I have season tickets to football games, which means I sit in the same place for each game and so do all the people around me. I’ve had these seats for the past few years and have come to adjust to the people around me based on their bad habits.
For example, the man next to me places his drink under his seat but always manages to knock it over. In turn, I’ve learned to put my little backpack outside of the splash zone. The people in front of me get tipsy from time to time and spill part of their beverage when they raise their arms in celebration. I’ve learned to lean away.
There is also a family behind me that has two teenage daughters – one whose scream makes my inner ear hurt. On top of that, the father tends to clap his hands close to my head. For both of those reasons, I wear earplugs. They step on my seat cushion when we all have to stand up. They also step on my jacket if it happens to slip off my chair or they accidentally pull it into their row, instead of letting me know. The father almost always hits me in the head at some point while cheering.
Despite wearing earplugs, I can still hear everything around me. They just block out really piercing noises. As I was sitting in my seat, I could hear one of the daughters mention something about mustard and “oh, no.” She says to her father, “It’s on that seat. I must have stepped on it when I was jumping up and down. And it squirt out.” The father responds by saying, “Don’t worry about it.” This, of course, catches my attention, and that’s when I notice two little drops of mustard on my the back of my friend’s seat cushion–the one she is borrowing from me.
I lean over to her and say to be careful when we leave because there’s a little mustard on her chair. She acknowledges.
The daughter then asks her father, “Does mustard stain?” The father says quietly, “I don’t really know. Just don’t worry about it.” Clearly the daughter is concerned about what she has done. “But what if it stains?” He says, “Don’t worry about it.”
Later in the game, I decide to stand up, suspicious that there is more than just a little mustard on my friend’s cushion. I wonder if there might be some on mine as well. So I stand up and stretch, giving the back of the cushion enough time to fold forward. I turn back around to flip the cushion back up and there it is. About a third of the back of my cushion is smeared with mustard! Not just a few drops. There’s a massive amount of yellow on my cushion.
“Mustard?… Holy crap!” I say with a look of irritation. The unapologetic father says, “I’m not really sure how that happened.” Oh, really? What, do you think I can’t hear? I know your daughter did it and you didn’t want her to worry about it. You, sir, are an a-hole! “Sheesh!” I exclaim with another look of irritation, an audible sigh, and a shake of my head. Not wanting to get into it with him, I just turn back around and have a seat… leaning back a little, hoping to get some mustard on the lower parts of their jeans.
I remember that I have a wet-nap in my backpack and decide to use it to clean off my seat so I don’t have to tote it back to the car like that. Do you know how hard it is to avoid bumping into people coming out of a stadium that seats over 60,000 people? It’s not easy. Also I figure that I’ll give the father a chance to make good. Maybe the father will volunteer to help me clean up the mess. Not surprisingly, he doesn’t. Neither does the daughter. I leave the used wet-nap in their row. If he apologized, I wouldn’t know it because I was so annoyed.
You know, accidents happen. Clearly this was an accident. I can acknowledge that, and I probably wouldn’t have written about this if someone in the family had made an effort to make amends. Sadly, that is not even close to what happened. So here I am.
I just cannot tolerate people who don’t admit to a mistake, even when it is an accident. What kind of example is this father giving his daughters? He basically lied. I’m not really sure how that happened. Yeah. Way to go, Dad. You were caught and you chose to lie about it instead of admitting the truth. Your daughter was ready to make things right but you brushed it off like it was nothing. I sure hope her mind is developed enough not to let you influence her decision-making in the future. How difficult would it have been for you to let me know there was crap all over my stuff? How difficult would it have been for you to get some napkins to help me clean up? Did you think I wouldn’t notice?
My cushion is ruined and I still have a jerk sitting behind me. Hooray. I weep for your daughters’ futures.