Saturday, April 28, 2012
After buying a smoothie from the front counter at my local gym a few days ago, Myli and I excitedly hurried to the locker room to change into our swim suits. We were meeting her little friend at the pool. I had just finished my workout and was very hungry so I brought a smoothie to drink while I watched the girls swim before I joined them in the water. We were happy. Laughing. Having fun. Feeling excited. I smiled as they splashed around and giggled. I looked up and watched a woman walk toward me. I knew this woman, an employee at the facility. She is my own personal Newman. I don't see her that often but every single time I do she has this incessant need to reprimand me or one of my children for breaking some sort of rule. She would undoubtedly make an excellent security guard. (no offense to any of you security guards out there). "You can't have that in here." she announced. I forced a fake smile to hide my irritation. "Okay" I said through my teeth. Then, like a teenager wearing a "question authority" t-shirt, I slowly sipped down every last drop of my smoothie while staring in her direction the whole time. Talk about passive-aggressive. I'm not proud of my behavior.
Some of my past encounters with Miss Rule Nazi, aka, Fun Sucker, aka Buzz Killer:
When my son, Fynn, was 3 years old I was swimming with him at the gym and he was jumping into my arms in the water. He got all excited and did a sideways leap. "Careful Fynn," I said. "Jump in feet first". He jumped in again more carefully but excitedly fell forward. Enter the Rule Nazi. My first experience with her. I expected her to comment on his swimming abilities - he was a little fish! Instead she growled in his face, "If your mom can't get you to listen, maybe I can! If you 'dive' in again, I'll kick you out of the pool!"
State law says children under the age of 5 are not allowed in the hot tub at a facility like a fitness center. I've always considered it more of a guideline. I feel like we parents are pretty well equipped to make healthy decisions for our kids. But my kids have always been very aware of that rule and were terrified of going to the hot tub at our local gym until they were 'of age'. One day, not long before Myli's fifth birthday, we'd been swimming in the big pool and Myli was shivering she was so cold. I said "Let's go over to the hot tub and warm you up!" She said "I can't! I'm not 5!" I said "It's okay honey. You're almost 5 and you're freezing." Well I couldn't convince her to break the rule but I did get her to sit next to the hot tub, with her feet on the top step and I would splash a little warm water on her arms and legs." Enter the Fun Sucker. She spoke directly to Myli without even looking at me. "Young lady, how old are you?" Myli's panicked eyes darted over at me and back to Fun Sucker. "Four." I should have been proud of her honesty. "Well", says Fun Sucker, "You're not allowed in the hot tub until you're five....that includes your feet!" I thought my eyes were going to roll all the way out of my head.
A few months back, Myli and I met some friends at the pool during the school day. They brought their youngest child who was 2 at the time and still used a life jacket. Our kids were having a great time in the pool. I was talking to my friends enjoying the conversation. Enter Buzz Killer. She had spotted us and walked over to give the boy's dad some swimming tips. His dad is not the kind of guy who needs tips. They have four extremely athletic boys who could swim circles around Buzz Killer. It was really painful to listen. Then she began lecturing my friends on the state of their child's life jacket which was in fine shape. "How old is it? Did you know that each time you use it, you need to put it in the shower for half an hour and then let it dry completely before you use it again???" On and on and on. They both handled it quite gracefully. I think I did not. I was rolling my eyes, shaking my head, and walked away in the middle of her lecture.
Now I would like to think I have a pretty mellow personality and I pride myself in accepting others in the same way I hope others will accept me. Every once in awhile, though, I really find myself intolerant of certain people. Rule Nazi, aka, Fun Sucker, aka Buzz Killer will always be one of those people. And I'm not going to apologize.
(Okay I'll probably end up apologizing - I can't help it - it's what I do)