I was going to write something uplifting for the new year – and if you want that right now you could revisit my post from January 2017 (see past posts) which is even more relevant now than then – but I cannot get this guy out of my mind. No, it’s not the one you think. This one has a longish gray ponytail and a silver Lexus with a solar-powered prayer wheel on the dashboard. And this is how we met.
Roberto and I took our ten-year old grandsons to Meow Wolf. It was our first time and we were blown away by the art, the craft, the cleverness and the delight in every room and around every corner. I can’t describe it here, but if you are not local please google it to get the idea. After a couple of hours of amazement we staggered out into the warm December day. Always being hungry, the boys headed for the food trucks. We loaded up with sandwiches and curly fries and found an empty picnic table nearby. As we were happily munching and reminiscing about the Meow Wolf experience a silver Lexus pulled up to the curb just a few yards away and stopped. The driver sat looking at his phone for several minutes, maybe waiting for a child he dropped off inside, I guessed. We took our time, marveling at the solar-powered prayer wheel on the car’s dashboard, twinkling as it turned in the sunlight. We also marveled at the length of a curly fry and wondered whether we could enter it in the Guinness Book of World Records.
After 45 minutes or so the driver got out of the car — that’s when I saw his gray ponytail — and walked over to the espresso truck. And that’s when a grandson, whose hearing is a lot better than ours, said that he thought the car was running. “It couldn’t be!” I said. “He’s been there so long.” The boys went over to the car and felt it. Yup, they declared it was vibrating.
“Just some random noise,” Roberto offered. “It can’t be running.” That sent me to the exhaust pipe…where I discovered that it WAS running. We were all horrified for obvious reasons. As we packed up our trash and headed for our car I took a detour to the espresso truck.
“Excuse me. Did you know that your car is running?” The ponytail turned to me.
“Yes. I know.” No expression. Just staring at me.
Flustered I said, “We were wondering why? why would you let your car run for so long? I mean, was there a reason?”
“No reason. I just left it running.” Slightly bemused expression.
“But, why…were you doing something that required the engine to be on, or ….I don’t understand.” I was dumbfounded.
“It doesn’t matter if I left it running.”
“It DOES matter. I worry about wasting gas and adding to air pollution and greenhouse gases, and –”
He looked at me as if I were a curiosity. “You don’t need to worry about that.”
“Well, I DO worry about it. It’s a big problem.” How dare he tell me what I choose to worry about!
“I’ll turn it off when I get my coffee. Don’t worry about it.” His calmness was like a brick wall.
“That’s not the point. I just don’t understand why…” and I left, fearing I would either burst into tears or hit him.
I reported the conversation to Roberto and the boys and the reactions were swift. Roberto wished that he had potato to stuff up the Lexus’ tail pipe, explaining that it could destroy the engine when the exhaust backed up. Jumping aboard, the boys grabbed a tangerine out of my purse and demanded that we return immediately. Roberto doubted that would do the trick, and I said I would always travel with a potato from now on. That seemed to mollify them. But it didn’t end it for me. I am haunted by the encounter. I keep replaying the exchange and seeing his bemused, unmoved expression, as if I were merely a curiosity, not worth listening to, part of another world that had no relation to his world. And finally I keep seeing the little solar-powered Buddhist prayer wheel on the dashboard, twinkling as it rotated in the sunlight.
I googled solar-powered Buddhist prayer wheels for dashboards and found that there are several models, some with anti-skid pads, some with battery packs, some with gold leaf and some with inlaid coral and turquoise for only $17.95. Most would ship for free in 12 hours. I also learned that each rotation is worth reading the inscriptions on the wheel aloud, so as you check your iPhone or drive to the nearest Starbucks you will be building your spiritual credits without lifting a finger. You will be purifying ignorance, anger, and hatred, advertises one. Another promises gaining compassion, peace and wisdom.
The man with the ponytail should get his money back, or at least two-thirds of it. Maybe that was peace I saw on his face, but compassion and wisdom — not a trace!
28 thoughts on “No Need to Worry”
You could’ve driven his car a few blocks away and turned it off, so he would have a hard time finding it.
Where were you when we needed you!! Of course. Much better than the potato…which we didn’t have anyway.
I love that you get to go around the world being you and we get the sheer joy of hearing about it. I always feel like I’m getting my prayer points after a dip into yours.
aha! another freeloader! You’re welcome aboard anytime. Love and prayers to you on what I know is a challenging journey.
Let’s face it Lucy, there are assholes everywhere who feel entitled for some reason. I feel that somewhere the line the Universe will balance it out with people who care about the environment and things that matter.
I like that vision, Jeff, and will hang onto it through 2018. Have a good year.
Unfortunately, there are many more like that without ponytails and with older model vehicles for times longer than getting a cup of coffee. Sandy may have the right solution. In Colorado in winter months that would have earned him a ticket from the police.
You’re right, Larry. It seemed particularly offensive to me that he was privileged and arrogant, but yes, if we were on the “exhaust patrol” we would find all kinds. And good for Colorado — maybe I could have made a citizen’s arrest had this happened there.
A lawyer reviewed your actions. Not everyone agrees with you.
Thanks for taking the time to post — I appreciate it, and I have to say that it is pretty exciting to get some push back. Most of my comments are sympathetic, which is of course nice. But as a mediator, and as a human being I know that there are dozens of perspectives, dozens of truths out there. I urge my readers to read your post at the link above. I would still do the same thing and would not characterize it as aggressive. The fantasy about the potato in the exhaust pipe was just that, a way of letting off steam. I felt dismissed by the guy and wanted revenge…and there’s a lesson for me. Be ready for revenge if you make someone feel dismissed. I’ve always believed it is critical to listen to each other with respect, to not dismiss the other side. I have proved my own point: I was dismissed, I was filled with (fantasy) revenge.
Maybe someday some asshole will tell you you did something incorrect in their eyes and you can contemplate how to react to them. Good luck with that…
My least favorite trait in other people is righteousness, and you are suggesting that’s what I am… ouch. I’m giving that some serious thought. And you’re right — it’s important to put ourselves in the other shoes and test ourselves out. See my reply to your colleague for more thoughts.
David and I talk about this ALL THE TIME! The ‘all-about-me’ folks who act as if their you-know-what doesn’t stink and that they don’t owe humanity anything – sociopaths without empathy and without soul. God will be the ultimate judge when they stand before him and they have to answer……. Always love your posts Lucy – and love you and miss you lady!
Thanks, Susan. You nailed it for me — lack of empathy, lack of imagination to see the impacts of their actions.
did you get his license plate number> I would be eager to sleuth him out for you and maybe follow him to his meditation gatherings and call him out..
….lovely fantasy. thanks!
You want to stalk some random person for leaving his car idling? What is wrong with you people?
This post really hit a sore spot, and I see why…better now than when I wrote it. My writing style (maybe a little too clever? pandering to “my people”?) seemed to make some people think that I was serious about revenge. I was not. But we all have things we care deeply about, and for me one of those is the environment and another is oblivious people unaware of their impact on others and their surroundings. So, he pushed two of my buttons and I reacted. But please, don’t “you people” me, and I will try not to “you people” you.
Not to pile on, but someone needs to think this through.
(Stolen from the Simple Justice blog. Comment by Black Bellamy. Lots of comments there about this post.)
Damaging the Lexus would exactly do what? Ponytail guy claims insurance, somewhere a factory destroys a bit of environment to cast a new engine, fuel is burned to transport that engine to mechanic, and the mechanic then sends his dirty clothes out to get chemically cleaned with some more environment damage. The oil that leaks out, most of it swept up with kitty litter but some is absorbed by the ground. It’s like Three Mile Love Canal all over the place. Add to that the pointless destruction of a thinking, living being – the potato.
Yep, it’s piling on time. Am trying to keep my sense of humor — and this one helps! Well done Black Bellamy. And I’m going to say it again, for the last time, the potato was a fantasy, a joke, maybe not a good one for our ten-year old grandsons, but it relieved a lot of pressure. I do not plan on ever sticking a potato up an exhaust pipe and I am not recommending it.
And because I’m always thinking about communication and how we react to each other…if there are those who took the potato thing seriously when I never meant it to be taken seriously, are there “jokes” or “fantasies” that others talk about that I jump on, thinking they are for real???
Thank you for you reasoned and adult responses. This could have easily turned into an internet fecal storm.
Whew. It’s all been worth it to get an email like yours. Thanks.
You are a self righteous busybody.
Very tempting to simply not approve your comment, but, fair enough. I have gotten blasted on this one already and I see your point.
Lucy- I have enough trouble driving one car at a time. Just reframe the situation and don’t take your pet peeves so seriously. One of my pet peeves is loud music blasting from the car next to me at a stoplight. Once I reframe it “This guy isn’t a jerk, he is just generous with his music”, all my negativity goes away.
Thanks, Rusty. Always good hearing from you. I agree with you about the car blasting loud music. That’s his or her choice and right to play music at any volume. I see a difference in this case where someone is impacting (albeit in a very small way) the air we breathe. Loud music is not bad for our health. But the comments I’ve had on this post are making me think a lot about what’s a “self righteous busybody” and what’s a concerned citizen. Maybe we always want to put ourselves in the “concerned citizen” category, when to others we look like “self righteous busybodies.”
The Dalai Lama approaches a hot dog vendor. ” Make me one with everything!”
always been a favorite joke — and it’s so short I can remember it!