Part Two, With a Happy Ending

I couldn't get all that stuff that was floating around in my head to make up one post without it turning into an incoherent rant. So I'm going to get to the second part and then I promise we can talk about something else.

So, as I mentioned in my last post, I read a news article online that resonated with me and then I made the mistake of looking over the reader comments after it, which got me a little riled. Let me just say that I hope I haven't given the impression that I'm against debate. I welcome clear-headed debate on any issue. I simply feel that sometimes when emotions are running high, we zero-in on trying to convince others that we are right, and in the process we miss the bigger picture. My argument here is that if an acceptable amount of work was being done by the world of science into this epidemic, there would be no need for debate. We'd have some bloody answers.

But anyway, the debate was not even what got me riled. It was actually something that I've complained about before, which is the need for some people out there to float around cyberspace looking for nasty things to say to complete strangers, usually anonymously, to make themselves feel smart or superior or powerful. Regardless of where I see this happening (and I see it far too often, unfortunately), it always makes my blood boil.

In this particular instance, I read comments that described our autistic children as "retarded", "slow" and "mentally challenged". I read comments claiming that parents who were questioning the vaccine schedule were knowingly hurting children, and that they were sheep, mindlessly following someone called "Dr. Playboy". It occurred to me that people who would publicly post such hurtful things probably don't even know anyone with autism. And that just made me madder.

So then I spent the next few days feeling angry at the world, convinced that most of the people in it were nasty, sad, powerless little people who just wanted to spread their spite and create ugliness. And not just on this topic. I see it everywhere. Blogs I love frequently have some jerk show up and anonymously insult the author via the comments box. And we all know that for that one stupid, uneducated piece of nastiness, there are probably ten positive comments. But it's that one mean one that sticks in the back of your mind, irritating you afterwards. It's what these people count on.

I admit that for a few days afterwards, I was a little irrational about the whole thing. I saw the world as a place where my child will never be accepted, and where the quality of his life will forever be judged as inferior by others. I admit, I was feeling pretty sorry for myself.

And then came my roadside adventure.

Late yesterday afternoon I was driving the kids home from a program on the base. They were tired and cranky, and I needed to pee. The road I took is a dirt road, and it is the same road I had my accident on a couple of years ago. Yesterday, it was snowing and, as usual, the road had been cleared just wide enough for a child's bicycle to fit through. As I came to a bend in the road, I realized I couldn't really see if anything was coming around the corner towards me, and I should try to get over to the right a little so I didn't get taken by surprise. Everything out there was very white, and I completely misjudged exactly how deep that snow to the right of the road was. Before I knew it, I was pulled right into it and stuck in a snowbank. My kids were not impressed. And I still needed to pee.

Within one minute of realizing I wasn't going to get out of this on my own, a truck pulled up on the other side and a lady got out and came over. I told her I'd usually just call my husband, but he's in Afghanistan. She repiled "Mine too! Who can we call?!" And we stood there giggling over the insanity of military life, and how this stuff ALWAYS happens when they're away.

As we were trying to figure out the closest towing company to call, another car pulled up. In it was a couple who lived on a nearby farm. They told us to hang on and they'd come back with their tractor. The military wife stayed with us that whole time and within about a half hour, the farmers were back not in their tractor, but in a truck. They had me pulled out of the snow in about 15 minutes. As I sat in the driver's seat trying to carefully reverse my car while the truck slid from side to side on the road, pulling me slowly out, and as my car finally moved safely back out onto that road, the wife of the farmer, and the military wife who had stuck around to keep me company, started jumping up and down, clapping and cheering. Even my kids stopped whining.

It occured to me then that the world is really not made up mostly of people who want to create ugliness. Here I had three people I didn't know from Adam who, out of nothing more than a desire to do some good, had taken an hour out of their Saturday to pull a complete stranger out of a snowbank. Manitoba has the worst weather known to man. But it also has the best people.

And then I thought about all the other issues happening in the world today (yes, it's true. Autism isn't the ONLY one!). And I remembered the millions of dollars that have been raised to help earthquake victims in Haiti, the soldiers who put themselves in harm's way to promote and protect freedom throughout the world, the countless people who run, walk and fundraise for any number of charitable causes, and the people who open doors for you when they see you struggling with a couple of kids and bagloads of their crap. And now that I'm rational again, I can recognize that, without a doubt, this thing happened to me yesterday for a reason. I needed that little push from the universe to remind me of something I already knew deep down. That the number of people out there who want to create good in the world far, far, far outnumber those who want to create ugliness and evil.

And also to pee BEFORE going for a drive.


Keep Depends in the car!!!

As much as the haters have the right to say what they want, we have the right to choose how we take it. Dont take it personally, dont own it, dont make it into anything.
Deb Neerman said…
Okay, Mommy .. what is the last thing you tell the kids to do before they get in the car to go bye-bye-car? Now you do it too ... LOLOLOL! Reading your piece, I keep thinking, 'when is she gonna get a chance to pee?!?' I felt your pain, baby!

As my dear ol' Paw you used to say, "If ya got nothin' nice to say ... or at least constructive ... keep your big mouth shut." I don't know why people feel they can post whatever they want on someone's blog. And this is the EXACT reason I turned off "Anonymous" comments. 'Cuz that's how these hate-mongers face the world: anonymously. Don't allow anonymous comments and you will be amazed how fast these folks crawl back under their slippery rocks.

So glad to hear you had a really rotten experience turn into something so positive. We all need days like that to remind us of all the good, kind, caring folks that live in the world ... you know, the ones who are NOT anonymously posting crap they don't have the nerve to sign their names to ...

Just my .02 ... but for you, today, FREE!
I really wasn't sure how to respond to your very thought-provoking entry yesterday. Any words I had were inadequate. But I can completely understand how a few nasty and specific comments can overwhelm your head.

I'm delighted to hear about your three lovely strangers to add a little balance to those really difficult days.
In Real Life said…
Awwwww...thank goodness for the kindness of strangers!

I am glad to hear that you are feeling better about things.

That is the worst when you have to pee! Hee, hee!
glenda brooks said…
I used to tell my daughter, if you say it, it is out there! But some people don't care to think before they speak. I think you are one of the strongest people I have ever seen. You hang in there and remember we are here to support you!! You Go Girl!
Anya said…
And a lovely happy end

Savvy Gal said…
The good/ bad thing with forum and the in flow of social networking sites is the ability for people to share. However it is annoying to read negative comments from people who hides in the shadow. They are just trying to vent and be nasty which they can't do in real life. : )
Jenn said…
I'm so glad someone was there to help you. To help get you out of the snow and for the poke that not everyone is an unbelievable dumb-ass.;)
Stephanie Faris said…
I think as autism becomes more and more prevalent, people will become a lot more tolerant of it. It's already to the point where most of us know someone with an autistic child and that's only going to become more so.
Linda said…
I'm with Deb- I kept thinking "how long will she have to wait to pee?"

I'm so glad you had nice people drive up to help. And nice people commenting too! :)

Sometimes I read a comment or a blog post that annoys me or seems just plain mean (NOT talking about yours!) and my fingers itch to jump in with a not-so-nice answer. I always step back and leave well enough alone, figuring if I really need to post, I can come back later.

The anonymity of the Internet makes it so easy for people to dump garbage and run, that some just lose whatever decency they had.

But, that same Internet makes it possible for people (like you and your readers) to make connections and enjoy reading about the ups and downs of other lives. And to learn new things and see other points of view. And that's worth it.
laura said…
It is so nice when the good people out way the bad - i truly believe that it is not what happens, but how you respond to it.

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