This morning I decided I would go for a walk on the beach. It was cool enough for me to not melt, and my midwives like it when I'm active (good for the baby, placenta size, and preventing anemia - or so they tell me).
So I drove over to the Alameda shore. I parked. I crossed the street without incident. I happily enjoyed the fact that few people were on the sand just yet. The beach itself was short this morning as the tide was in, but while I noted it, it caused me little concern. The water was smooth - perfect for the rowers who were already over halfway through their morning practice at least 100 yards out.
As I walked along the water edge of the public shoreline, I came upon a group of people. There were probably at least 40. They were setting up blankets and towels that covered the entire width of the sand (up to the wooden fencing that protects the plants between the shore and the sidewalk). I noticed they had some tiki torches stuck in the ground and quickly looked around the crowd. Was it a wedding? Some kind of service? No one was dressed up. There were no photographers that I could see. Maybe it was some kind of camp thing - there did seem to be some kids.
Without much concern, I continued walking. When I reached my limit, I stopped, looked out at the water and saved the sight. The haze was just right - just enough to obscure the wretchedness of over-habitation on the peninsula across the bay. It reminded me of a morning I experienced at Lake Ohrid in Macedonia. Satisfied with the sight, I turned and walked back, rewinding the people I had passed and subtle landmarks that shorelines have...all the way until I reached that crowd.
I saw there were people trying to dance in the water. They weren't synchronized. They were making many mistakes. They were talking as they danced. There were several of these groups. It must be a camp. The people on the shore were half watching half talking. I was about 10 feet away from one of the tiki torches before a man came up to me.
"We're having a spiritual ceremony."
"We're asking people to walk around." I glanced at the crowd and looked back at this man in confused irritation. The attendees were all the way up to the fence.
"Along the perimeter."
I wanted to shout at him, "Are you effing kidding me?! There's no place to walk?! You tell me this here, when I'm right at the edge, instead of having a sign or something?! You let your congregation take up the entire width of the public beach and you're asking us to walk around the perimeter?! In the sharp dune grass?!" I didn't think I needed to say, "Oh and by the way, I'm pregnant."
This is what I would have said if I was feeling more saucy, but I was tired by my walk and so I grumbled grouchily up the inclined sand to the very edge and tried to pick my way along the fence, which soon became impossible because of the blankets and towels people had laid along the fence.
Eventually a dude bro saw me and called, "Oh, you don't have to walk just there. It's nice of you, but just come here." He pointed to an open bit of sand that struck right through the crowd. Needless to say, I never would have done that at a church service, so why would I do that to whatever spiritual gathering this other group was having?
I was so upset I started crying on the beach as I cleared the crowd. If they wanted people to walk around them, there should have been some kind of signage. There should have been a clear space around the group. The congregation themselves shouldn't have packed their towels and blankets ALL the way up against the fence.
The moral of this story? People are inconsiderate. Or maybe thoughtless. Or both.
This was just the latest example in a series of inconsiderate incidences. Any time someone disobeys traffic laws, thinking rules don't apply to them, causing other people to take evasive action (or even when that doesn't happen!), it is at the very least inconsiderate. Any time someone forgets to flush the toilet, or put something back where they found it, it is inconsiderate. Any time someone messes up or destroys something just for the sake of it, it is inconsiderate.
This lack of consideration, of thoughtfulness, disturbs me. I called it an annoyance, and specifically a pregnant one, but it is neither of those things. It is all the time disrespectful, discourteous, and uncivil.
And perhaps I'm being old-fashioned when I say these words. Perhaps I'm being hormonal. But the fact of the matter is, I do not trust our society or many parents to teach these behaviors to children. And let's be clear - the next person who behaves in such an inconsiderate way, is going to be schooled. Severely.
You've been warned. :-)
Have a nice day!