I had high hopes for today. Today was going to be the bomb. Today was the first day of my two week vacation (and by vacation I mean that I'll still do work, just not all of the time, and in my jammies.) and the babysitter was coming to watch the girls so that I could check off every itty bitty little thing that has piled up on my to-do list over the last few weeks. For the past several days, I had been day dreaming about today. It was going to be perfectly productive. I'd start the morning with a run, a glorious run since the Artic Tundra has temporarily melted. After my run, I was going to chill in the sauna at the gym. Yep. I was just going to sit there, naked, in that weird dark room, maybe with some other naked ladies and it was going to feel so awesome. After that I planned to go to Stagecoach, aka, the best darn coffee shop around, and get myself a coffee and bagel. Then off to the library to hammer through the last assignments of my career development class, aka, the class that never ends. When I had that all wrapped up I was going to buy wonderful last minute gifts at my favorite local shops. I'd then hum a happy tune while I skipped back to my car and smile all the way home to my darling little loves who were to be exhausted from a day of fun with someone much younger, and funner, with a ton more energy, than me. Feeling wholeheartedly accomplished, I'd cook them a scrumptious meal and we'd watch a holiday movie until they drifted off to sleepy time.
I told you I had high hopes for today. Well, my hopes went to hell in a hand basket. When the sitter arrived, I was nowhere near ready to leave the house and was already feeling the sands of time slipping away from me. As I tried to rush out the door, my cell phone rang and I saw it was from one of my dearest, and chattiest friends. There's no time for chatting, I thought to myself, but I couldn't resist so I answered. She told me she had a feeling I wasn't headed to work today and told me not to go into town because there were reports of a shooting. A shooting I cried! Aw, shit- there goes my day. I hung up the phone and announced to the family that we were officially on lock down. No swimming or bowling at the gym. No shopping, no classwork getting done. I contemplated going outside for my run but then thought better. What if I was running along, on some random back woods dirt road, and the shooter came along and, well, I am kinda stupid about running but I figured this wasn't the day to be Miss Super Committed to Running.
I begudgingly locked down in the laundry room and ran a few miles while watching Breaking Bad. Nothing like watching a few dudes almost get killed making meth to make you less worried about your own life. I then took a shower, sans sauna, sans naked ladies, and retired to my bedroom to knock off the last chapter of my class. Andy decided that he needed to turn our bedroom into the headquarters for Operation Andy Marietta Needs to Get Tons of Last Minute Stuff Done, so there we were, me on the bed and Andy in the arm chair. I typed. He coughed. I read. He coughed. I tried to think clearly and articulately and put those thoughts to words. He coughed until I was sure that something terrible and awful was going to come shooting out of his mouth. I started to sweat. He started to pound nails into the junky, cheap-o desk that we bought to go with Caroline's to-be-Santa-gifted computer. I drifted from my task at hand to IM'ing my friends about buying guns and starting a mom militia. Andy talked loudly on speaker phone. I fidgeted, crossing and uncrossing my legs. Andy coughed so violently that he almost fell over. I added Lysol spray to my mental grocery list. The list of items that I would get to buy if we ever got out of lock down and into town.
Police cars whizzed by our house. I watched as local friends posted pictures of Main Street blocked off, along with prayers, and friends from farther away posted about wishes for a peaceful and joyful holiday. I felt awful and scared. I felt thankful that my whole family was with me, safe in our home and that my friend had called and I hadn't gone to town. I felt like maybe I should get a gun. Or maybe people should just stop using guns as a reaction to their own feelings. I also felt annoyed. I had a lot of stuff to do today and now I was holed up in my bedroom with the Guiness Book of World Records record holder for most consecutive coughs in a minute. And then I felt guilty because I was so happy that he was right next to me and not in town where I'd be worried sick about him. Then I was angry and pissed that this is becoming so common place in our society that a non-fatal shooting in my little town today was basically NBD. And because, when we went to the movies this weekend, my first thought was that we'd never be able to get out of the theater alive if a shooter came in. And because I put Caroline on the bus every day and worry that her classroom is so close to the front door of the school. And because I have gone to Shooter on Campus safety workshops. And because I am someone who had never, ever considered owning a gun and now I wonder if it's not that bad of an idea, and not just because there could be a zombie apocalypse. Then I was so, so sad and scared because I am someone who has never, ever considered owning a gun and now I wonder it it's not that bad of an idea.
The shooter is still at large,likely far away by now. Main Streer re-opened and my perfect day was no longer perfect. I still managed to finish my classwork, despite some technological challenges, and I did get a coffee and the rest of my shopping completed. But I didn't skip and I didn't hum or smile. I felt on edge and nervous and numb. The day before Christmas eve and I'm pissed because some guy in a ski mask is firing shots in my little town. I'm pissed because all of this random violence disrupts the normalcy that makes every day perfect. We deserve that. We deserve perfect. We don't deserve people in ski masks shooting at us.
This is not intended to be a commentary on gun control and I don't need to tell you to hug your kids a little tighter tonight because you'll already do that. This is a reminder to me that every day that we are here, on this Earth, getting coughed on by the ones we love the most and fretting about our to-do lists, is the perfect day that can so easily be taken away.