In rereading the story below, I forgot to mention a sight my husband and I saw one day at Legoland. Outside one of the many stores at the amusement park, was an unmanned cart laden with toys and tee-shirts and other sundry souvenirs. There was a young boy playing with one of the spongy axes, bopping his brother on the head. The two good-looking parents in their 30’s were playing with the kids. They looked to be middle-class suburbanites with nice clothes, neatly coiffed hair, and the children in the best outfits Target has to offer. Good shoes. The stroller with yet a third kid in it, a little girl, was a fairly new and sturdy one, definitely clean.
My husband and I were sitting mere feet away at some tables, all five of us eating pizza and sipping soda. D and I were commenting on how if that were our cart and our business, we certainly wouldn’t leave it unattended. Just as we were saying this, expressing our distrust of humanity as a whole, the father of the axe-wielding child took one other axe off the cart and gave it to the other kid and the whole lot of them walked away without ever paying for the toys.
D and I looked at each other, disbelieving this “nice” family just did that.
“Wow,” I said.
“Some role model,” D said.
We kept thinking they were going to come back, that they’d made a mistake…and maybe they did. Maybe they were going to pay for it somewhere else…at another stand…except the cart was outside a store. All they had to do was walk inside and pay. They didn’t.
D did take a stroll and tell the young manager that a family just ripped them off and that maybe they shouldn’t just leave the cart out there. How interesting that we didn’t trust our local citizens and sure to form, a suburban family comes along and steals from this very nice park.
Another addendum to the thieving post below: at the same birthday party, the ladies also mentioned lying about one of their children’s ages to get the kid into Disneyland for free.
I’m left wondering if, like Fromage suggests in the comments below, this has become part of our culture – we are a culture of criminals. We are a society that believes in the precepts, “to each his own,” “do what we have to do," and "dog eat dog." We are taught this in our early years on the playground when kids grab toys out of each other’s hands, when they take food off each other’s plates. Our media continually glorifies the “murder” case by recycling over and over again, murder stories for entertainment. I could go on indefinitely on our media. And then there is the government and all the corruption that keeps leaking into the mainstream...with laws being written and re-written to make legal such conduct.
I know that the family who took the toys felt the store deserved it for leaving the cart unattended. I know the women at the party felt Disneyland charges too much anyway for three-year-old guests who can’t even fully participate in all the entertainment the park has to offer. I know they also felt the stores somehow owed them for all they spent. The same sense of entitlement probably extends to cheating on taxes, stealing gas at the gas pump, and eating produce right out of the bins in the local supermarkets. It's a sad, true state of being.
The last comparison by the way is not the same thing as dipping your hands deep into the rice bin or deep into the bean bin just to feel the weirdness against your skin. How fun was that?
A couple of weeks ago I visited a friend of mine, a woman about my age, prematurely grey like me, cute face, rather round by current standards. In fact, her weight has long been a point of great pain for her, especially when it comes to her husband. Their sexual life has dwindled to nothing and it has been this way for years. He actually makes comments when she steps into their jacuzzi - he makes faces at her with regard to her clothing. She’s beautiful, upbeat, and funny as all get out. When we get together, I laugh my ass off at the things she says. Well…she admitted to me that she and her husband have separated. She has a new love in her life. She’s ecstatic…tales of all night love-making, exciting dates, driving up the coast…all basically without the knowledge of her husband. One could probably say this is an affair.
She then proceeded to tell me how many women she’s spoken to who are in similar situations with their spouses. Men who no longer show interest, who are perfectly happy to lead celibate (apparently) lives, who do nothing to feed the marriage. She’s a manicurist so her job allows this type of intimate conversation. She says, “Do you know the percentage of my clientele who are unhappy, married women in their 40's?”
“Must be 70% of my clients. Those are just…my clients. Imagine what it must be on a grander scale?”
Oh I imagine.
“Imagine,” she said, “how many women are off…on extramarital adventures.”
Oh for the love of all that’s holy, tell me. In great detail.
“Really?” I say, “I can’t imagine.”
“It’s a disease in our country. Check out the chat rooms on AOL.”
So I do. I slap my picture up on my profile, I announce that I’m a teacher (careful to say “part-time” lest I mislead anyone, God forbid I mislead in chat rooms), I state unequivocally that I’m married with many children. Within an instant of stepping into a chat room for people in their 40’s, I get three instant messages from various men. They each tell me I’m beautiful. I get up from my little chair and dance around in joy. I’m a woman again! I’m not just a piece of furniture in my house! I’m not just a taxi driver! I actually have sexual appeal!
“I am????” I’m beside myself with illicit joy.
“Yes, very much so. I love your nose.”
“What are your fantasies?”
“FETISHES FANTASIES. What do you like?”
Oh shit. I no longer dance at the lift of my confidence.
I type, “I like the mountains. You know…cabins…romance in front of a wood fire.” And yes, I use ellipses when I write. My fantasy is a big snore, but hell if I’m actually going to “go there.” I do wonder why I typed “wood” when discussing an obviously sexual question. Must be Freudian. I take a deep breath, deciding to venture “there” for just a moment, for a single…moment.
I type, “What are yours?”
“I love the Wizard of Oz.”
“Yes. I get hot thinking I’m the Cowardly Lion and I’m doing Dorothy in her red slippers and red panties.”
It is at this point I come to the conclusion that my friend is wrong. Women are not the only people in severe sexual crisis. I say my goodbyes and return to watch “24” next to my sleeping, snoring husband. I show him my boobs…and he continues to sleep. So while I may be part of the deprived 70%, I am thankful he has no wish to be any sort of Lion…or Scarecrow…or ouch, ouch, ouch, the Tin Man.
On the other hand, Dorothy does have…an awfully cute nose.