I am a rule follower. If there is a rule regarding something, I’m going to follow it. It’s just the way I am.
I mean, there are some arbitrary rules that are meant to be broken. No white shoes after Labor Day and no black ones after Memorial Day? (Or is it Easter? It must be Easter; I always wore white shoes to the Easter service.) To be honest, I still follow that rule, though I don’t judge when others break it. It’s rather old-fashioned, I admit.
I think I would make an amazing Brit. I’d fit right in with my need to queue. I absolutely hate going to civilian grocery stores where there are as many lines as there are cashiers because then everyone’s switching lines and jockeying for position and trying to be the first one out. I much prefer the commissary, where there is just the one line and an employee who directs each customer to the next available cashier. It gets us all out a lot quicker than jockeying between lines in a regular grocery.
I do admit when I see people flaunting the rules, it goes up my ass sideways (that absolutely has to be my favorite Rhode Island-ism). What is so hard about following the rules?? There are usually good reasons for them.
My annoyance at non-compliance with rules gets tested every day that I live here in Rhode Island. For one thing, most traffic laws are simply suggestions to most residents. I can’t tell you the number of people who run stopsigns and stop lights, and who try to turn left without a green arrow in front of oncoming traffic before it begins to move, or the people who pull out of a driveway into a busy road and stop traffic so they can make their turn. I’m amazed there aren’t more terrible accidents in this state, though I did see the aftermath of a car versus motorcycle accident yesterday. The bike lost, unfortunately, and the person on it had to be rushed to hospital.
Today I had to deal with rule-flaunting once more. On Monday, a woman showed up at the base pool with her five (!!!) kids. (Five?! How do you raise five kids on a military salary?!?! Geez…) I’m guessing that she wasn’t aware that open swim’s hours had changed, and now doesn’t start till 5:30pm. Understandable, so I gave her a free pass for showing up with her kids in swim attire. However, she tried her best to wangle around the rules with the attitude of “well, I’m already here and my kids want to swim, can’t we just get in?” Ultimately her two eldest (both girls) swam since they’re old enough to swim laps, and I’m not sure what the younger boys did. I think they eventually “swam laps” as well.
So today I’m sitting on the bench, reading and riding herd on ME at the same time. What can I say? I’m multi-talented. All of a sudden, I see the woman arrive with her five kids. The two girls are ready to go with their Speedo swimsuits and swim caps, and they grab kickboards and jump in the water. The three younger boys came out on deck in street clothes, and their mom told them to sit down and wait while she “investigated the situation.” In other words, she wanted to see if she could sneak the boys into the pool without the pool folks noticing. I guess she liked what she saw because then she sent the boys into the locker room to get their suits on.
A few minutes later, the boys and their mom are sitting on the bench on the side, watching their sisters swim. A lifeguard approaches them and discusses the situation, and I could tell by his attitude and the shaking of his head that he was telling the boys that it wasn’t time for open swim, so they couldn’t get in the pool. Then the lifeguard trots down to talk to the director of the pool, who happens to be teaching Grace’s class, and the mother follows him down, I guess to plead her case.
She interrupts my kid’s swim lessons to try to get permission for her kids to swim!
The swim director wasn’t having it, so she denied the kids getting in the pool too. Look, I don’t know why open swim was changed from 4-6pm to a later time slot. Maybe there aren’t enough lifeguards to watch all the kids in lessons, plus all the adults swimming laps (it’s primarily a lap pool, not a recreational pool), plus open swim kids. Maybe the pool people were told that open swim had to occur after the lessons were over so the lifeguards could monitor the pool as closely as it should be. I know our pool director pretty well, and I know she doesn’t do things on a whim. There’s always a reason, and usually a very good one.
But it just galled me that this woman tried to get around those rules today. And she seemed pretty upset about it too. I know she felt that the rules of not allowing her kids to swim outside the time slot for open swim are ridiculous. At that point I wanted to tell her to take her kids to the Marriott downtown, where she can have her kids swim their hearts out any time of the day — for $15 each. Or maybe she could pay for a Y membership ($65 per family per month, at least for military folks) and have more options for swimming. Or maybe she could do the most sensible thing of all, which is to drop the girls off to swim laps and go take the boys to a playground to run off their energy.
Why can’t people just follow the rules?? We’re all military, we’re used to rules. Just do it, darnit.