Channeling Marie

Okay – after a really cold March, April arrives and BLAM – it’s 74 freakin’ degrees.

Don’t get me wrong – it’s a beautiful evening, but for purposes of running?  Going from the high 30’s to the mid 70’s makes for some insta-fatigue.  But anyway, I was going to tell you about how I channeled Marie today.

Marie, for those who don’t know her (and that would probably be most of you) is one of my dearest (and among my oldest) friends.  Neither of us suffer fools gladly (“or at all,” I hear my mother saying), but Marie has what I consider to be a truly admirable way of dealing with the dimwittery of total strangers, particularly children and adolescents (which is good, because she’s a Teen Services Librarian).  Her manner combines a sort of brisk, almost military, no-nonsense forcefulness, with just enough politeness to allow people room to respond with good grace.  By the time I’m ticked off enough to handle a stranger’s wilful (or witless) dumbassery, I’m usually not so diplomatic.  The reactions I get often range from defensive and hostile to frightened and cowed.

This evening during my run, as I got to the little wooden bridge that spans a small stream behind our house, I nearly tripped over a scooter lying on its side.  A girl – probably around ten years old – was down by the water, inspecting the stream.  “Might want to move that,” I yelled as I went by.  She looked up at me and either didn’t hear or didn’t register what I had said (she had a look I remember from being that age – she was on a different planet in her preadolescent head: it’s springtime, she’s outside, cabin fever is over).

When I came back, the scooter was still there, and she was still crouched by the water.  I walked over, took a deep breath, thought, “How would Marie handle this?” and said, “Excuse me, is that your scooter?”  She nodded.  “Would you please move it so it’s not in other people’s way?”

She scrambled up the bank, trying to explain why she had left it there, and I said (still managing to not lose it or take an impolite tone), “I really don’t care why you left it just there, but it’s in the way and it doesn’t have to be.”

“Okay.  Thank you,” she said as she positioned it away from the path.

“Thank you,” I said.

Now, Jill – was that so hard?


  1. We have that problem with new neighbors here sometimes. Bikes or Big Wheels or something gets left on the sidewalk and I can’t get by. Luke can’t see well enough to get off the sidwalk. Usually when we explain why the sidewalk has to be clear, they’re more careful.

  2. I think I need to channel Marie, too.

  3. I actually met Marie at Stitches West!

  4. How funny to find a blog entry on your blog that has to do with me!

    Sounds like you did an admirable job of being forceful, polite and just slightly snarky – perfect!