“You know you have to be 18 to be in here.” Mean Munching on Nuts Woman glares at the two abashed teenage girls in the Hot Tub. PP had greeted them 3 minutes earlier as they had stepped gingerly into the bubbling warmth. “You guys been swimming?”
“Yeah,” the Bigger Older One had grinned, her smaller friend staring at PP in wide-eyed wonder. Did they already suspect they were gonna get “In Trouble” for being here?
PP hadn’t even thought about what their ages were as they sunk tentatively into the welcoming warmth. She just wanted to congratulate them on their Pool Time. It hadn’t even remotely occurred to her that the two girls weren’t 18 and therefore were breaking the “Rules.”
But Hell. PP is all about breaking the Rules. At least when it comes to the pool or hot tub.
Yet Mean Munching Nuts Woman was having none of it, glaring at the two culprits as she limped past them, not even entering the hot tub herself, but heading over to the steam room instead, calling over to them in no nonsense crankiness. “I will call UPSTAIRS!” she announced, her voice crackling with Mean Authority.
The Bigger Older Girl sat up taller in the tub, eyeing PP (conspiratorially?) before speaking, “I’m 17 and she’s 16….” Her voice trailing off in defeat, but PP still admired her trying. After all who the hell were they hurting? Not PP. And she was the only one in the tub at the moment. Maybe she should say something?
Yet MMNW was so god damn mean. PP was half afraid of her too. Though today she wasn’t breaking any rules that she knew of. And the signage did say clearly ‘No One Under 18 allowed in the Hot Tub or Sauna.” What could PP do? Leaping to their defense would probably only make MMNW madder, and maybe even turn her ire upon PP. Which she did not need. Not today.
MMNW shook her head, her gray black hair hanging in stringy limpness as she started back towards the phone, presumably to call upstairs, yelling out as she waddled back past them, “IT don’t matter how old you are! You are NOT allowed in here at anytime. I’m going to call upstairs,” she repeated.
Older Bigger Girl sighed heavily, eyed her friend, then shrugged. “We’ll just go…,” she murmured, glancing over at PP who continued to watch in shocked silence.
Hell, PP was all for keeping little screaming kids out of the Hot Tub. This made sense. But these girls? What was the big deal? They were chilly after their swim and wanted to warm up for a few minutes. Why did MMNW care?
PP could only surmise the she was a Miserable Person. She limped. She ate yucky dried out nuts. Her hair was wrong and stringy. Her body sagged in middle-aged angst.
So she was gonna take out her Misery on these two innocent teenage girls?
Well, maybe they weren’t so innocent, as PP watched them sheepishly leave the Hot Tub, but yet….were they really deserving of the Dreaded Call Upstairs?
Why couldn’t everyone just be Happy and get along?
Like Wanda. She was so hilariously insanely Happy. The day before announcing to PP, relaxing in the hot tub post swim, how her ‘Pain…oh, the Pain…it all just go away now…’ and PP had thought she was talking about her Rotary Cuff Surgery Pain, and maybe she was, but then she went on to say how her daughter, finally, had graduated last night from high school and PP had said, congrats and yes, that’s quite a Rite of Passage and Wanda had nodded, agreeing, and then said, “Yes, but it’s whole Lot of Work too.” And PP had murmured some appropriate agreement, only able to guess (thank goodness!) how much work it must be to raise a teenage daughter by yourself with the loser absentee father and the full time shitty office job.
But in spite of the hardship, or perhaps because of it, Wanda was so excited. She told everyone who came into the Hot Tub and then later the Locker Room how her daughter had graduated from High School and when someone had made the comment that Wanda likes to Talk and will talk to anyone and everyone and why not just give it a rest sometimes, Wanda had turned to her and said, “Hey, I’m a Happy Person. I’m Happy. I’m a Gemini. I like to Talk. You gotta a Problem with that then it’s your problem,” her Pride echoing through the rows of women changing as one woman hollered back, “You have every right! Be Happy!”
And she was. And she is. And why can’t everyone? What was Miserable Nut Woman’s problem anyway?
Maybe her daughter flunked high school and her absentee husband wouldn’t stay absent but came by every night unannounced drunk and full of the dickens wanting to get back together with her, but she refused to listen to him cuz she was a miserable sexless Mean Woman who didn’t have a grain of Love or Life left in her heart?
Okay, maybe this is laying it on a bit thick, and yeah, PP has certainly had her share of feeling miserable and cranky.
But just out and out Meanness for no reason?
Take it from Wanda, the Happy Gemini, even if you’ve got Pain, even if it’s a Lot of hard work to raise a daughter as a single working mother, even if your hair won’t blow dry just right, there’s still so much to be Happy about, right?
Right. At least if you’re Wanda . Obviously, Mean Nut Woman was a whole other story. One that PP can write about, but also one that she’s glad she’s NOT living!