Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Mortified (Or, How to Deal With People Who Suck)

It was the day after my 12th birthday party. I was riding high from a successful slumber party and the consumption of a giant, Costco-sized tub of Laffy Taffy candy that someone had given me as a birthday present. Needless to say, I was feeling good.

My two older sisters had a marching band competition that day, so we took a family trip to the stadium to watch the proceedings. My parents were volunteering with the band, which left me in the stands to watch over my two younger sisters. I was twelve now. I could totally handle the responsibility.

We had a great time, my sisters and I. We cheered, we huddled together for warmth, we talked about how hilarious it would be to switch seats and watch how freaked out our parents would get when they came back to get us... Somehow, we made 6-straight hours of sitting on a metal bench fun.

After every few bands performed, the Powers That Be would give themselves (and, by extension, us) a break to...I don't know, do whatever marching band competition judges do when they aren't watching marching bands. Us schlubs in the stands would get up, shake it out, get something to eat. Whatever. I was twelve and had just spent all my babysitting money on cheap plastic earrings from Claire's, so, being penniless, my sisters and I generally stayed put and fidgeted during these breaks.

About halfway through the day, a longer break than usual was introduced. A couple people in the family sitting in front of us got up to do whatever people do when they aren't sitting on a cold metal bench. Seizing the opportunity to stretch out for a bit, I put my feet up on the now empty bench in front of me, not really giving it another thought.

Until the family come back.

The little girl and her father hadn't even walked all the way up to their bench yet when all of a sudden the woman sitting next to where my shoes were resting turned and poured her entire big-gulp-sized cup of ice cold Coke on my feet.

What. The. [Beeeeeep].

I was mortified. I jerked my feet away and tried to avoid my sisters' very confused, staring eyes, as they watched me to find out how exactly they should be reacting. But how was I supposed to know how to react?! I wasn't the grown-up in this situation. I was a child! An apparently rather sheltered child who had never encountered a grown-up who would pour cold soda on someone's feet for no reason. 

Her (I am assuming) husband gave her a strange look and and asked her why she just did that. She just shrugged and said, "Her feet were in [insert the name of their daughter]'s seat."

WHAT THE CRAP, WOMAN. Who does that?!

The father and daughter apparently agreed that this was an acceptable reaction to the situation, because, with not a word to me, they proceeded to take their [now Coke-covered] seats and resumed whatever it was they were doing before all this happened. I sat, face flaming, staring straight ahead, and somehow made it through the rest of the competition in one piece. With ice cold Coke soaked feet. In October.

I am thirty years old now, but the eighteen years that have passed have yet to fully erase the feelings I felt that day. Even now, as I type out what happened, so many feelings are bubbling up. Mortification. Anger. Confusion. Sorrow

Although, having grown up a bit and realized just how crazy that lady was, anger seems to be the presiding feeling today.

Are y'all asking yourselves why I would revisit this moment from my long-gone past? Well I have been thinking about it a lot lately because it was the first time I encountered what I considered to be a mean person (like I said. Sheltered child). Unfortunately for me, it was not the last time, but you know what? We can't avoid it. We can't avoid them. Sometimes people just suck and they pour Coke on kids' feet and they don't care. 

So today, I am sharing this story with you all to put it to bed. I am accepting the fact that I am going to encounter many of Coke lady's friends throughout my life and there 'aint nothin' I can do about it. Except move on. So this is me moving on.

But just so we are clear- heaven help anyone who tries to pour Coke on my or, just you dare, my child's feet. My new zen acceptance of sucky people can only stretch so far.

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