You know those people that are really, really loud at pools. They have every relative over that is still alive and let each kid bring five friends to swim. Well, I’m about to complain about those people, and about people equally as oblivious to their surroundings.
To be fair, I am that person you see in public looking around, counting all of the potentially imminent social or physical disasters (which is my own shade of crazy). I get worried when there’s only one empty lounge chair left and I see two people entering the pool. When I see someone wandering around the pool, looking for an empty chair, I might say, “actually I’m about to leave, anyway” even if I just got there because the sheer awkwardness of watching a young lady walk around, visibly uncomfortable with her bikini body is way too much for me to handle. I’m in a perpetual state of waiting to troubleshoot. Which is sometimes understandable, because I’m awful at dealing with conflict. I’m really good at confrontation, though, like in the way that my older cousin had to tear me away from two out-of-town girls that came to my high school party, uninvited, when I was sixteen. (I call this, the unprovoked rage of a once privileged middle-class white girl.)
But in the adult way, I’m not good at all. Matti’s response to most of my rants about someone around us: “It’s not worth it, Al.” Because he’s an adult. My attempt at being an adult is posting a passive aggressive note (“Try harder next time”) on the car that just can’t seem to park within the lines instead of just following my gut and keying it.
If you happen to see a behavior of your own in my rants, please feel free to completely change the person you are/have become for my benefit.
Let me start with you, chronic texter, hater of all expected social courtesies, such as watching where you walk. What would happen if you put your phone down until you’ve reached, say, your destination? I promise, the guy you are texting will not like you any less if you leave him hanging for a few minutes.
You know, you’re making us all look like stupid, phone-obsessed teenagers. Wait, are you a teenager? I forgot people were still teenagers after I turned twenty, four years ago. Do you live in this apartment complex, too? Did your parents buy you that cell phone? What would happen if I was also looking at my phone? We would crash into each other. Like idiots. We would be two young women, obsessed with technology, unable to navigate their way through a wide open sidewalk. Do you know how that would look to someone watching? It would be hilariously pathetic and I want no part of it, or you.
The only pleasure I can get from you, chronic texter, is the thought of pretending to look at my phone too, as I walk toward you, so we can bump into each other and you will drop yours. The phone won’t break though, because I’m not evil and let’s all hate Verizon together. It will just crack and then I’ll act super apologetic as I recommend for you to go the cheapest iphone repair place that has awful customer service and that’ll be your punishment.
On to you, unofficial representative of the church of St. Ignatius. Although you are free to send your religious aspirations into the sticky HEB air, hoping someone will get stuck, I will not succumb to your trap! I have nothing wrong with you being religious but I don’t often like being made to feel uncomfortable. I spend most days perfecting my apathetic front whereas anything that could be embarrassing or awkward I prepare for and create the proper response. For example: breaking my foot while walking in London was a purposeful way to expose the disparities between the US and UK healthcare systems, but in a funny way.
So when, in the middle of the HEB express checkout line, you begin to question why my parents didn’t take me to church every sunday I am a bit taken aback. Mostly because I can’t really say “well, they don’t serve Bacardi, Tanqueray, or shrimp cocktails there, right?” Also because I entered the quick checkout for a reason, meaning, minimal opportunities for small talk. But I guess I took too long to answer because before I opened my mouth, you were on to saving the cashier! I guess my soul wasn’t worth saving after all. The only lesson I can take from this is that you see your time as extremely valuable, and have already ascertained that my soul was not worth the effort of trying to bring into the light, which is now yielding, inside of me, a level of offended I didn’t know existed. So first off, good for you sir! And secondly, how dare you? How dare you begin to shower me with conditional open arms only to take it away and give it to the next, closest, lost soul before I could even say no!
You know what, sir, you are beginning to seem like those vindictive people on twitter that unfollow someone who won’t follow them. Were you trying to slow play me, spreader of the holy word? If your plan was to get me to think about religion for the rest of the weekend it worked. Although I don’t think it’s the way you wanted me to think about.
Finally, to the family of fifty that has taken over the pool, could you keep your crazy down a bit? I’m afraid it might spread. Although I’m wholly thankful I have not yet overheard any of your children narrate how it feels to be peeing in the pool right at the moment, I’m not exactly pleased with your behavior. One of your sons is literally going to die if you don’t watch him jump in and I’m literally going to die if I have to hear him ask you this again. The retired lifeguard in me is about to have a heart attack. Your children are playing a modified form of dodgeball where they run around the pool, peg each other with a beach ball, and then jump into the pool wherever is convenient. Which, thankfully, has not yet been near someone’s head. It is 106 degrees out right now which translates to: It is way too motherfuckin’ hot for me to be sweating this. Please get your shit together.
Your children, without your advisement, have started playing catch in the shallow end where you have all posted up. Some would almost call it peaceful. But not for you, because the wind has caught the ball twice and carried it into your inner circle. Apparently, this is where the line is drawn. Not twenty minutes ago when your child was deliberately splashing water on me to get my phone wet, but now that you have been touched by a weightless ball that could literally float away with the wind, you’ve had enough. The main thing I don’t understand about this is that your kids are five and they were mostly innocent in their ball-overthrowing crimes. These kids are clearly just learning how to throw and catch.
What’s worse is that you are all in the pool but you’ve claimed three tables and eighteen chairs as your own, leaving me to visibly cringe every time a new person comes to the pool and has to stair at the empty seats that could be theirs if the world was fair. I know you are trying to have a good time but I promise if you let your kids surf on your back for just fifteen minutes, maybe throw them into the air while splashing around for a bit, they will feel better about leaving you alone when you ask. It always works with my dogs.
And this, readers, is why I don’t feel as guilty for not leaving my house some days. Even when walking to the local market next door I am inundated with text walkers that have no regard for the safety of those around them. It’s a dangerous world out there.
Note: After doing brief research, I have found that texting and walking is actually dangerous, not just from a comic standpoint. People have actually walked into manholes. To me, this is perfect.
Also: I am not a parent and do not pretend to be. Although I have spent most of my adult life working with children I do not claim to know how to parent better than you. I will, however, comment on things that annoy me. One of the things that annoys me is when you are a lazy parent.