Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Justice And The Peace

More than anything I crave peace. And serenity. And calm. 
With a little crazy on top sometimes, just to shake up the status quo.  Like, ketchup on mac and cheese.  Mmmm . . . get me some of that! Comfort food with red icing. 
I don’t want too much crazy, though.  Just a little.  Which is why I don’t get involved in politics—that’s a whole lot of crazy. 
I’ve dabbled on the nutty side a few times.  Picture me, four months pregnant, as I helped chaperone a bunch of teenagers on a canoe trip down a Florida tributary misnamed The Peace River. I’m not being snide here. Listen—there were alligators in that river. That’s not peaceful.  And when a crazy rainstorm came up—dumping half of us into the freezing current where we walked our canoes back up that gator infested water way—our adventure was cut short. I learned my lesson, though. Now I only wave at gators in a zoo.
After that, I kept the crazy to a bare minimum.  Raising two kiddos changed up the definition a little, and sometimes made me feel like I was back in that river.  But in spite of broken wrists, broken hearts, copycat cuts (identical chin stitches the same month), and other assorted catastrophes, for the most part I’d say we maintained calm in the eye of our storms.
There have been exceptions.  Like the summer our fourteen-year-old son was arrested in our own living room for allegedly shooting a neighbor’s yappy dog with a bb gun. Turned out he just had really bad aim. But he learned what a dumb idea it was to walk through an alley with his finger on the trigger of a loaded Red Ryder. It's good to know there are good judges in the world.  But I’m still not fond of yappy dogs or bad neighbors.
Peace is so valuable it’s against the law to mess with it.  Reference the last paragraph and picture sixty hours of community service.  Here in America we protect our peace.
So that's why my jaw dropped one afternoon while visiting with a friend. Constantly interrupted by the relentless ringing of her phone, we couldn’t finish a sentence. It was like Chinese water torture, and she finally reached her breaking point.  Instead of screening the call, she answered it, and staged her own intervention.
Lord, have mercy.  Hell hath no fury. . .

“No,” she said over and over to the invisible pest on the other end of the line, her voice rising with indignation, “I don’t want an upgrade.  I don’t want to downgrade or downsize or start up or upstage.  What do I want?  I want you to stop calling me!”  And she hung up her own phone.
Which really messed with the peace of the caller from New Delhi with the ethnic name, ‘Bob’.
So he called again.  And again.  And again. No longer interested in making a sale, he focused instead on making a point.  He told her how insulted he was by her attitude.  It would have seemed comical had it not been for the part where he said he knew where she lived and that he was never going to stop calling. Suddenly it felt threatening.
So on the next ring, I took a whack at it. I figured, now that the day’s tranquility had been shattered, I might as well get in on some of the crazy. He never suspected I wasn’t the same woman he’d been harassing.  I asked Bob what his last name was and how to spell it—information he gave willingly, if not intelligently. I double checked his phone number and asked for his manager’s name.  Finally, I asked Bob why he refused to stop calling.
“Because,” he shouted in his best American jargon, “I’m trying to disturb your peace!” Then he hung up.
Well, you'll have to try a lot harder than that, I thought, as I put down the phone. 'Cuz buddy, you just can't compete with gators or guns or hormonal women who survived child birth and adolescence.
Still, how can you stay mad at somebody who gives you an answer like that?  It was the best laugh I’d had in a month.
Peace out, BobYou sounded a little stressed.  What you need is a vacation.  Time to chill.  Ever thought about taking a nice, quiet trip down a peaceful Florida river?
Give me a call sometime.  I know just the one. 

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