|Photo by littlegraypixel, via Flickr|
The small lakefront cottage is inside a “gated community.” This means nobody can get in or out without a key or checking in with security, though somehow this never stops vandals from throwing garden statues into the lake, untying people’s docks, drawing penises on the dock, or other such mischief. But in Buttcrack, PA, what else is there for the punk ass teens to do?
The community shares two swimming pools, tennis courts and a community center. Last summer I made the mistake of going to one of the pools on a holiday weekend, where I witnessed an embarrassing display of ignorance as a morbidly obese woman yelled to a Russian man to go back to his country, that “This is America!” The argument started because the woman, with her skinhead looking husband and two equally obese neo-naziesque children, tried to bugger into the pool and hoard some lounge chairs, cutting other people in line, resulting in the Russian man calling her ignorant. Her subsequent display only proved his point. Later, the man tried to apologize, but the woman's red-faced husband actually stood up and chased the poor speedo-clad Russian away.
This year, seeking a little fresh air and reading time, I decided to try again. It was a cloudy day, so the pool was empty. No sooner had I sat down with my family, a bee began to buzz around me annoyingly, while I swatted and tried to remain calm. Relentlessly, it returned, getting right in my ear and buzzing uncontrollably. Do what I might, the bee pursued me with the reckless abandon of a stalker pursuing a stalkee, until I had to jump into the cold water to escape its hostile attack.
I finally stormed over to the opposite side of the pool and sat down. I was already annoyed by the bee incident and the lifeguards (because they were young, dumb, and not manning their posts. And let’s face it, because I was jealous over the loss of my youth, when I too had been such a lifeguard). That’s when the Pool Losers came in.
The family consisted of a mother, aunt, father and three small children. As they entered, they made the huge empty space seem like a crowded Walmart at Christmas. Their screaming loud voices pierced through my peace and quiet like Jon Bon Jovi and Bret Michaels had pierced through my heart in middle school.
Next thing you know, the kids got it in their head to have a talent show of sorts. The game went like this:
1) Stand as close to our lounge chairs as humanly possible without actually sitting on our laps.
2) The mother and aunt, who planted themselves about 25 feet away from the kids and therefore had to shout across us to converse, would call out a topic, e.g., “THE OLYMPICS!”
3) The kids would do a rendition of “THE OLYMPICS!” while walking towards the water and jumping in.
4) The mother and aunt would clap, guffaw and shout, scoring the child from 1 to 10. That’s IF they were paying attention. If not, the children would screech, as if their young lives depended on it: “MOMMMM watch MEEEE. WATCH MEEEE. MOOOMMMM!!!”
5) The cycle would repeat itself, endlessly.
Now I know a pool is a place for kids to have fun and not even I can begrudge the children their fun (after all, they are the future). But this pool was the size of two Olympic pools and nobody was there but my family, and theirs. So why did these Pool Losers feel the need to get up in our grill? Shout across us? Scream at the top of their lungs? Laugh over their children’s painfully silly renditions? Allow their kids to stand a millimeter away from where others were trying to read? Because they, like most parents and family members, thought their kids were cute. And so should everyone.
After about 20 such renditions, when even my ever-patient stepfather was about to go postal, I contemplated shouting out “LIBRARY!” or “DROWNING VICTIM!” to the kids. Instead we passively aggressively decided to get up and move, all the while huffing and puffing under our breath. As we walked past the mom and aunt, I heard the mother say, “OK kids, time to pack up and go!”
“Are ya kidding? Now you’re leaving?” burst forth from my lips, as we headed around the corner, where the monsters’ father, sitting peacefully with a book and noise cancellation headphones, had the right idea.
So, to end this rant, I’d just like to give the Pool Losers a helpful FYI: Your kids really aren’t that freaking cute. OK? Thanks.