Nothing Wrong, Nothing Right

My father didn’t do anything wrong today.

When, on our way back from a craft fair in Vermont, my father chose to drive over that plastic toolbox in the road, rather than to stop or go around it he didn’t do anything wrong. It was the fault was with the fellow who dropped it out of the back of his pickup, even if he was upset as it drove past him running back from that parked pickup, riding under the new Subaru. My father stopped, backed up a bit, and left it in the road again, closer to him.

He didn’t do anything wrong.

When he realized he couldn’t slow enough to make the left turn, and then made the right turn instead, well, he didn’t do anything wrong. It was the driver of the huge blue jeep running fast and crashing by just an inch from the the passenger windows who was wrong, who, probably assuming we would go left, passed illegally on the shoulder, and then got surprised, driving behind us but not having enough control of his vehicle, too much speed and too close following to handle my father’s choices.

He didn’t do anything wrong.

When my father drove on, he knew he hadn’t hit the fellow, and since there was no crunch, thought his car wasn’t hit. It was the other driver who tailgated him for 20 miles, the first five honking and blinking and driving real crazy that felt like road rage. When the driver came up and pounded the window, saying “Do you know you hit me?” and then chose not to follow us the next block to the police station, it was the other fellows fault.

He didn’t do anything wrong.

There are some scuffs over the passenger front side wheel well, but they mean the other driver was passing on the right, bad magic. Still, he called the sheriff first, made the first complaint, and things need to be straightened out.

All this pain & trauma, and my father didn’t do anything wrong. No, not wrong.

He just didn’t do much right, either, from choosing to go over the box to not slowing down, not considering the challenges he offered to those behind him.

I know what adrenaline tastes like, as I ride in panic, as I wait, as I slam together a dinner, as I think of how little control I have, as I understand how things will continue to go wrong unless change is engaged. My ears ring as the resistance to change, the dance of disconnection gets more intense.

He’s not doing anything wrong. But, then again, he’s not doing much right, either.

I think of how my parents have always related to me, trying to point out what I did wrong, and never taking time to focus on what I do right, how I can do right more or better. They just cared that things didn’t go wrong.

After the box hit, I was thinking about how they have always required me to stay away from confrontation, because it scares them. As long as they don’t do wrong, they don’t have to confront others, confront what might be more right.

But that’s a life, and to me, a life lost.

And now I go see what’s left in the bottom of the vodka & rum bottles.

2 thoughts on “Nothing Wrong, Nothing Right”

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