Busy Bodies

Saturday started with the car loaded once again with all the essentials for a successful tailgater and this time BT remembered the tickets. There was no way I was going to forget them again, but that didn't stop my son from asking not once, but twice from the backseat on the drive down, "Dad, do you have the tickets?"

We arrived at the tailgating spot an hour late, due to getting a late start and wall to wall traffic from Wilsonville to Albany. BUT, we made it to our spot a full three hours prior to game time and still had plenty of time to get the briquettes heated up to sufficiently cook up five steaks (and one baked potato for my VERY finicky kid). We spent the next couple of hours until it was time to head to Reser trading jokes and cracking cold ones, eating, drinking and basically being merry, while my friend YEWofOstinks attempted to show my son the nuances involved in throwing the perfect knuckleball.

As game time approached, a very grave error in judgment was made on our parts when we anticipated the weather to cool off like it had during the UNLV game and dressed a little warmer than the elements required. As we got to the stadium and found our seats 20 minutes before kickoff, it became VERY APPARENT that we should have remained attired in the shorts and tank tops and not donned the long pants and the like. The temperature was probably only a little above 80 degrees, but for some reason did feel considerably warmer than that.

Almost immediately the complaining began. "It's too hot!" I'm hearing from my son about every 45 seconds or so. We tell him to take his shirt off, which he does, but it doesn't seem to help. "Dad, I'm HOT!" or "I'm too HOT!" is now ringing in my ears like a soundtrack to the game. We take his shirt and hold it up in front of him to block the sun and even that doesn't seem to quiet my kid any. Finally, I begin to tell him that he's just going to have to deal with it, that we are all warm and that it will cool down. We take the water bottle he's holding and pour a little over his head and each time he repeats his chant of being too hot, I continue to tell him that there's absolutely nothing I can do about the weather.

It is at that point that the younger woman sitting next to her husband directly in front of my son turns around and asks my son, "How old are you?" Twelve is his reply. "It's pretty hot when you're twelve, isn't it?" She says in her most sympathetic voice and then turns a glaring face up at me and says, "SHAME ON YOU!"

Of course, now I'm livid. Who the hell is this woman to be judging me and judging my parenting skills? Was she there during the summer, on those 95 degree days when my son was happily running the base paths? Was she there on the days when the thermometer hovered barely blow the century mark and my son was begging me to come out and play basketball with him and his buddies? Was she aware that my son's complaints had much more to do with him being slightly bored than the heat? The answer is no.

So I looked at the stunned look on my wife's face and then back down at her. I asked if she had any children. "I HAVE TWO!" she says as if that is somehow supposed to impress me. I then explain to her that when her children begin to do something that she's seen a thousand times and she reacts to it, I will be sure to judge her even though I've only seen it once. She looks at me and says, "FINE!" and turns back around, looking like a smug little schoolgirl.

Of course, ten minutes later I am still irritated that this woman would be presumptuous enough to think that she not only knows my kid better than I do, but knows what's best for him and I don't. So occasionally I find myself looking down at her to see if she's going to open her yap again and her husband see me and turns around and mouths to me that "It's Okay, it's okay." While he's shaking his head with a ‘please let it go' look.. So I can only assume that he had the cooler, more logical head in that relationship and had told her to keep her mouth shut at some point.

Later, after my son has had his fill of junk food and is once again happy, he actually starts paying attention to the game. Not just paying attention but making a real effort to get into the game and making some noise. The trouble with that is the way he chose to support the team. He has this ‘talent', for lack of a more fitting word. He takes a blade of grass, or something about the same size and shape, places it between his thumbs and blows through it. This produces the loudest, shrillest, most irritating high-pitched whistle I've ever heard. As it is bugging me, I ask him to stop once or twice. As I do that, my wife reaches over and puts her hand on my shoulder to get my attention. She then glances down, making sure that I see the irritated look on the busybody's face every time Conner makes that noise, and proudly tells him, "That's okay Conner, you're at a football game. You make all the noise you want!" …And he does. And no matter how much the noise is bothering her, there is absolutely nothing she can say about it. I mean, since she chastised me for quieting him down, she certainly can't very well chastise me again for NOT quieting him down now, and a thought hits me...

Not always, not even very often actually, but once in a great while there truly is justice in this world. And now I can go back to enjoying the game.

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