I had a conversation yesterday that I'm still festering about, so maybe blogging will clear my head of it. You know how afterwards, where you kick yourself for what you said or didn't say, and how you should have said this or that, and you just continue to have the back & forth in your head. Of course I always come out looking good and triumphant at the end of these.
I was at the school, waiting for the kids to come out. I was standing with a group of other moms doing likewise, and one of them, whom I have seen before but don't know at all, was complaining about the stupidity of her neighbors. She then went on to talk about the residents of the recovery house near her. I won't recount the whole thing, but she had some pretty derogatory things to say. Now granted, I know that those who are fresh out of rehab are not always the most agreeable sort, nor are they schooled in the finer rules of etiquette and manners. I could understand her being upset about some of their inappropriate behavior. That said, I have a tendancy to get my back up when people make stereotypical statements about people in recovery, which she made plenty of. She then went on to say that she couldn't understand why these people were allowed to live in a neighborhood around children. I raised an eyebrow and asked where they should live then, and told her that there were recovery houses in pretty much every one of our local neighborhoods. She said she didn't know, but that the Don Pablos was empty, and they should just ship them there. (a local restaurant that went out of business & is sitting empty)
I think I nearly bit through my tongue at this point, as I considered my options. I considered informing her that not all of us in recovery appreciate being ranked with pedofiles when it comes to undesireable neighbors. I thought about letting her know that those in early recovery need a lot of patience and compassion. I thought about calling her an ignorant bizzo. I instead said nothing, because I knew I was not capable of being diplomatic at that point, and it would accomplish nothing to tell her off.
After the kids were dismissed and we were walking home, I told myself to let it go and not let it bother me. Had she known that I am in recovery, she would surely not have said those things, or at least I'd like to think that. I know it's idealistic, but I'd love the chance to talk to her again and set her straight. But with only a few days left in the school year, it's unlikely that I'll have the chance.
I carry the green card with me in my purse and I thought of it as I stood there facing that woman. I thought of the one line, "I will not show anyone that my feelings are hurt; they may be hurt, but today I will not show it." I wasn't hurt, just ticked, but I knew it was better to hold my tongue. One of the gifts of my recovery has been the realization that I do not always have to have my say, and I do not always have to be right. The satisfaction of knowing I didn't lose my temper tastes much better than telling her off would have.