Dating at Midlife/What was the point of this?
I had an interaction when I was a younger woman that I need your opinion on.
Back when I was a 22 year old woman, I had just graduated from college and was accepted to graduate school and would be attending that following year.
I had a meeting with the secretary of the graduate school to register for classes a few months before school started.
The graduate school was a 1.5 hour drive from my house, the full route was highway only (no local roads).
It was winter time and it was snowing a lot, but the highways were clean as state highways always are.
My mother (who was 55 then) refused to allow me to drive the 1.5 hours to the school and spend money on gas. She said I should take the Metra rail train.
The Metra train route made me change trains 3 different times and then at the end of the 3rd train route, I would have to transfer and catch a bus (under the same company as the Metra train, they are linked together) to go to the graduate school. The spot where I would catch the bus was about 5 blocks from the last train stop. My mother said I should do this instead of driving.
I went on the train route and when I came to the last stop, I walked the 5 blocks in the foot deep snow, nearly blizzard weather, almost getting knocked over by the freezing winds, and saw that there was no bus that went to the graduate school, and no bus stop there even. The graduate school was another 12 blocks away.
I was nearly hysterical and crying (keep in mind this is inclement weather) and I randomly stumbled into an empty deserted parking lot in front of a warehouse. There I saw a man in his 60s getting out of a car in a suit with a briefcase, and on his sweatshirt said the name of the school. I spoke to him and he said he was a professor at the school, and he said there was no bus that went that direction, why on earth was I walking in the blizzard out in the middle of nowhere, and that he would give me a ride.
He gave me a ride to the school and dropped me off. This whole process had taken about 4 hours. I went to my meeting and after my 15 minute meeting with the secretary, the security guard at the school gave me a ride to the train station, and I took the three trains home which took about 2.5 hours to get home.
By the way, the train fare is not super duper cheap, I think it cost me about $30 round trip and the bus fare would have been another $5 had I caught it. So I am not sure about how much more saving it would have done from filling up gas in my car.
What do you feel about this whole ordeal?
Do you feel my mother was being callous? Did she have good intentions, not wanting me to drive in a snowstorm? Or was she just ignorant?
I just realized I could have easily been raped and murdered by the man who offered me a ride. He could have easily been someone pretending to be a professor, a lot of people look and dress like professors who aren't really professors. I believe I may have seen a decal on the back of his car that said the school name on it so that's why I believed him, but my memory is too fuzzy now. Either way, I am really lucky that I didn't hitchhike with a serial rapist or serial killer. At that point I was completely frozen head to toe and was about to pass out in the cold, I could simply not walk any more because it was about -10 degrees and pounding snow, so I took the chance, my feet were frozen and would not move, I could barely even talk. But yes I am lucky I wasn't chopped to bits and dumped in an alley somewhere.
Even who knows, the security guard from the school who gave me a ride back to the train station could have also been a serial killer and chopped me to bits or raped me! Although that chance is much lower since I knew he was a school employee and a cop, and about 5 other security guards all saw me get in the car with him, so it's unlikely he would try anything, compared to the first person where there was no one else in the parking lot and he could have been easily lying about his profession.
The thing that bothers me, I think my mom KNEW I would have to walk the 5 blocks in the snowstorm.
I think she wanted me to struggle throughout my life to build character or something. She grew up in a poor family and we are middle class so I've had a better life than her, so maybe she wanted me to struggle a bit. Who knows.
Or perhaps she was just thinking the train would be a lot easier and convenient to get to the school than driving around in the snow in case I had car trouble, etc. because I was driving a 10 year old car.
What do you think about all this?
Of all your speculations, I think the closest to the point was the fact that your mother had a very difficult childhood. I'm sure you don't even know the half of it. I bet she is treating you as she herself was treated, with the same rigidity, the same narrow thinking, that same lack of common sense and empathy, all in the name of doing the right thing.
You said this happened when you were 22. I wondered how old you are now. My guess is that you are moving into midlife. THat when we start getting some adult perspective on how our parents raised us.
It sounds like you've started that process and that you are approaching it very carefully.
It also sounds like you are trying to find lots of intellectual and analytical support for some of your intuitions
and that's usually the case when a person has strong critical feelings about their parents and those feelings have
a lot of truth and legitimacy.
I suspect it might be helpful for you to be having some extended conversations with someone like me. There's a lot of freedom, power and compassion to be gained here and you want to do due diligence to this thought process. You've started by writing out this question. I think it's a good start. Keep thinking and find someone to talk to about it this. You can certainly have on phone call with me if you want.
But you've made a good start. Keep going.
Philip Alan Belove, Ed.D.