Sunday, November 11, 2007

Principled Woman, or Spoiled Brat?

Alright. Here's the deal. There might be some ambiguity, and it's just to protect my sorry butt, and the identities of those involved in the situation.

So my mother and I picked up friend X, and drove her to meet my mother's two friends,Y & Z, who had come in a separate car. One of those friends (Y & Z) has a daughter who also brought her friend along.

When it came time to go home, the friend who had the other car, (Y) suggested that my mother drive home everyone else, since she was headed somewhere close to where we had been.

This is about a 15-minute walk from any of our houses, and about a 5-7 minute car ride. There was nobody else around to give anyone a ride.

Here's the problem. There were 6 people. Me, my mom, X & Z, the girl, and her friend. My mother drives a mid-size sedan.

"You can squish, right?" Friend Y asked, rhetorically.

Now, any normal person doesn't mind a few minutes of discomfort to do someone a favor. I don't mind squishing...if it were legal.

I objected however, for two reasons: It's illegal and unsafe. If one girl sits on the other's lap, and a) we pass police, or b) my mother makes a short stop C"V, we're in trouble.

Now, I knew if I offered to walk home, which, to be honest, I wouldn't have minded so much, it'd make a scene. People would think I'm trying to be dramatic, and manipulative if even I'm not. That's just how things like that are perceived. Even if you say it in the most gentle manner, people think you're being passive aggressive. Then people all start saying, "No, I'll's okay..." and everyone throws a fit about how they're okay walking, and I've started something too big for itself. It's just a 5-7 minute car ride. That would just be waay too dramatic.

So, I said, "I don't like this idea. I don't mind squishing, but I don't want to do something illegal and unsafe. I'm not very interested in getting a ticket C"V..."

While friend Y was out of earshot, her daughter wasn't.

The girl, Thank G-d, is one of the nicest, sweetest, most sincere girls I know. She recognized the issue, and approached her mother. I don't know what she said, but her mother agreed to drive her home. "Nothing personal!" I shouted after her. "I know," she said with a smile. But I felt like I really offended her, and might have even embarrassed the kid. She doesn't deserve that. She was probably willing to squish because she didn't want to inconvenience/disrespect her mother.

So, I got my way. I felt like a spoiled child. But I was right.

"You're a principled woman," one of my mother's friends in the car told me. "Thanks," I replied, unsure of her intentions.

I don't think Friend Y is evil. Ignorant and unaware, yes. Ill-intentioned? No.

Why would someone put my mother in a position of doing something unsafe and illegal, just to save herself a few minutes? She was only headed to visit one of her children. No appointment, no emergency. A casual visit.

She knew we'd have to squish, and it's unsafe and illegal. Yet everyone turned the tables to say that I was wrong. I couldn't think of a better way to handle it on the spot. I just didn't know what to do.