READING BETWEEN THE PINES

If life's about the journey, does it matter how many bathroom breaks you take along the way?

On a recent Monday morning, I impatiently stood at the front of a long post office line. With an internal clock calculating the minutes until I was late for my next stop, I wasn’t exactly the picture of poise and grace. As the woman behind the counter labored to keep up with the demand of a day better known as “the absolute last chance to deliver a Squatty Potty for my great aunt’s birthday without selling a kidney to get it there on time,” I huffed and fumed.

Squatty Potty

That’s not my great aunt, but isn’t she cute?

I’d like to say I was late to a high-stakes hostage negotiation where, without me, lives would be lost. But I was actually on my way to a tennis match. I was behind not so much due to this woman’s job execution, but because I went down the rabbit hole better known as “teen perp alert” on nextdoor.com when I should have been out the door. Nothing strikes fear in a mother of teen drivers like a video of some kid drag racing down the middle of Castle Pines Parkway that’s coincidentally shared with 1,400 communities and the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office. It’s mesmerizing, and luckily it was your kid, not mine.

Boy dragracing

This kid got 2,352 comments on nextdoor.com. OK not really, but should we launch a GoFundMe campaign to buy him a hood?

At the post office, the woman behind the counter struggled. I was unsympathetic. She was in a tough position, and as people left the line in frustration, I found myself in a place of sanctimonious strength. I let out my seasoned mom sigh. She rolled her eyes. I whispered, loudly, that her job wasn’t that hard. She accused me of being the reason why she couldn’t keep up. We were in a standoff, and as my turn at the counter finally came, I stared at her from a chasm of pronounced silence, intent on being the self-proclaimed winner.

Which I was. And it felt great. Until about 3.2 minutes later as I sat in my car and wondered why? Why did I need to win a battle with no reward? Why didn’t I take my ego out of the equation and acknowledge hers? Why couldn’t I have just been nice? Because that’s what I am most of the time. Nice.

I’d like to take my actions back, but I can’t. I’ve gone to the post office twice to apologize for my behavior, but she’s gone. And now, without the ability to say I’m sorry, I’m left with a loss that ultimately bears the fruit of one of the loneliest feelings in the world. Regret. It hurts, but regret is almost always the aftermath of a self-inflicted wound. Life doesn’t offer a do over card, no matter how much you want to pull it from your deck.

Get out of jail

I keep trying to use this to get out of speeding tickets – so far no luck.

There’s no doubt that I’ll end up at the post office again, in line with not enough time and too much to do. And when that happens? I’m gonna keep my mouth shut, bury my face in my phone, and go right back down that rabbit hole.

***

In addition to the multitude of things that inspire me to write, I’m a contributor to our local community paper, The Castle Pines Connection. Come check out the neighborhood and people who make it meaningful at www.castlepineschamber.com.

8 thoughts on “When a Bad Decision Turns into Regret

  1. Suzette Suniga-Brauch says:

    Been in that place of regret before… sigh.

    1. Hopefully we’ll both do better next time. Thanks Suzette!

  2. Laura says:

    Hey you! Love the new digs! Of course, love the writing too which is just as sassy and fun as ever. One thought about this post: perhaps the easiest way to avoid collecting PO regrets ever again is to invest in a $15-30 postage scale and buy labels @ usps.com. Never wait in line again!
    I managed to absolutely enrage my postmaster the other day but not because I was rude (exactly). Because me & a few other frustrated customers stood outside the locked door (“closed for bathroom break” 15 min after being “closed for lunch” ?? ) while unbeknownst to us, he stood on the other side of the door listening while we speculated that it was perhaps a meth break. Not my fault! But still… I’m happier than ever to have my packages labeled & ready to drop off within seconds in that special “pre-labeled mail goes here” counter & I never have to look him in the eye again.
    xoxo

  3. So happy to see you here Laura, and yes, a postage scale is a great idea. Hope things are well in your neck o’ the woods. Miss seeing your beautiful blogging face.

  4. Susan Francke says:

    So happy to see (and read) you are writing again. We’ve all stood in that line and convinced ourselves our frustration was warranted. How lovely it would be if when we walked away we felt what you did – regret. And that regret would help us learn something about ourselves or maybe someone else. Give yourself some kudos for that. And maybe a little bit of grace. Miss you.

    1. So happy to see YOU here Susan. Regret is a powerful tool, no doubt. Miss you too. xoxo

  5. Angelena says:

    I love that you are so real! None of us are perfect, but not many of us can admit it.

    1. Awww love your comment Angelena. Keeping it real is what life’s all about. I know you get that! xoxo

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