The Curious Case of the Little Red Hen
I think I might have seen you at the Salvation Army on Montgomery Street, trying to fit a bike in the back seat of you car and then giving up and driving off with the door half open and your hazard lights on.
Why didn’t you just let the guys who work there put it in the back seat for you?
Ps. I’m no psychic – the car magnet on the side of the door advertising your Ghost Dog Diaries column gave you away :)
Hey there Roy,
Ah, the joy of small town living. When you have a bad day, everyone knows it …whether or not you have a business magnet on the side of your car.
The good folks at the Salvation Army indeed offered to help, but I just couldn’t let them. In my logical mind, I was buying a bike to ride around the railroad tracks out on Tybee. Therefore I was obligated to figure out how to pack it into the car myself.
The more I struggled, the more they offered their assistance but I was too committed to my stubborn notion of independence to accept. Eventually I asked them to please step away from the vehicle, as it was embarrassing having an audience watch my failed attempts.
I was too embarrassed to be seen struggling, but not too embarrassed to make a low-speed getaway with my car door hanging ajar; one with a great big sign introducing the world to Psychic Your Pal, Erin, no less.
What you saw was a single woman —one who lives alone and is used to doing everything herself— having a Little Red Hen moment.
What you didn’t see was me bawling my eyes out on that 15 mph drive home because I’m too exhausted to keep on playing the Little Red Hen. You didn’t hear my rationalization spoken aloud, to no one in particular, that “I am a single woman living alone and despite their best intentions, none of those guys is gonna be there the next time I need them, so I have to do it myself.”
You also didn’t see me pry the bike from the car, only to discover that it has a removable front tire.
(See also: ME-HAW!)
You missed the teary message I left on my ex-boyfriend’s voicemail, apologizing for being such a pain in the ass and the subsequent confession that I’ve felt the need to do everything for myself (thank you very much) since I was a little girl because the grown-ups in my life who were supposed to take care of me weren’t always emotionally available.
You didn’t feel the sucker punch realization that this was the honest answer to the oft-asked question, “How come you’ve never been married?”
You weren’t there to see my shoulders finally buckle under the weight of 41 years of self-imposed exile… or the relief when I surrendered to the fact that I can’t go it alone another day.
The notion of making peace has been the subject of many a Ghost Dog Diary lately, whether making peace with things that are beyond our control; with the people around us; with our increasingly violent world; or with ourselves for simply being where we’re at.
The next time I witness something that doesn’t make sense, before I react I will do my best to remember that there’s more to the situation than I’ll ever realize and then send my best, most positive, loving energy to all involved.
Thanks for your concern, Roy. I appreciate having the opportunity to reflect on your question. Much love, light and peace to you.
Originally published in Connect Savannah