7/29/13

Mature Swimmers Only . . .

We went to Kansas City on Saturday to celebrate the kid's birthday. She has been very excited, for months, to check out CoCo Key in Kansas City and we decided it was high time to oblige her.

She loved it. Truly. I, on the other hand, saw nothing but murky water, Band-Aids in filter traps, standing water along the walkways, and about 200 more people than should have been in a confined space. There was also way too much noise, way too little control/order, and way, way too many bodies in bathing suits that fit improperly. I just wanted to leave from the minute we entered the chlorinated air. Alas, I was there on official parental business so I smiled, pretend it was amazing, and had a fine, fine time with her in the process.

About 90 minutes after we arrived, my still sorta' wife offered me a fantastic reprieve (following a short night, a long run, and a three hour drive my legs were almost too angry to climb the rope nets and other fun parts of the CoCo Key experience) and suggested I go soak in the hot tub that was marked "Must be 18 to Enter."

A fantastic idea (that I credit her with). I looked over and saw just a handful of adults - all seeming to be similarly overwhelmed - I made my way over, eased down the steps and selected a spot on the bench in between two moms pounding frozen cocktails and cross-chatting. It was fine, fine, fine. For about 30 seconds.

Then about 10 kids (4 - 9 in age, I would presume) just bum rushed the hot tub. They literally cannonballed in. They took away the only peace and calm I had. I did what any self-respecting adult would do . . . mumbled under my breath and looked around in disbelief. Then I noticed something . . . these kids seemed to "belong" to some of the parents in the hot tub. WHAT? There is ONE rule for the CoCo Key hot tub that doesn't apply to the rest of the place . . . 18 or older for the hot tub. And every parent that walked in saw that.

So WHY were these parents letting their kids disrespect the oasis? WHY were these kids in the hot tub? Do they let their kids drive cars? Do they buy and use tobacco products? Do they purchase and consume alcohol? Do they go see "R rated" movies? Do they surf the Interwebs looking at allllll the porn? What about voting? Do they do that? Is they allowed to work? Have they quit school? No. No. NO.

Why? Because those are all rules, too. They are all limits and restraints that seem arbitrary in their nature? What magically happens on your 18th or 21st birthday that makes you more ready to handle controlled substances? What is it about your 18th birthday that readies you to influence elections? Why can 16 year olds drive? Let's be clear . . . those rules are all equally absurd in how they are set up and why the numbers are chosen but we respect them. For the most part (yes, yes - some kids do drink and smoke, with permission, before they are of age and I would be a hypocrite if I pretended I was "of age" before I did any of the above things). I don't know how I'll handle these things as a parent but I know I won't let my kid get in the hot tub marked "must be 18" until she is. And I know I won't allow similar transgressions . . . and I'm a person that typically disrespects authority like signs on hot tub gates for fun.

So what was it about the hot tub rule that made it not worth a parent standing in and helping to enforce it? Why did myself and six other adults have to get up and leave after tiring of the splashing, yelling, screaming, and dunking? These poor mothers are just trying to have a frozen cocktail and complain about how large their bosoms look in their bathing suits, after all. And I was just trying to listen. And they couldn't. I couldn't. We had to go back to the chaos and confusion of the water park - or rather it came to them and that was too much.