shame, shame

Have you ever reflected on a situation and felt ashamed? And maybe wished you could go back in time and handle it better? Sigh. I hope I’m not alone in this. I wish I could go back about 45 minutes. I was heading out to walk my pup. I noticed that the neighbor had their porch lamp on, which is unusual. Just a quick second later I saw a SUV turning into our driveway.

My dogg-o was at the end of the driveway sniffing the neighborhood pee pee bush. Every dog marks this particular boxwood. So, every time we leave the house, she needs to check it out. It was dark, and I was afraid the entering vehicle’s driver didn’t see my dog. So, I leapt a few steps toward the car, waving my arms furiously, shouting “Stop! Stop!”

Spoiler alert, no dogs were injured in the making of this tale. She was completely unaware of the automobile, and was more alarmed by my outburst.

The neighbors get food deliveries quite frequently. It doesn’t seem that they’ve informed the deliverers that theirs is the corner house, and their driveway is not… well, my driveway. It all clicked for me that this person was likely coming to deliver food to the well lit house beside mine. In the moment, while my heart was still racing, all I said, “Wrong house. Back up.”

I didn’t suggest that the house they were likely looking for was that one. I didn’t offer any assistance at all. I was so shook by the near-accident. Once the SUV cleared my property, I proceeded to walk with my dog. As my stress reaction subsided, I felt like such a jerk. Why didn’t I tell the driver (or his passenger) that the house they were likely looking for was my neighbor’s? Why didn’t I have the wherewithal to help them out? They were simply trying to complete the task at hand, they were not intentionally out to harm me or my dog. Frankly, they may not have known that the dog was even there, and they just saw a crazed woman charging their vehicle, flapping her fool arms.

Doggie and I strolled a couple of blocks, enjoying the warmer air that this February evening offered. As we walked, I tried to figure out if there was a way I could fix this. I wanted to amend my knee-jerk-mama-bear reaction. I thought perhaps I could order something from Door Dash so that I could hopefully get the same driver and apologize, and give an extra tip. I harbored guilt because I had figured out who he was, and what his purpose was, though he might not have known that…

As we walked toward home, my shame was in full effect. I felt a little nauseated. I am always really hard on myself, particularly when I impact other people. There are always variations to every story. The driver, the passenger, and I would tell this tale completely differently, because we each have different backstories, experiences, and perspectives. I know this, and that’s what makes me feel especially silly.

My neighbor’s porch light was turned off when we got back, confirming my suspicion. I turned into my driveway with my head hung. And that’s how I spotted the carry out drink lid in my driveway. And the ice cubes. And the soda. It seems that the delivery driver needed to rid his vehicle of some excess waste, and found the perfect place for it.

I love words. Words swirl and dance around in my head. I have many deep thoughts. Some thoughts plague me. In order to release them, I have to assign words. Once the words are strung together, I feel free again.

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