Tuesday, May 25, 2010

how can i sleep with your voice in my head

i'm still grieving and sad, but i'm forcing myself to get back to my writing. wrote about two sentences yesterday.
hey, it's a start.

awhile back i eavesdropped on a discussion about words and how they can hurt. a woman was complaining to her male friend about his usage of the "C" word. his defense was that he had used it to put down a male, NOT a female, so she shouldn't be that offended. Her response was that the "C" word is vulgar slang for female genitalia, so it was doubly offensive since he seemed to think that would be a fitting insult for a man.

later i told mr. write what i'd overheard.
"it's funny because if someone calls me a 'bitch' or the C-word, it just rolls off my back. being called 'fat' would bother me much more."
to which he laughed.

for me, the words that hurt most are the ones that comment on who i am as a person, or the ones that insult my character. those are the ones i find most offensive.
once i worked for a smoothie company and my manager was a very hard-working girl who pretty much came from nothing. she told me that she wanted to take some computer courses because she felt she needed to know how to work a computer better.
"that's great!" i told her.
"and maybe, if i finish the computer classes, i can take some other classes and get my AA," she replied hopefully.
"absolutely," i agreed, "knowledge is never wasted. plus, once you get your AA you might decide to go on and get your bachelor's."

she talked about signing up for computer classes for the next couple days, but after a visit from our district manager, she changed her mind.
"you know, i've decided against those classes." she told me after i'd asked if she signed up for the next semester. "our district manager is right. i don't NEED those classes here since we don't use computers. so it would just be cutting into my free time. i'm fine here without them."

let me tell you, i was SO pissed!
to me it seemed our district manager was perfectly happy with her little worker bee the way she was and didn't want her to gain any knowledge that could better herself, or learn any new skills she could use in another career.
to me that was the real insult.

even the most innocuous words strung together can hurt.
and i'm hoping the four words i said to the careless woman in the grocery store parking lot are being played on a loop in her head.
i'm hoping she's having trouble sleeping at night because she can't rid herself of my voice.
i'm hoping my four little words creep into her consciousness and knock the wind out of her while she's trying to get on with her day.

what four words could wield such power, you might ask?
you're. a. bad. mom.

these are very powerful words and i only used them because this woman truly deserved them as does any woman who leaves a sleeping baby alone in a car so she can do her shopping undisturbed.
i'm sure she thought her task would only take ten minutes.
i'm sure she thought her baby would be fine.
i'm sure she thought no one would notice.

but someone did notice and someone had to speak up.
i hope my words hurt her. i hope they hurt her so much that she'll never even consider doing that to her baby again. and i'm hoping it's an insult that rocked her to her core.


KarenG said...

Yikes! Who would do that?? This can kill an infant so fast.

SkippyMom said...

She IS a bad mom - you are right, but your comment to her probably went right over her head as she doesn't care what other people think, especially strangers - Why else would she leave an infant in a car?

Your best bet would've been to call the police. I hope anyone who sees a baby left unattended in a locked car does so - we have had three deaths in our area in one year because the parents forgot they had the kids [I know, I know - hard to believe - but they actually seemed to ]

It may be that I am older - but I wouldn't even bother with the waste that is that parent - the cops would be my first call - and believe me - I don't call the police lightly.

You did a good thing saying that to her. I am just afraid she wouldn't listen.

Lola Sharp said...

OMG!! I would have called the police.
I hope your words are haunting her, but I doubt it.

I feel for that poor baby.

Jen said...

Holy crap!! This is the first time I'm visiting your blog and I already love it! Your writing rocks!

Words hurt, that's a fact! I wouldn't have been hurt by the word bitch or the "C" word but I would have been hurt if someone called me anorexic which is something that I was accused of a lot growing up. Girls are mean! I've learned to deal with it but the words can still kill so I can certainly relate!

Good for you on commenting about the child in the car, that's awful!!! She is a bad mom, for junk sake's!!!! I can't believe that people are still doing that, one child has already died here in Houston and we aren't even at the peak summer time! Stupid people, if you love your children take them with you or dammit leave them at home!

Awesome blog I look forward to reading more from you!

mi said...

kareng - i know. it breaks my heart whenever i hear of that happening.

skippymom - you are absolutely right. i am kicking myself for not writing down her license number and reporting her to the cops. i think i was in such a state of shock that someone could do that, you know?

lola sharp - i wish i had called the cops. but i could tell when i called her a bad mom she felt some shame. hopefully she's not the sort who can just shrug off an insult. and i feel for that poor baby as well.

jen - thanks for your compliment and for stopping by! and that's one of the reasons i hate hot summers because it seems we always here about a tragedy involving a baby in the car. so sad to hear it's already happened in houston.

Christine Fletcher said...

I can only hope that that mother didn't know better. Now--with your words in her head--I hope she realizes, feels terrible, and does better by her baby. Good for you for speaking up. Many people would not.

Powerful, powerful post.

mi said...

christine - i really hope my words sunk in. i hope those four words are all it took to get her to be a better parent. honestly, i feel i didn't do enough, but seriously i was in shock. i really couldn't believe it - that someone would actually do that.

Neurotic Workaholic said...

I can't believe she'd leave her baby in the car. It wouldn't be that hard for anyone to break into her car and steal her baby.

I usually come up with the right things to say to people who insult me, only I come up with the witty comebacks several hours afterwards.

Random Thinker said...

Good for you speaking your mind to her. Her selfishness could have cost her baby it's life. Village shame was probably a very useful tool in it's time but is something we have lost these days, being so separated from each other. I'm sure she will remember it for the rest of her life.

Dawn said...

Gasp. She IS a bad mom and good for you for speaking up. Words can hurt - we, as writers, know their power. I hope the power of your words makes her think twice about doing anything so irresponsible again!

mi said...

neurotic workaholic - yeah, the same thing happens to me, too. oh the times i've wished for a time machine!

random thinker - i certainly hope she will!

dawn - i'm hoping it was a sort of wake-up call to her.

~Nicole Ducleroir~ said...

You did the right thing to speak out to that mother. I disagree with an early commenter. I think your words will jolt that woman, because I'll bet she justified in her mind why what she was doing was easier for herself and the baby. She needed that wake-up call. You may even have helped avert a future catastrophe.

When we see something wrong, we have a responsibility to speak out. Even if you'd called the police, they wouldn't have arrived in time to do anything. Words, however, wield an awesome power. You did the right thing.

Sling said...

Where DO these people come from?
Have they never watched a newscast,or read a paper,or just heard a story about a child left alone in a car?
It absolutely boggles the mind.

mi said...

nicole - i certainly hope my words had that effect.

sling - i know, it's insane. i can't figure out if it's stupidity or selfishness.

Nishant said...

She IS a bad mom
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Johnny Rojo said...

My god, I'd yell at a person who left a dog in a car like that-- a person who leaves a baby in a car should be locked up. Literally. I think it's probably a jailable offense. She's lucky that she got off with a tongue-lashing.