I remember the first time I had a fish taco in Mexico. I was with some friends that I was traveling with, and at that same taco stand, in that alley in Ensenada, I was brought a corn tortilla with one breaded piece of deep fried fish inside. What is THIS? is what actually went through my mind. Of course, I hadn't been brought into the wonderful culture which abides in and around street tacos and fish tacos and I was clueless. I was a Philistine in the world of street food in Mexico, I had no idea what I was doing. I was a baby. It was like going to India and seeing a Samosa Walla and having no idea what a samosa is. Now, of course, I'm a pro.
Anyways, it was perfect. The night was a little bit chilly, and the kids were content after a day at the beach. We were all a little sleepy and as we carried the kids back to the car I remember thinking: "this is perfect".
Then we got to the border.
So, I mean, I have a few issues with letting things build up inside me and then exploding. It's happened before. Perhaps you're reading this and you know me, and you've seen it. Or perhaps you have no idea what I'm talking about, because my "blow-ups" are like someone else's tiny little sneezes. I don't know, I really can't tell how much I freak out sometimes. I always seem to be asking someone else, "Did that seem like, way over the top?" or "Did I really yell at that person?"
The lines at the border were relatively long, and we were going to get home late as it was. It was okay, though. Chinua and I were in really good moods, the kids were sleeping, and the Mexican border people were giving us a really good opportunity to use all our pent up sarcasm and mockery on the delightful and quite gigantic large screen commercials. We were giddy, really. We laughed like kids.
We started to get closer, though, and something went terribly wrong. At 11:00 pm, the American border guards closed FOUR of the stations on the left hand side of the lines, merging everyone in those four lanes over to the other four lanes. We were in the far left lane. Okay. So. We tried to exercise patience. We sat and we sat, going nowhere for ages. And then came the Volvo. Two giddy girls in a red volvo came speeding up from behind us, cutting over and zooming ahead, trying to form a line between our line and the line beside us. I started to get irate. The kids had, at this point, woken up and were all crying in unison, like a wolf cub choir, only not as cute.
The girls were kinda stuck, though, to which I thought out loud: HA! They kept trying to creep in, and the man in the Golf beside them yelled out loudly, "Hey, what are you trying to DO?" and kept asking, loudly and with a charming Hispanic accent. Tough girl in the passenger seat took that as her cue to start heckling, yelling and thumping his car with her fist. He tried to ignore her. She got worse. Finally Chinua rolled down my window (I was in the passenger seat) and leaned over me. The driver of the Volvo said, "We need help." He said, in characteristic superstar peace-keeping fashion: "Hey, we're all waiting here, we all need to get through, let's just keep it peaceful, okay?" Everyone started to calm down.
Then I had what felt like a mini-volcano inside me and stuck my head out the window. "You shoulda thought of this when you decided to SNEAK up from behind like that," I said, in a very hissy and condescending voice. I heard tough girl in the passenger seat start to yell "OH GIRL, no you DON'T!" but then I rolled up my window and didn't hear the rest. The peace had vanished.
Chinua looked over at me. "You just had to put your two cents in, didn't you?" (And added later, "If you're going to zing somebody, Rae, at least try to really zing them, okay?")
And I'm telling you all of this because life feels unfair sometimes, and I start to feel like a victim, like, poor me, the Volvos of this world always get their way, and poor me, I had three kids close together and I don't even know if I can really do this mom thing. And then that volcano thing starts up inside of me, and I say dumb things that ruin the peace. Things that start with "you shoulda thought of that..."
Which is what I say to myself, all the time. You shoulda thought of that before. Here's to not saying "You shoulda" anymore. I think it clouds my creativity. I can't do anything with a "You shoulda" chip on my shoulder. And I know that God doesn't use those words. So, no more? We'll see.