Rules Don’t Apply to Me

Swimming lessons were on the agenda today for my youngest, you might recall he has no food allergies. As you can imagine, I let my guard down a bit when I’m out with my little guy. I don’t have to be in my camouflage, with night vision goggles and use my food allergy telescopic lens analyzing every situation I encounter.

Prior to delving into my story, I must tell you how a sign reads on the entrance door to the pool deck. In case you don’t know, the deck refers to the area surrounding the pool. The sign says: Per Minnesota state law, no food or glass on deck.

Peanut Butter SandwichThere is one other boy in my son’s class, and for the last two sessions his mother has sat next to me with her younger son, he’s probably 2 years old. Last week he was eating what looked like Kix cereal, and of course, spilled them all over the deck floor.

This week, he was eating a peanut butter sandwich. As you can imagine, my irritation grew beyond belief. Then…“it” happened. The boy walked over to a 5’ x 8’, square foam island and began to smear his peanut butter sandwich all over it. My jaw dropped, not because a 2-year-old was doing it, but because the mother did nothing.

I finally said, “I’m not sure if you are aware, but there is a sign on the deck door that states no food or glass on deck, per Minnesota state law.” Her response to me was, “Yeah, well my son just got done with a 30-minute swim class so he is really hungry.” I replied with, “While I’m sure he is, it would probably be best if he ate in the lobby where food is permitted. Also, my son is allergic to peanut.”

Truly, I didn’t fib, my son is allergic to peanut; he just wasn’t the son that was in the swimming pool. After our exchange, the Mom and son proceeded to the lobby and spent the rest of the time there. She never cleaned up the sandwich left on the deck or the peanut butter smear. That wasn’t her responsibility, I guess.

Once we were ready to leave, I stopped by the front desk. When I shared what happened with the gal, she was horrified: wanted to know what foam island had the peanut butter on it, if I was aware of any remnants of sandwich on deck, etc. She asked me what type of cleaner to use to remove the peanut butter, she left momentarily and came back with Lysol wipes, paper towels and a spray bottle of multipurpose 409. She thanked me profusely and apologized for the experience. I couldn’t have been more pleased.young woman jogging with her dog in a park

Back to the Mom and me. Our exchange was respectful, let’s face it, it was uncomfortable for both of us. While I sat there distracted from the experience, I couldn’t get over the basic message of her response: yeah…well my son is hungry.

Don’t rules matter: no eating on the pool deck, no texting while driving, no-show for a doctor appointment, not having your dog on a leash or picking up its waste? Have we as a society decided that rules don’t apply to us as long as we have deemed our reason or excuse to be a good one?

Let’s keep the conversation going, please leave a comment.