I think I hit a nerve yesterday with the whole “your busy is no busier than my busy” thing. Because we, as women, tend to do that. I don’t know why, and I’m not sure what we have to prove, but we do. Be it from “busy” to childbirth to feeding our children to WHATEVER, we are constantly in a battle of Whose Life is Harder.
I do it too. I do it alot, actually.
Mostly, I do it to my husband, which is not fair. Y’all, my husband is probably one of the sweetest, hardest-working men I know. He works HARD. And he does A LOT for our family, and most often does it without complaint. He never demands special treatment as a reward for being a husband/father. In short, he’s more than I could’ve asked for, and probably far more than I deserve.
So, back to me trying not to judge. I try. I really do. When I read someone kvetching online, I think, Wah. You want a ride in the WAH-MBULANCE? Want some cheese with your whine? and other things that typically piss you off when people say them to your face. But I never say it, because the minute I think it, I realize that I don’t know the full realm of their world. They may be bitching about how hard it is with their schedule, but maybe I don’t realize that they’ve also got a terminally ill family member that is taking up a lot of their MENTAL time, you know?
So I try.
A great example: this weekend, Bryan (being the great husband/father he is) spent many long, long hours in a car dealership. Because we have a little one, BOTH of us sitting in a dealership while working out the sale/trade of a car wasn’t feasible, so he went ahead and did all the test driving/financing/etc stuff he could without me being there. When he got to a point he couldn’t progress any further, Tony and I mounted up and joined him.
Weeeellllll, a three year old doesn’t really like the car dealership, FYI. Especially for longer than, say, fifteen minutes.
And this particular car dealership had a Kids Room for just that reason. Said Kids Room was outfitted with a tv blaring Hannah Montana and a kid-size table with a couple of kid-size chairs. So I took Tony in there for a little bit to vary the scenery.
There was a couple in there, obviously young. Very thick southern accent. Small infant crawling around.
I felt myself starting to judge. I stopped myself, because, y’all: I have worked on contracts around here where the smartest guy in the room was a guy named Jimbo. And he designed the most complex vehicle we’ve ever worked on. So accents and locales mean very little in the grand scheme of things.
They were having a fervent, heated discussion when Tony and I entered. She was mad that he wasn’t calling his own family to see if they could help. Ah, they were looking for someone to cosign the loan with them. I felt the judging rise up in my chest, but I pushed it back down. Economy sucks right now; lots of capable people need help.
(Of course, I judged a little bit because .. really .. is the Kids Room the place to have this conversation?)
She flipped open her Razr phone (JUDGE! JUDGE!) and dialed a number, where she proceeded to talk to a Miss Sheila about them cosigning. Remember their PT Cruiser? Well, they wanted to get a 2010 Tahoe, and they needed to put $4K down, but if they had a cosignor, they didn’t have to put ANYTHING down. And no need to worry, because they PAY their bills. Ain’t no need to worry about that. No, the payment for the Tahoe wasn’t even that bad! It was only $450 a month! Ain’t bad at all. So, you know, if they could just talk to the folks there about cosigning..
Um, again. Not a Kids Room conversation.
So, I was looking at them, a young couple with one kid, and trying to rationalize why they needed to upgrade from a PT Cruiser to an almost-new Tahoe, especially with that monthly payment. And I made myself stop judging, because I didn’t know their whole situation. Maybe they also .. chauffered.. wounded.. animals? Or something?
Apparently, the conversation didn’t go well, as she snapped the phone shut midsentence. Her face was beet red and I looked away, trying to spare her the embarrassment of having to have the rest of this conversation with me, a complete stranger, in the room.
“She ain’t got to be so damn rude about it!” she snapped at her husband, who was still drooling and unengaged. “I don’t know why your family hates me so damn much that they got to be so damn rude. Why ain’t you callin’ ‘em anyway? I’ve already called all of MY family and our neighbors!”
… JUD… no, Sarah, don’t. Don’t judge. NO JUDGING.
She looked over at me. I smiled, perhaps a smile too sympathetic, and she unleashed on me. “It’s just so HAAARD, you know? Trying to find someone to cosign? And why they got to be so rude about it? And this one here, he ain’t calling nobody, making ME do all the dirty work. We pay our bills, you know, so it ain’t like they really got to DO anything. I mean, JESUS. Why is it so hard?”
I nodded, not really knowing or understanding anything coming out of her mouth. Smiled, as if she was speaking another language. Opened my eyes and shrugged, as if to exaggerate I’m TOTALLY NOT JUDGING YOU RIGHT NOW.
She got quiet for a second and then said, “You know, we pay our bills.”
I met her eyes and said, “I’m sure you do, honey. It’s hard, nowadays. Money’s hard to come by.”
She looked at me, dead in the face and said, “Hey, would you maybe cosign..?”
JUDGE JUDGE JUDGE JUDGE. OH LAWDY, I WAS NOW FREE TO JUDGE. I COULD NOW BE INVOLVED. YOU FREED ME TO JUDGE YOU NOW! OH, LET’S ALL GET TOGETHER AROUND A CAMPFIRE AND JUDGE!
It was like CHRISTMAS! “Honey, if they need that large a down payment, you need to keep that car and pay it off. Or at least pay it down. And no, I won’t cosign with you. With that monthly payment plan and that down payment? Chances are, you’re at least having trouble paying your bills. No shame in that, but no. No thanks.”
I should’ve been nicer and said, “We wouldn’t qualify to cosign with you for that hefty monthly payment,” but why? When she’s suddenly involved me after I’d been spending the last half hour working against judging her?
WHEN SHE WAS HAVING THIS ENTIRE CONVERSATION WITH MILEY CYRUS BLARING IN THE BACKGROUND?!
Here comes the judge.