Monday, April 02, 2007

Meanest woman ever

Okay, so I went a little overboard with the title, but she really wasn't very nice.

This weekend we had a swim meet in Puyallup and like most other swim meets, it started pretty early. We left our house at 6:30am, in order to be there at 7:30am, so we could find seats and be ready for warm-ups at 8am.

At about 8:00 or so, an older woman arrived. I say older in retrospect, because elder implies some wisdom gathered through the ages. She asked me if the seats to one side of me were taken - there was some one else's towel spread on them - and I responded, "Some one's stuff is there." She proceeds to spread out her towel right behind me and tells me, "You need to move." After the fact, my wife told me that there were plenty of other seats, but we were by the starting blocks.

I scoot forward some, thinking she needs the room temporarily to spread out her stuff but promptly I get a knee stuck in my back. Yes, she was inside my personal bubble, but swim meets get crowded, so I can deal it. She kept moving her knee around, trying to push me forward. It became apparent that this wasn't an accidental incursion into my personal space, it was a deliberate invasion.

I proposed to her that we each move a little bit sideways and we can both have plenty of room. She declined that option, saying she was expecting more people, and kept her knee stuck in my back.

If reason based negotiations weren't going to work, I was going to be comfortable. I leaned back against her knees and was quite comfortable.

Her grown daughter, a swimmer's mom, eventually arrived. When she sat down, she asked me to move my bag using polite words like "please" and "thank you." I obliged, as you get more flies with honey than vinegar to borrow a colloquialism.

Shortly thereafter, she wanted to know what was going on and her mom took this opportunity to say how much more comfortable we could be if we weren't having a pushing match.

My response was that she was the only one pushing and that I was quite comfortable leaning against her knees. She then went on to say that swim meets are crowded and that people should move for others.

"People should move for people who are polite and ask them. Your age hasn't taught you politeness, but somehow your daughter learned politeness. I've offered twice that we can each move over and share the space, but you seem happy to try to push me aside with your knees. I'm happy leaning against them."

She was shocked and surprised that her daughter was recognized as polite, but didn't say more.

Swim meets are long and she had to go to the bathroom at some point. When she returned, the polite one, her daughter, said "Excuse me," so I scooted forward and got both knees in the back. But again, it was comfortable to lean on them, so there I stayed.

A few hours later, she got up and left to sit in her car. Her daughter said to me, no longer so polite, "Go ahead and lean back now. Does it make you feel like a big man to push on my mom?"

Calmly and politely, "I will lean back and it doesn't make me feel like a big man. She was the only one pushing and not very polite either."

"My mom is very nice and polite."

"Maybe when you are around, she wasn't polite when she was talking to me."

This line of discussion quickly ended, but I was ready to propose her mom's sudden personality change on stroke or Alzheimer's. You have to look out for the older people.

I was amazed at how rude this woman was and we were both stubborn. I would have to also say that it was more comfortable leaning against her knees than the benches. I do feel a little bad that she was probably uncomfortable for the rest of the afternoon, but just because you are old doesn't make you entitled to push other people around.

This was a surprising occurrence because people at swim meets are usually quite nice. I still don't get it, two days later.


Anonymous said...

How bizarre! And the entitlement is just astounding.

I don't know if you knew, but I'm a swimmer. Spent my entire life around pools and at swim meets. But I can't remember ever watching a swim meet from the bleachers. I was always either coaching or swimming. I don't even remember what my parents did....They don't let you on deck? My mom watched most of our events screaming cheers over the edge of the pool. Like I could reach up and grab her ankle.


Beau said...

The pool at Rogers High School didn't want swimmers in the bleachers and parents on deck. It is a little problematic when my swimmers are both under 10, but it turned out okay.

Most meets aren't this way, they will let parents on deck for cheering. The seating area at Rogers High School was carpeted (outdoor carpet) and by keeping wet swimmers off it, they probably minimized the funk.