Saturday, January 19, 2008

Are You Ready Yet?

"Come on guys, get your shoes on. If you don't hurry up we're going to be late" he barked.

As they continued to wrestle on the bottom step of the stairwell, in unison they replied, "We are hurrying dad."

"My butt cheeks you are! Now come on and get with it."

"Yes sir"

Five minutes later the shoes were on and they were headed out the front door.

Before the door could close one of the boys said, "Mom, I'm hungry."

"You had a half an hour to eat your cereal this morning. Why didn't you eat then?" the mother replied.

"I did, but I'm still hungry." was the boy's response.

"Me too." the other chimed in.

"HONK HONK" The father stuck his head out of the car window and hollered, "Are we ready to go or what?"

"Just a minute," his wife quipped, "the boys are still hungry"

"Big surprise." he muttered to himself.

She sent the boys out to get into the car as she went back inside to get a couple of Pop-Tarts to keep them from 'starving to death'.

They were finally all in the car and pulling out of the driveway. He looked at his watch and figured they would just barely make it there in the twenty five minutes they had left until it started.

He looked into the rear view mirror and caught each of the boys eyes. "Do you think that just once we could get going on time without all the theatrics?"

He continued with his mini lecture, "It's not like this is the first time this has happened. Every week it's the same routine, We're rushing to get out the door and you boys are dragging your feet. I really don't understand what the problem is."

About this time his wife interjected, "Honey, I think they get it."

"I know," he said, "but it's irritating. I mean come on, how many times do I have to go over this same information?

"OK, I get it too. Can you just let it go for now?"


As he drove out of the neighborhood and towards the freeway you could have heard a pin drop in the car. Everyone was afraid to say a word now for fear of igniting another tongue lashing. It's not that there weren't words that wanted to be said, it's just that no one wanted to open the door to another 'warm family discussion'.

He was thinking to himself, "This is shaping up to be another wonderful outing isn't it?"

"Great!" he exclaimed.

"What now?" his wife asked.

"Look at the freeway, It's all backed up." he said. "what the hell's going on? It's Sunday morning, there shouldn't be any traffic out here today."

"Maybe they're doing road work or something." one of the boys interjected.

"Not on the weekend son. It was probably some moron driver going too fast and caused an accident." the dad said. "Now every one's going to have to slow down to gawk and get a close-up look."

As they inched slowly down the road everyone could feel the tension continue to mount.

"What are you doing?" his wife asked.

"I'm just moving over a bit to see what's going on up there." he said, "I want to see how long we're going to be stuck back here."

He steered the car slightly to the right into the shoulder so he could see past the SUV ahead of him that was blocking his view. Just as soon as he had done that he could see an ambulance coming up quickly behind him with its lights and siren blaring.

"Perfect!" he shouted.

Looking to the left he could see the gap was closing in where he had just been a moment ago.

"Come on man! Let me back in!"

Now he was directing his rant at the driver behind him. He threw his hands up in the universal sign of "What's your problem buddy." Which was met by the same gesture from the young male driver behind him.

"Come on you jerk off, give me some room!" he said as he started to bull dog his way back in.


He saw the other driver's lips moving and he figured it was some type of obscenity coming out because it was also accompanied by a wave of only his middle finger.

"You son of a bi..." he started, but was cut off by his wife.

"Dennis, let it go. The kids and I are in this car too ya know."

She'd had enough of his antics this morning and wasn't going to let him continue down this path any longer.

"Try to think about where we're going and stop making everyone around you out to be the bad guy. . . OK?"


His one word response was like a dagger flung through the air, piercing her as it hit.

Less than ten minutes from the time they had joined the freeway back up, they drove past the accident scene and were on their way again.

"Dennis, you're such a horses ass sometimes." he thought to himself.

As the driver who had exchanged unpleasantries with him earlier zipped past, the young man shot a dirty glance their direction and sped off. This time however, no rhetorical gestures or remarks were made.

For the rest of the trip the only audible sound was the hum of the tires as they rolled across the pavement underneath them.

Pulling into the parking lot his wife looked at the dashboard clock and said, "See after all that, we still have about two minutes to spare."

This was of little comfort to him though. He was still replaying all of the morning's events that had brought them to this point.

"Why can't I control my anger better?" he thought. "Maybe there's something here for me after all."

With that, they got out of the car and headed into church.


Real Live Lesbian said...

You have captured the hypocrisy that turns so many folks off of the church.

Great story!

Anndi said...

You rock babe... great story!

katherine. said...

we were just talking about couples that are lovey dovey in church and yelling at each other in the parking lot....but ya be all cliche...

Christians aren't perfect....not holy...not saintly....just cause you believe doesn't mean you become any less human....

I use to say a whole lot worse trying to get my kids out of the house on Sunday morns....

Mel said...

Well, ya know......they say you can get a true measure of a person's serenity level when you put 'em behind the wheel.

Sounds to me like the fella was headed in the perfect direction for help.

Jeff B said...

Real LL- I think it's safe to say this story can be viewed at least two different ways. The hypocrisy is unfortunately very real and it does indeed turn many people off. The other view point is that there is a realization that something has got to change for the better.

Sometimes these dividing lines are very hard to distinguish between.

I used to drink a lot. I started going to church and really felt like a hypocrite then. One thing that helped me overcome this feeling was the quote, "Isn't it the sick who seek a doctor?"

Anndi- Thank you darling.

Katherine- There really is a double standard when it comes to church goers as viewed from outside. I go because I realize I'm a broken person. I have aspects of my life that aren't always considered pleasent. So I seek to get better in these areas.

I think it's easy for others looking in to question when we slip up. As Real LL eluded to, that can be construed as hypocrisy, and sometimes it really is, but I think you point out something very important. We are still human, and try as we might we're going to keep screwing up.

Mel- Definitely a step in the right direction.

Christinker said...

You should really lighten up on your family, Jeff. If Anthony's hungry, then give the poor kid a pop-tart without the attitude.

I'm just playing!! Good story though. We all just need a little more patience in everything we do.

the teach said...

Funny, jeff, I knew they were going to church and the guy was going to be pulled up short...good story! I liked it! :)

Matt-Man said...

See? See Dennis? Let the light of the Holy Baby Jeebus into your heart and you'll be better off. Great story as always Jeff. Pax Vobiscum and Cheers!!

Desert Songbird said...

I think any number of families could substitute themselves into this story. We are all too human.

As Katherine says, we aren't perfect. We strive to be Christ-like, and we hope to live our lives Christ-centered, but as humans we have weaknesses. I don't think there is hypocrisy in trying.

Good study.

Jeff B said...

Christinker- The first part of the story certainly could be a scene from our house, like so many others I suppose. Parenting requires patience, a lot of patience.

Teach- Thanks, It was a fun little story to write.

Matt- That's at least part of the equation. I think our heart and attitude play a huge part in who we are or can be too.

Songbird- Hypocrisy doesn't come from trying, it shows through when we know better and choose not to give a rip about it.

Anytime I think I've "arrived", I know I'm in trouble.

Roger said...

Nice Jeff! A fun read!!

Kerri said...

I can't tell you how many times this SAME EXACT thing has happened to me. Not the freeway part...but the part about getting everyone ready and out the door on time to go to Church! I guess I didn't realize that it is pretty common.

Whew...this one hit home!

Sandee (Comedy +) said...

Okay, who told you to write about my father? Huh? This was my father to a tee. Very well done. :)

Mimi Lenox said...

Nice ending. all nice endings are.

Jeff B said...

Roger- Thank you. I have one question for you, "Are you ready for some football!??"

Kerri- I thought this one might have a high amount of relatability with some people.

Sandee- Most of this story was fiction, but I must admit, there were some aspects based on fact too. Ain't it great being human?

Mimi- Why thank you. Glad you enjoyed it.

buffalodickdy said...

I have been that man...Nicely written, Jeff..

Jules~ said...

Jeff, I love this story. It is so truthful of each and every one of us.We have all been that guy at one...heck...several times or other. I love how you wrapped it all up in the end. He was "looking in the mirror" and realizing his heart and attitude needed work. God says we are all doing the remodling and upgrading as long as we draw breath.
Thank God He is so patient with me as I stumble each and every day.

Ron said...

Oh God, Jeff...what a GREAT post!

Your last line freaking KILLED me!

You see...this is WHY I don't have a car anymore.

(road rage anyone?)

Flinging the BIRD!

Anyway, when you get a chance, please stop by my blog for a cheery surprise.


P.S. It's a pint of peanut butter cup ice cream!

Jeff B said...

Buffalo- I resemble that remark.

Jules- We all need a litle upgrading from time to time.

Ron- Ice cream? I'm on my way!

The Teamster said...

what is really interesting is when the exact same situation happens right after church instead of on the way to church...

I enjoyed the multi-generational uses of the words "fine" and "perfect"...

Real Live Lesbian said...

One thing that helped me overcome this feeling was the quote, "Isn't it the sick who seek a doctor?"

Well said!

david mcmahon said...

That last line is a clincher. I kept wondering where they were going!!

Mate, you might have an empty gas tank in today's post, but this is great!!

Jeff B said...

Teamster- I've heard people arguing on their way back to the car after service. Makes you wonder if their ears were open at all.

Real LL- Thanks

David- I appreciate that. and the tanks getting refueled.

imac said...

Came from David M.
Yep, that sounds pretty typical, makes a great post, and story.

Ornery's Wife said...

Another great read. It's unfortunate that more believers are unable to tap into the promised peace offered in a life centered in Christ. It isn't at church they will find it, it is in their hearts when they commune with the Prince of Peace.

Blessings to you, today!

lynn said...

he he rings a bell, though not of the church kind. Outings were often similar!

Jeni said...

That, Jeff, was a great post and could portray and or all of us at any given time I think too -the "hurry up and wait" syndrome. Well, all except my older daughter that is. She was a week late arriving into the world and has been late, late, late ever since then!