Yep. In short, I am a pina colada-drinking, ERA-calculating, rule-following fool. In fact, I can recite, on demand, the 1986 Mets roster, define a “balk,” and wax poetic about the heart-stopping 3-2 pitch. In my Maisy’s words, among my many other ‘nerdnesses’, I am also a baseball nerd.
So, when a single weekend lands me one day surf side and the other first base side I am in heaven. Both days were perfect…except they weren’t. And in both cases, the flaws were directly caused by, aggravated by, or complicated by one Hadley Grace Meyer.
Scene 1: The Phillies Game
Sam sang the national anthem with his school chorus. I cried. We lunched on hot dogs and beer. Dessert of ice cream, cotton candy AND frozen lemonade? You bet.
Since this was Hadley’s first baseball game, I had to teach her a couple of things. From the nosebleed seats we were in, I could only describe the Phils as the “guys in white” as opposed to the Brewers in their dark blue. I would point out when we were at bat or when our guys made a great catch…all by referencing the uniform color. It seemed fine until the 6th inning when Haddie excitedly and loudly proclaimed “Mom look! Can you believe it?? A WHITE GUY JUST HIT THE BALL!”
Scene 2: Fenwick Island, DE
First, in the interest of full disclosure, I have been told that I have a “hard time letting things go.” Perhaps that is kind. Chris has likened me to a barnacle on a moldy pier. I am fairly confident he does not mean this as a compliment.
After a long early morning drive, we arrived at one of our favorite beach resorts. It was a beautiful sunny day–good times were virtually guaranteed. Fully clad in bikini and gobs of sunscreen, Hadley is immediately drawn to a lovely looking hot tub. In front, there is a large white sign which I read carefully line by line while she bounced impatiently at my feet.
In addition to the usual temperature, time and pregnancy limitations there is the following:
“Children under 16 may only use the hot tub with written permission from a physician.”
I filed that little nugget away and slid happily into the scalding water, my little girl right behind me.
Long before my muscles had a chance to go blissfully limp, a sincere young man approached the hot tub. For some reason I am reminded of Bambi as he says timidly “Ummm, Ma’am? Uhhhh children under 16 are not allowed in the hot tub.”
I am so ready, the words are barely out of his poor mouth when I pounce.
“Unless they have a note from a doctor. Right?” He is stunned and takes a step back. I have already hoisted Hadley out of the water.
“Ummmm like…uhhh…I don’t think so.” He mutters unconvincingly.
Softly but sternly, I ask him to read the sign he is standing in front of. I remind him that this is the very sign he has referenced in our rapidly heating discussion.
The young man turns to the sign. He looks like he has just stumbled upon Moses’ tablets.
I gently point out to him that as a doctor, I would be happy to write a note for my daughter giving her permission to use the hot tub. I politely ask him for a pen and paper.
He looks like he might faint but scurries off. I take that opportunity to order a pina colada from the pool bar.
As the young man returns, I see that he has a clipboard, pen and pool manager with him.
He has called in reinforcements.
I take a large sip of my drink and set it down on the pool deck. Hadley is squirming. She is bored and hot.
The superior speaks to me: “Ma’am, I understand you want to write your daughter a note to use the hot tub.”
I don’t look up from my scribbling. “Yes, yes I do.”
“So,” she begins. “What is the medical reason that your daughter needs to use the hot tub?”
She is trying to say that children must have a REASON from a doctor to use the hot tub–not PERMISSION. I explain that the sign does not say that. Once again, at my insistence, the enforcer of the rule is reading the rule for the first time.
We proceed to have a veritable chess match of words. At one point she attempts to site a medical study concluding that hot tubs were unsafe for kids. I remind her that no such evidence exists…a fact I know because I actually am a doctor. Clearly my argument is better and presented flawlessly. My few sips of pina colada have removed just enough inhibition without sacrificing any of my coherence. I proceed to eviscerate the supervisor lady’a argument. She is shifting from foot to foot.
I have backed her into the corner. My sword is at her neck as I finish with my matronly advice: “All I am saying is that if you are going to try to enforce a rule, you really should understand what the rule is. You may want to start with actually reading the very sign you have placed here in front of this lovely hot tub.” Just as my words are piercing her ears and my victory dance is forming in my mind, I notice the young life guard who has been present but silent the whole time. His voice cracks as he speaks..but not to me. He is addressing Hadley.
“Sweetie, I don’t think…ummmm…that is not a good idea..ummm you see that is a…well.. that’s a grown up drink.”
I am yanked from the cloud of my rightness to see Hadley, red faced and sweaty, with my pina colada cupped in both little hands.
She makes no attempt to hide the noisy repetitive slurping nor the giant grin that follows.
Suddenly, I feel the urge to drown myself in the hot tub; the very hot tub that only hours before seemed harmless enough even for a child…a fact I know because I actually am a doctor.