If Ironing Is My “Zen”–Zen Why Do I Allow Nasty People To Get To Me??

Luckily for me, yesterday Oona had the day off from work. With her hives almost disappeared, her throat feeling much better, and in much better spirits, I felt like a helicopter overprotective a mom who did a good great job taking care of her grown baby girl!keeping me company whilst I iron

Such a pleasure to have my two babies keeping me company whilst I iron!

One of my tasks pleasures was ironing the clothing she brought home with her to be laundered. It’s hard to describe the love I have for ironing clothing. Perhaps it’s a genetic thing. My mother, as well as her sisters, loved to iron. I remember days of coming home from school and seeing my clothing smoothed out and wrinkle-free, perfectly folded on the front stairs—still warm from the iron and waiting for me to put away in a drawer or hang in my closet. My mother was such a fanatic about ironing that she ironed the altar linens at our church, St. Patrick’s.


Add the priest’s vestments and other adornments for the altar–I think she ironed enough linens to keep the entire family in such good graces that NONE of us will go to Hell–not even me!

St Pats

….and you should have seen the size of the old-school Altar in St. Pat’s!

This love was passed down to me (and I’m pretty sure my sisters too). There is something so relaxing and calming about the entire process of setting up the ironing board, plugging the iron into the outlet and feeling the heat from that small appliance, taking a wrinkled item of clothing, placing it upon the board, and hitting it with the iron’s steam! Observing and studying the once-wrinkled item, so smooth and, at times, perfectly creased is such a Zen experience for me. I AM the Miyagi of this domestic process that some think of as an irritating chore. “Wrinkles On. Wrinkles Off” is my motto!

ironing is my zen

This is where my “Zen” happy place is!

After shirts and blouses were ironed, pants smoothed and creased down the middle, and skirts pretty and office-ready, Oona packed and we were off for a quick lunch and a drop-off at Paoli station so that she could enjoy the Amtrak ride back to Manhattan.

Before and after. Look how beautiful that smooth fabric is after a nice, even pressing!

Gap shirt before–Oona actually thought it was ok to wear this shirt without ironing! WHAT??????  Look how pretty it is. I swear Ironing is the Botox of clothing!

We enjoyed a quick lunch at Panera, some great mother/daughter conversation and a quiet ride to the train.

What happened when we arrived at Paoli Station was an incident that turned me into the least “Zen” person in the world. Read on…..

In the past, I’ve commuted from Long Island into Manhattan’s Wall Street area. The train station was abuzz and extremely busy between the early morning hours and the early evening hours.   The hours in between always left a smattering of people going into the City for pleasure, to visit relatives and other matters.   The activity was pretty much a drop-off or pick up with automobiles “standing” in front of the station as the parking lots were full of commuters’ vehicles.

The Paoli train station is no different from any other commuter train station in a bedroom community of any major city. The parking lot was full. Completely full.

Paoli Station

Paoli Train Station. Not the place you would go to for lunch–OK?

There were a few parking spots directly in front of the tracks, but they were reserved. I happened to notice two particular spots that were empty. In front of these two empty spots were signs. The signs read. “These two spaces reserved for patrons of “Trackside Café Only. All others will be towed at owners expense..”.

trackside cafe sign

I get this–however I was “standing”–the car was running and it isn’t an illegal action!

At 1:15 in the afternoon—after whatever “lunch” crowd this café would be serving and long after the commuters enjoy their morning cuppa joe, I figured it would be a safe bet to “stand” with the engine running and enjoy a few more words with my daughter before the train arrived in 10 minutes. Besides—if someone needed to park, I would leave immediately. I’m NOT a rude person. My actions were not the actions of an obnoxious individual who would actually park in one of those spots for hours while leaving my car. There was no parking—it was cold as balls, and I wasn’t parked—I was “standing“! I also intended to go into the café and purchase a hot chocolate or coffee since I DID slide into the spot and it was cold and I would have enjoyed and savored that hot beverage till my heart’s content!!!!!!

Oona turned to me, mid-conversation and said “Mom, there’s a lady behind your car taking down your license number”.

I rolled down the window and before I could explain myself, this post-menopausal woman regained her once-youthful PMS and started screaming at me ” I paid for the spaces !! You’re a thief and you are stealing from me! Get outta here now before I call the police on you……..”


Yes. I was humiliated, scolded, harassed and accused of thievery by the owner of the Trackside Café at the Paoli train station. I didn’t even have the chance to tell her that I was going to buy some coffee or hot chocolate!

I didn’t even have the chance to tell her I was going to go into her establishment to make a purchase after the train arrived! She was screaming so loud at me that I do believe the dead in the nearby church cemetery woke up laughing at me!

In my head I was thinking “You mutha-effing, connasse bee-otch. If I could get outta this car and slap you upside the head, I would…..” (It was also at this time I was missing my BFF from New York so badly—the ever-feisty Jeannie! We would have gone tag-team on that woman!) I was not being very “Zen” and I felt no remorse for my mean-girl thoughts. But I was provoked!

Instead, I just calmly said “Listen, I’m terribly sorry but I am dropping my daughter off for the train, and there are no spots. My engine is running so I can leave at any time. I’m terribly sorry” “Really—she was very sick this weekend!” Yes. I mentioned that my daughter was sick. Who knows why I added that –I mean really, would that have made a difference ?????

She didn’t stop. She continued screaming at me to the point of harassment. You KNOW how much I just love being the center of attention. But in this particular case, I wasn’t too happy with the attention this woman was bestowing upon me!

I drove out of the spot and around the perimeter of the ever-crowded and poorly planned Paoli station. My car ended up weirdly parked at an angle between two other cars that were waiting at the entrance of the station’s small ticket office. No sooner did I turn off the engine of my car than the train arrived. I couldn’t even walk my baby Oona to the tracks.


I usually walk the kids to the platform–but I couldn’t do that yesterday with Oona. It was a short good-bye!  “Good bye my little girl. Mommy will miss you! Don’t forget to call me when you get back home”!!!

The ever-nasty Madame Proprietress was still standing and waiting for anyone to “steal” one of her spots. I drove back into the spot that I “stole”. Got out of my car, and snapped a picture of the sign and waved “Bye Bye”, in the sweetest but loudest voice I could, to the proprietress of The Trackside Cafe. My “Zen” was a little off–but slowly coming back!


I did get angry–and I need to Zen out–two angry people is not a good equation!

All the proprietor had to do was knock on my window and kindly explain to me that I needed to leave the spot. I would have complied in the most polite and apologetic way. That’s all she had to do.

I get it. I totally get that she is the proprietress of a small business. However, as the owner, if you don’t know or fully understand why someone may have slipped into that parking spot, go and inquire! Speak to the person in a professional manner! What if someone was deathly ill? What if something happened to the car? Before presuming that someone is “stealing” from you, take a step back and think first. Then kindly explain why you need the car moved. This woman should have presumed that I was a prospective patron. I had every intention of making a purchase!  I was NOT trying to pull a “fast one” on this woman! I will NEVER, set foot into that café. In fact, I will tell any one of my friends who have to take a train from Paoli station to NEVER set foot into that café!

Well, I was happy to note that I wasn’t the only person to fall under the wrath of the owner of the Trackside Café in Paoli. According to ‘Yelp”. She’s nasty with mostly everyone!


Sometimes the manner in which you treat people is also reviewed!

I want my Zen to be with me in all aspects of life. Not just ironing! This little incident from yesterday made me reassess my own level of frustration. I need to let it go!


I need to get my “Zen” on–in every way!

Why can’t people just be kind to one another. Nastiness harbors a trickle-down effect and I allowed the trickle-down to ruin my Zen of a day! Two wrongs don’t make a right and I am aware of that!


For your relaxation and calm thoughts. Zen Garden! Namaste!

About Catherine

Far from perfect, but enjoying life as a non-perfect and flawed individual at 60 years young. I'm still wondering what I'll be when I grow up! The characters in my life's screenplay include my better half. He is a refined Frenchman who grew up in Paris and summered in St. Tropez. I grew up in Long Island and summered in Long Island. I am not refined. My three grown children are also a big part of my life. For their sake, they happily live where their careers have taken them! But I can still mother them from a distance! I write about the mundane. I write about deeply shallow issues. But whatever I write or muse about--it'll always be a bit on the humorous and positive side! It's all good!
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