One of the utterly stupidest things I have done in my adult life happened at a time when I was 8-months pregnant with my second child. My hormones were all over the place that day (not an excuse, but a reality) and my husband had really annoyed me. My husband and his friend were standing out front of the house. I was planning to go pick up a couple of groceries. After my daughter was asleep, I begrudgingly climbed into the driver’s seat of his ¾ ton diesel pickup. I hated this pickup. I hated the loud rattle of the diesel engine. I hated that I had to climb up in this manhood vehicle with my enormous baby tummy. I hated that my car was blocked by all kinds of junk in the garage that I was too tired to think about moving. And this vehicle reminded me of my long-time battle with my farmer father-in-law. In my mind, the diesel pickup was a manifestation of a lot of things not going right in my life at that time.
I backed the pickup up and felt a small thump. I looked over at my husband and his friend, Jim, and my husband had an unalarmed smirk on his face. Therefore, I figured I hadn’t hit anything important. I thought, “Damn it. I just hit the old, beat up tricycle.” I pulled forward a few feet. I was instantly embarrassed, angry and I had reached the peak of crappy, misery mountain. It had been a day where it seemed everything had gone wrong. So I did the stupidest thing. I put the car in reverse and tried to run over the tricycle completely. I figured I had already bent the tricycle so I might as well evince my frustration and exhaustion into tangible metal-bending action. I should have exited the vehicle, but I continued with my poor choice and hit the gas.
Here I was crumpling my burdens—so I thought. The old, used tricycle was given to us by my consuming and annoying in-laws. It was one of an endless amount of junk (literally and figuratively) shoved at me daily by them. I just was tired of dealing with junk. Only it wasn’t junk or a tricycle behind my car: it was a car! I smashed into Jim’s Toyota Tercel (I would like to note that the Toyota Tercel isn’t much bigger than a tricycle!). So while Jim stood in my yard and watched this sequence of events unfold, he witnessed me smack the front of his tiny car with a large pickup, not once, but twice. Ugh!
I keep visualizing my tricycle (I mean car) crumpling moment as I watch the news, announcements, and social media describing the unprecedented chaos and cruelty of the first few weeks of the Trump Presidency. I keep wanting to write about another topic, but I keep getting drawn into the confusion and irresponsible actions of our current President. I am astounded at how quickly Trump is derailing even himself. Luckily, in my case, my stupid rage event took place 11 years ago and thankfully, I (even through 4 more pregnancies after that) never had as foolish of an angry moment of that degree again. And thank goodness my friend Jim is an empathetic, wonderful human being and 11 years later as good as a friend as my husband and I could ask for. Obviously, it was entirely my fault. And when one fucks up, you have to pay the piper…yes, deal me in. I will take responsibility for my actions.
Not Trump. I keep visualizing Trump hitting the tiny Tercel (Trump would not be at the steering wheel because he wouldn’t be brave enough for that). Only Trump wouldn’t just tap the car. No, he would blast the fuck out of it. Trump just keeps backing up over humanity under the quintessential fascist guise of “I’m helping you by getting rid of anyone that doesn’t jump on board my chaotic ride.” If there is anything consistent in the first weeks of this Presidency, it’s that Trump WILL hit the gas again! And again…and again…
And when Trump exits the vehicle, he would not even admit to lying, cheating, stealing, threatening, and generally crumpling humanity. First, he would blame President Obama or Secretary Clinton for whatever accident he caused. Then, he would likely sue Jim for owning a Tercel in the first place (“Tercel’s are not fabulous like me, Jim”). Then, he would sue GM for a “faulty” brake. And I bet he would sue the driveway (if he could) for being too smooth and not slowing the impact. He would do anything other than look in the rearview mirror and perceive that only one person is at fault—the person hitting the gas. Jack Tapper had a segment on CNN recently that ends with the statement, “It’s not a moral position if you only hold it when it applies to you.” When you hit the gas, it is your responsibility to avow for your own actions.
What did I do on that day? I pulled forward away from the now broken headlight and creased hood and laid my head on the pickup steering wheel for a few minutes. No one said anything. I sheepishly got out of the pickup. I briefly looked at Jim’s car and I silently looked toward Jim and my husband and I did my 8-month pregnant side-to-side gait into the house. Certainly, grocery shopping needed to wait for another day. I tossed the keys on the counter and sank onto the couch. There was no sense of relief. Instead, my embarrassment, sadness, exhaustion amplified exponentially. Everything had gone wrong? Now what?
Clearly, when you make the choice to flatten a tricycle (or Tercel) or witness someone back over your car, something needs to change. Was the Tercel really the problem? No. First, it was essential for me to apologize. Second, I needed to fix the immediate new problem I created and pay for damages and repairs. Third, I really needed someone to listen to me at that moment. Because, like Ellen DeGeneres pointed out recently on a segment of her show indirectly discussing President Trump’s Muslim Ban: “…that’s what we do when someone needs help, you HELP them!” And not surprisingly, when you run into your friend’s car twice, they notice and hopefully, HELP you. Thankfully, in my case, my husband and his friend were willing to laugh and listen to me (for hours). Of course, I bought Jim a new light and we pushed the dent out of the hood of the car. And I have never forgotten how calm and cool Jim was during this event. There was no rage. He never blamed me. He may tease me about it from time to time (as to be expected), but he set the calm bar pretty high that day.
I have to pay the piper for my day-to-day choices enough. I’ve ridden too many chaotic, narcissist rides for this lifetime, and I shouldn’t have to constantly pay Trump’s piper. None of us should. We don’t need to be crumpled by Presidential Rage. Deal me in to pay my own piper, but none of us should have to pay someone else’s piper, EVER.