thanks for reminding me that I am not the only one that loses it :) I am so glad you are feeling better. I am working on it :)

  6. The best thing about it all is that, in the end, it makes for a great story...and you are able to laugh at yourself. Some people never realize the first and never get to the second.

    Slow down friend!