Pardon me. I'm still trying to gather my wits after the trauma of last night. No. I don't mean the tornado that rolled through Hillmomba in the wee hours of the morning. It left the Mansion unscathed. My psyche, though, has taken a direct hit.
Last night, I spent four hours at a (cue the STAB! STAB! STAB! Psycho music) middle school academic meet. It was horrific. It reminded me why I am not a philanthrope, encouraging the best from mankind, but am instead a misanthrope, an avoider of human society.
My mother and I arrived early to stake out a good spot. We settled in shortly before the arrival of the first opponent. We had passed a table of cookie platters and chips and punch, aka crack for the middle school set, ready in the hallway for the first half time. Three matches were scheduled. It would be a long evening for these bottomless little pits. Mom had brought her semi-famous Chex Mix for the coaches and reader and scorekeeper. She gave some to The Pony to bolster his strength for the marathon competition. He sat down with us to munch. I chatted with the coach, a former colleague when I worked the halls of Lower Basementia.
Then FO (first opponent) was upon us. They appeared like a swarm of locusts that had enjoyed an intravenous Mountain Dew drip on the lengthy bus ride. They poured into the small library like the Mighty Mississippi poured into Ste. Genevieve during the big flood of '92. Some sat. Some made a mad dash to the bookshelves and grabbed tomes willy-nilly, flinging caution to the Dewey Decimal System. Some went up to the scorer's table, sat behind it by the control center and questions, and began flipping numbers on the scoreboard. I had never seen such a presumptuous bunch of hooligans wear out their welcome at such a frantic pace. I nearly had palpitations. "Look at them! Look! I can't believe they're doing that! They have no concept of manners!"
Adults began to arrive. Farmer H called at and said he would be there as soon as possible. We had a table for four. The Pony was still munching in one seat. I put my glasses case and my phone in front of the chair right beside me, to save it for Farmer H. And not a moment too soon. A large woman stood just outside the library entrance, in the snack area. She did not come in, but looked piercingly in my direction every few minutes.
The Pony went to his starting position as head of his team. The first game began. The LW made a dash to Farmer H's seat to rival that of the neighbor in the Dunkin Donuts coffee commercial. She started to plop down. "Is this seat taken?"
"Yes. It's for my husband. I don't know when he'll be here. You can have it until then, but I'll need it back."
"Oh." She went back behind us, to the approximately twelve open seats that nobody was saving. Why she wanted Farmer H's, I'll never know.
The room began to fill up with parents and random adults. I felt like Elaine at the movies, but without the tasty Jujyfruits. "Saved. Saved! It's SAVED!" An old man approached. He politely inquired about The Pony's empty seat, which had nothing in front of it, The Pony himself being an ancient memory to that chair, having left it some 20 minutes earlier.
"Excuse me. Is anybody using this seat? I can tell that one is taken."
Bless his pea-pickin' old heart. He should write a primer for society. "No. You're welcome to it." He pulled it over to a nearby table. The next team swept in and all but barricaded the back of the room from the library proper. They were whisper-chatty, but at least left the books where they were shelved.
And then it was half-time. Which I, silly me, assumed was time for the participants to grab some sustenance from the laden table. But you know what happens when we assume. Those gosh-darn adults got up and loaded plates of cookies and chips and brought them in the library to eat. I was shocked. It was kid food! For the players. Not for some community buffet. How rude! My flabbergastedness knew no bounds. My mom's eyes were wide with disbelief. The impropriety! Like the Native American in the public service commercial for littering, I, too, wanted to cry a single Indian tear for the loss of decorum shown by the human race.
As if that disturbing display of gluttonic greed was not enough, in the middle of the next game, a rather rotund man, whom I suspect of emitting those nasty onion belches that wafted over my olfactory receptors, got up and filled another plate with Doritos. Nacho cheese. The sound was likely heard at the four corners of Hillmomba. It's a wonder the players could hear the reader.
There is no excuse for this behavior from adults. And I saw a new crop ready to take their place in a couple of decades.