Big Trouble

big trouble“You are in big trouble, mister!” Remember hearing those words as a kid?

Oh, I got into some trouble — almost, sort of — last Friday. I was embarrassed about it, in fact. I told Mani the next day, most so as not to let shame creep in. The “I totally know better” kind.

I’d pulled into a fire lane in front of the Starbucks on N. Pleasant — the Starbucks, mind you, that is located directly opposite the Amherst Fire Station. I put my hazards on and ran, yes ran, up the ramp into the store to get a latte, quick quick, before driving the 25 minutes to Aviva’s school for the Women’s History Month Showcase, in which she was performing.

I needed a latte. “Needed.” The same way I roll my eyes and try to teach Pearl otherwise when she says, “I need…” (with long “eeeeeeee”s) something utterly unnecessary. A new water bottle, for example. I’m training her, maybe. Trying to. And yet. I neeeeeeeeeeeeeded a latte. And I knew it was wrong and chutzpahdik (look it up) to leave the car there even for three minutes.

I admit it. I was acting as if I am above small laws like this — silly laws — and yet I am irate when cars don’t pull over for emergency vehicles and really this was no different. Oh the things we watch ourselves know better and proceed to do anyway!

So there’s my old boss’s boss in line ahead of me. He’s looking at his phone. I can’t tell if he is pretending not to see me or really doesn’t, but I take his cue and don’t say anything. And then I feel a presence and then I hear a deep male voice: “Amherst Fire Chief.” I turn instinctively and see him as I am hearing the words. “Move your car. NOW.”

He might as well have added “young lady” and pinched my upper earlobe as we walked out of there — my gaze straight ahead, not making eye contact, with him walking directly behind me, as if I was being marched to my room or the principal’s office after a stupid prank that could’ve actually hurt people. I did not even turn around or say a word when I got to my car, turned the ignition. Instead, I did a U-turn and headed south.

The embarrassment tingled in my belly and buzzed in my brain. But it was Friday night, so I sang. Sang Shabbat blessings to myself, to the air, trying to remember that I’m not really that big of an asshole.

14 thoughts on “Big Trouble

  1. jennifersekella says:

    Not an asshole at all. Just human. And better to get the “move your ass” command than to have possibly blocked access for a fire truck, right? Take it with a shot (humility to go, please, no caf, extra whip?) and roll, sister. God has a sense of humor, too. Xxoo


  2. Katrina Kenison says:

    You are most definitely not an asshole! Thank you for starting my day with a good laugh, much needed. Oh I know that Latte Need, too!


  3. Dana says:

    The consensus is … not an asshole in the least! We’ve all had moments like that but it stings worse as an adult :) I think he could’ve made it less humiliating, because why not, but hey, I’m not a fire chief. Anyhow, thanks for sharing and I hope the residual shame has dissipated.


  4. larissa schwartz says:

    Great post!

    I am going to Atlanta tonight. Wanna stop in on trin at any point over the weekend? I’ll find others to cover her but I feel bad leaving her, as usual, but do not want to explain my plans to anyone!

    Sent from mobile device



  5. ellenbest24 says:

    Silly but not an asshole, I’d be gutted that my boss was witness to the scene. When we do and say things we no better than to do, it reminds us and others “we aren’t perfect” You made me laugh thank you.



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