I dropped the boys off at camp on Thursday.
They’re staying there, with my family, while I’m in San Jose for BlogHer ’14 with my husband. It’s really a treat for everyone. They play, have a blast, get to stay up late and eat all the ice cream, spend time with family, and make new friends. My husband and I get a mini-vacation, even if I work the whole thing.
Saying goodbye to them doesn’t get any easier.
When we stopped in on Sunday to check on them, they didn’t care that we had been gone since Thursday. As we said goodbye until the following Monday, BigBrother simply gave me a hug and ran out the door to go find his friends, the screen door slamming behind him.
LittleBrother looked up at me. “Eight days,” he mumbled. His eyes were wide.
“Yes, but then we’ll be home. You’ll have a good time with your brother and your other friends.”
“Yeah, you’re right. See ya later!” He shrugged as he kissed me and ran out the door, chasing after his brother.
I miss them so much right now, but I am not worried about them nor do I feel guilty. They’re having a blast. They’re safe. They’re happy. The same can be said of us here in California. Not too shabby at all.
I have been meaning to write this story since BlogHer ’12 in NYC. Since BlogHer ’14 kicks off in San Jose later this week, I thought it was time to sit down and tell this story.
My husband and I arrived in New York City via train. We roadtripped to my daughter’s parents’ house, parked our car, and took the train into the city. It was cheaper than flying, I got to see my daughter, and it was way more fun because trains. However, we walked out of the train station to a drizzly rain. Know what that means in NYC? It means you’re never, ever going to catch a cab. This was pre-Uber. We walked a couple blocks, tried again, and failed again.
So we just kept walking toward the hotel, dragging our suitcases and bags along behind us.
A few blocks into our walk, I was sweaty from the walk and the humidity, and wet the drizzly rain. The previous week I had just endured a back procedure hoping to help heal the back injury from 2010, so I was feeling a little tender still as I walked and walked and walked that early afternoon.
As happens in NYC, a gentleman stepped out in front of me on the sidewalk to hand me a flyer for who knows what. I didn’t pay attention at the time, so I surely don’t remember now. I wasn’t a newbie to NYC. I avoided eye contact and just kept walking. Normally this deters the person and they leave you alone, searching for their next person.
Not this guy.
He followed along beside me for awhile. Mind you, my husband was just a step or two behind me off my other shoulder, but this guy either didn’t notice or didn’t care. He walked a step or two ahead of me, facing me, walking nearly sideways on the sidewalk. He stared, willing me to look at him.
Nope. Not gonna happen, buddy.
Finally, he leaned in close and whispered, “You’re not the nice person you think you are.”
Then he fell off and walked back in the direction from whence he came.
I blinked. My husband asked me what he said, and I told him. We laughed, and kept on walking, eventually arriving at the hotel a sweaty, rainy, frizzy-haired mess. Or, I was frizzy-haired; he wasn’t.
I’ve never forgotten that exchange. Neither has my husband.
I said something kind of snarky and off-color yesterday, and he leaned in to whisper. “You’re not the nice person you think you are.” We laughed again, wondering aloud what that even means.
“You know the movie, The Truman Show? And the spoiler people in the movie? I kind of feel like he was a spoiler person,” my husband stated, looking at the road as he drove. I kind of peered at him with a “what are you talking about” face. But maybe he’s right. Not that we’re in some weird, half-scripted, half-not reality-type show and the rest of the world is sitting at their television screen trying to figure out when we’ll run into the wall on our boat.
But maybe that man in NYC told me something about myself that I didn’t know. Or that I did know, I just don’t acknowledge.
Maybe I’m not the nice person I think I am.
Maybe the mean things I think about people but don’t say out loud will come back to bite me in the rear end some time in the future. Maybe my snarkiness is less of a sense of humor and more of a defense mechanism to keep people at an arm’s length. Maybe that guy saw through my facade, sensing that I am not as brave as I show the rest of the world.
Or maybe the guy was really just a jagoff.
It’s probably that.
Whatever the case, I do try to be as nice as possible to people in my life, to people I don’t know. I don’t really attack unless provoked, and even then, I’ve learned over the years how to let certain things go, to let them roll off of my shoulders. I may on occasion think not-so-nice things, but I rarely say them out loud. And if that means I’m not the nice person I think I am, then so be it.
Because I’d rather be a semi-nice person who doesn’t say stupid things* to people than a jagoff on the sidewalk who needs to learn how to keep his mouth shut.
*=I’ll always say stupid things, but rarely with malice.