I forgot that 4:30 pm is a terrible time to run errands. Let this blog post be a warning that it's never a good time to go grocery shopping when everyone in Toronto is running around.
The kids opted to stay home like they usually do. They're old enough to hang out at home by themselves for a few hours, thank God. I don't miss the days of having to find a babysitter. I like to shop by myself anyway. I promised I'd get them Doritos (don't judge) and left them happy to be home alone.
Then I went to mail a package. There was the typical confusion that comes with mailing things to America and the sticker shock (I expect it now) of shipping costs ($31 this time) but I sent it out anyway.
Then, as I was pulling out of the parking lot, a truck that pulled up behind me. I noticed it just in time and stopped, but then pulled forward and crunched my corner bumper into a railroad tie/planter that was to the right of my parking spot. In my rear view mirror I saw a teenage boy stare wide-eyed from the sidewalk at his friend in the truck who was picking him up, and then he burst out laughing. I backed up a bit, and did it AGAIN. Crunch! The boy got in his friend's truck and they both were staring at me, laughing, and then they drove away. An older man drove past and then stopped to look back at the damage and me, the crazy lady who just crunched her minivan bumper TWICE. I got out and looked at my bumper to see a large scrape and small crack in the corner. Of course. The package I was mailing was a gift for a friend. This is how my karma works.
I pulled out again, slowly and carefully, and made it to the parking lot exit. I wanted to turn left but the traffic was backed up so I turned right instead. I figured I would turn down a side street soon and turn back in the direction I first intended to get to the grocery store. I found a side street that seemed like it was a straight shot to a main street that would lead to the grocery store. It wasn't. It winded around a neighborhood to the point that I soon had no idea which direction I was heading.
Suddenly, from a side street on the left, a car pulled out in front of me and stopped. I had to quickly swerve around it to pass and as I did I noticed the reason it stopped was because a pedestrian was in the crosswalk. A cross walk randomly in the middle of the the street with no stop sign or lights to announce it. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a person walking toward my moving car from the left hand side. I locked eyes with her and we were both surprised. She was about 10 feet away from me but still too close. I could have hit her. I didn't though. And I saw in my rear view mirror that she made it safely across the street. I stopped at the next light and said a little thank you to God.
And then the car who had caused me to swerve pulled up and honked. I looked over. She mouthed "YOU ALMOST HIT SOMEONE! YOU NEED TO SLOW DOWN!" and other intelligible angry scolding things. I wanted to say I know! I feel like shit. But you pulled in front of me and obscured my view of the person walking and I'm still rattled from the damage I just did to my car two minutes ago and I don't even fucking belong here in this godforsaken city! Instead, I just mouthed "I KNOW!" and turned and faced forward. We sat there side by side, me feeling like a terrible asshole and her burning a hole through my soul with her angry glare, probably seeing my Washington license plate and Bernie sticker and judging all Americans as inconsiderate jerks.
Hours later (it seemed, though it was really minutes) the light turned and I s-l-o-w-l-y, c-a-r-e-f-u-l-l-y pulled in to the Dollarama parking lot. I went in a wandered up and down the aisles dazed, looking at all the ridiculous made-in-China junk I didn't want or need. I didn't even mean to go here in the first place, I meant to go to the grocery store next door. Standing in the party aisle my eyes welled up with tears and I rushed out. They probably thought I was stealing something. I was racking up judgemental glares everywhere I went.
I went back to my car and sat there and cried, big heaving sobs asking God WHY AM I HERE? WHY DOES MY LIFE SUCK SO BAD RIGHT NOW? WHY CAN'T I SEEM TO DO ANYTHING RIGHT? WHY AM I BEING PUNISHED WHEN ALL I WANTED TO DO WAS MAIL A PACKAGE TO A FRIEND AND GET MY KIDS SOME DORITOS?
... and then I pulled myself together. I went in the grocery store and got toilet paper and laundry detergent and drove home and no one died. I forgot to get Doritos though.