I am a pretty self aware person. I know my flaws...I own them...who am I kidding, I flaunt them! I have shared with you in the past that Walt Disney kind of distorted my perception of reality...let's not rehash my traumatic Chinatown visit. There are a fair amount of Hidden Mickeys throughout my home...and quite a few that are not so hidden. I drag Husband to Disney every chance I get...again, no need to rehash...World=Happiest Place On Earth...Land=Ghetto/Wrong Side of the Happiest Place On Earth tracks. My Royal status? As to whether that is a Disney issue or an entitlement one, remains to be seen. A proper Princess always gives back and as I may have mentioned, I have spent my adult life dedicated to service to my Country and my community...the America Red Cross, the Queen of Hearts, and the Peace Corps (Domestic Branch)...for example. I spent 2 years as a full-time intern during college at the Sheriff's Dept. and pulled overnights once on a week as a first responder, studying when I wasn't on the ambulance. I may regret including this, but the guys on my crew did NOT call me Princess. They had their own little pet name for me...Axe...as in Battle. I may have been a little bit of a hard ass at the time...you try running overnights on an ambulance when you're the only female on the crew! You have to, for example, take the 80+ year old woman who decided she was to old to wear panties to bed to the ladies because she can't be left alone...and she's chatty! Some things, my friends, cannot be unseen.
Why am I telling you all of this? I have been afforded the opportunity to see people at their very best and their very worst. I have shared those moments with them. I have had my heart broken seeing someone hurt by a loved one and had my heart overfilled seeing an entire community become a family after a wildfire destroyed a over a quarter of the homes in the town. I've taught EMS and Lifeguards how to administer oxygen in the morning, helped a family whose house burned down with lodging, food, and clothing in the afternoon, only to race home to wait by the phone for a call from deployed Husband. I've also had to, with a police escort, do searches of disaster shelters' sleeping areas and bathrooms because residents were coming to me with reports of weapons and drugs. I've watched as some of those same people abandoned their children at the shelters and took their Red Cross and/or FEMA money to the mall. Just when you think you can't handle seeing one more thing? One of the little girls whose mother constantly abandoned her at the shelter assuming she'd be cared for...which, of course, she was, and in my opinion, better than when her mother was there saying charming things like, "Don't go near that man, baby, we don't like people look that man." She was referring to a cop. We had more than a few residents who shared her sentiment. Back to her daughter...one afternoon, I still don't know where the child got a bottle of nail polish, she walked over, grabbed the cop's hand, and told him, in no uncertain terms, that he needed a manicure! The next thing you know, I look over, and there's this huge cop in a child sized chair at a child sized table getting a hot pink manicure!!! Some things, my friends, cannot be unseen.
No matter how much you see, no matter how many highs, no matter how many lows, people can still surprise you. Sometimes, when confronted with a new low, even promising yourself that there are even greater heights to which the human spirit can soar...well...sometimes that's just not enough.
I've given you Disney...I've thrown down a little Dickensian best of times/worst of times...now I guess it's time to tell you why I spent 10 minutes crying in my car in a store parking lot today. I was running into the store to grab some fishing line (to secure holiday decor) and a candle. That's it. But it's me and it's shopping so I grab a cart just in case. There is a man with a coffee can and a picture of his 3yr old daughter standing next to the cart asking for donations for her, as she was in the hospital after being hit by a car and he had no insurance to cover her stay. Naturally, I was heartbroken for him and his poor daughter and though I asked what had happened and if she was ok, a drunk driver, he said, she was having 4 pins put in her leg, I offered my prayers and a truly heartfelt apology that I simply don't carry cash. I do, however, carry plastic! So into my cart went a big, pink, princess, gift bag...and into that, a pink princess costume, tiara, mirror, dress-up princess jewelery, a princess wand...everyone knows princesses don't carry wands, fairy godmothers do, but I wasn't going to split hairs...I found some gross looking pink princess candy, and animal crackers, of course. I put all the presents in the gift bag and walk out to where he was standing with the gift bag, my bag, and a bottle of water for him because it was about 95 and rising at the time. He wasn't there. I must have looked like an idiot. I just sort of stood there holding this stuff in front of the store for a minute or two. That was when the store employee stationed at the front door noticed me and my sad little princess gift bag.
"That bag isn't for the man that was out here earlier begging for money, is it?"
"Yes, yes it is. I don't see him though."
"Ummmm...he left ma'am."
"Oh no! Do you know where he went? I just bought this for him to take to his daughter."
"I don't know where he went, but I know he won't be back." I can only assume that at that point my face distorted into something akin to my pug's when he hears a strange a noise, because he continued, "He was lying, a scam, you know..."
I really don't know if he kept talking...I was already walking away. As I was almost to my car a woman walked by pushing a cart with her daughter in it. She looked 3. Ish. To me. What do I know? I asked them if she liked princesses and told them it was her lucky day! When the mother opened her mouth to ask the crazy lady giving away big bags of prezzies in parking lot if she was off her meds, I pointed to the employee still standing in the doorway and told her to ask him.
I got in my car, took a deep breath, pulled out my phone, typed the name of the town and "car accident" into google news...and started to cry...