Herding Kittens…

A few days ago, I had a disturbing incident while herding kittens across the mall parking lot. Ok, maybe they were cheerleaders…but it felt strangely similar. My daughter’s cheer squad is composed of ten girls between the ages of eight and twelve.  Imagine a pre-pubescent tapestry of girl drama, crazed Justin Bieber fans, and fragile hormones in bloom.  Get the picture?

So the little cats, I mean cheerleaders, had an all day practice at the church to prepare for competition.  Once the whining started, their cheer coach, called a time-out and we headed over to the food court at the mall for lunch.  The mall is in walking distance from the church, but can be a treacherous journey because of the steep hill and few sidewalks.  On top of the danger factor, I had the baby with me, harnessed securely in her stroller, so the mama bear factor was in full effect.  I was a fierce woman protecting her baby and cheer cubs.

On the way back, full of Sprite and tacos, the girls were extra boisterous, and the coach and I cajoled and pleaded with the girls to stay on the side-walk.  They gave each other piggy back rides, gossiped, yelled out cheers at the top of their lungs, and made sure that all cars passing by noticed their utter cuteness. I felt somewhat helpless trying to corral them, but I gave it my best shot.  We tried a different route on the way back, hoping for a little less anxiety, but inevitably we rounded another corner with no sidewalk.  Very carefully, I instructed the girls to hug the side of the street, and we marched two by two around the turn.  In the blink of an eye, a woman driving a white Mercedes whipped around the corner, in the wrong lane, and headed straight for us.  Fortunately, she made eye contact at the last second and swerved out-of-the-way.

The coach yelled at her to slow down.  So the lady obliged.  She slowed down long enough to give us a dirty look and glare at us. In my best pastor’s wife voice I said, “Please, go ahead and speed back up.  I am sure you can kill someone else!”

Ok, maybe that was Satan’s voice, but I did say it in a syrupy sweet tone. In response, she whipped her finger out of the car, shouted an expletive beginning with F… and ending with You, and then used the corresponding hand motion.  This woman actually flipped off a baby, two mothers and a passel of cheerleaders.  What is the world coming to?

The girls were shocked and I was stunned.   The coach and I looked at each other in disbelief. This woman, who had almost killed a group of children while driving in the wrong lane, and speeding no less, had just given us the bird.  Please tell me how you explain that to a group of little girls. 

“Girls, the psycho lady didn’t mean to act so ugly, she was just having a bad day.”

In all reality, we were too frightened to say much.  The near brush with death had sobered up even the most hyper girls of the bunch, and for a few moments, all were subdued. But little girls have short memories, and soon their gaiety returned, albeit…their steps were more careful and their eyes more alert.

I have to wonder though, what kind of hurry was the lady in? Was a sale at the mall worth a life in prison for vehicular manslaughter?  Is any event, appointment, or momentary drama worth risking a life for? 

And most importantly…where do I need to slow down in my life and stop taking dangerous short-cuts?

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