Ask Aunt Chelsa, Week of July 3, 2013
My Dear Readers:
Your old Aunt Chelsea’s E-mail bag always seems to be a barometer of what’s eating the good citizens of her beloved neighborhood — and every so often, it overflows with letters of a similar ilk. Recently, summertime etiquette has been on your brains, as is the case with these two doozies. So I’m going to run their letters one on top of the other, then give a two-for-the-price-of-one answer (ironic, considering that my advice, like the simple joys of a drink and dish stoop session, is free).
Dear Aunt Chelsea:
I have a problem with movie theaters. I have long since tried to avoid the seemingly endless barrage of overpriced, overcrowded cinemas that plague our city — but the final straw was drawn last weekend. I was making a rare pilgrimage to one of Chelsea’s cinematic meccas (I couldn’t miss the much talked-about, scandalous nude scene from the latest hotshot celebrity). I arrived just in time and cozied up with my overpriced popcorn and oversized soda and prepared to OD on celluloid goodness. Well…my movie experience was ruined by those drink-slurping, joke-making, hormone-driven teenagers. Now I know you’ll reprimand me for this Aunt Chelsea, but I had to take matters into my own hands. When the added sound effects ceased to end (thus ruining most, if not all, of the movie), I started throwing pieces of popcorn at them. You can consider me…
Ticked Off at Teenagers
Dear Aunt Chelsea,
I’m a sun-loving gal who couldn’t have been happier to see the end of the snowy season. Last week, I got out my bikini, blanket and sunglasses and marched my pale booty over to the beach.
But Aunt Chelsea, the beaches are not as I remember them from my childhood in Cape Cod. They’re filled with ruffians now! People insisting on playing beach volleyball or running with their big dogs, messing up the sand and, worst of all, my hair! I’ve been getting sand sprayed all over me by couples too busy holding hands to notice a girl trying to lie peacefully on her beach towel, or kids making sand castles with debris that just seems to enjoy flying my way.
When I get home, my body is brown from the SAND, not from tanning in the SUN. Please tell me, what’s a gal to do about these beach bullies.
Sad and Sandy
Dear Ticked and Sad:
Although she shares a small but cozy office cubicle with this paper’s resident horoscope writer, Aunt Chelsea doesn’t need to borrow Mystico’s crystal ball to divine what the problem is with you easily-bothered, cranky types — or, as I always say, “Soft Shell Crabs.” Actually, I just made that up…but I hope it sticks, because it has a certain ring to it — a ring of truth! Oh, snap!
Sorry folks. Aunt Chelsea seems to have some leftover sass from cheering on her beloved gays at last weekend’s Pride parade. Back to the task at hand.
A page has been turned in the book of life — and the chapter the both of you are on is one Aunt Chelsea has very little use for. Clearly, you’ve reached that definitive age at which the joy you used to take in recreational activities is totally ruined by the joy of others.
Movie theaters and beaches are public places, not exclusive destinations where one can reasonably expect to plant one’s tush and enjoy the experience without the distractions of “teenagers” and “ruffians” — which, in your cases, are just code words for “those who dare to disturb me.” At the risk of stealing Jeff Foxworthy’s material, “You might be getting old if…” the sound of a baby giggling turns you into a fawning gob of goo, while the chortles and snorts of teenagers turns you beet red and makes your blood boil.
You’ll never enjoy a summer blockbuster or a day at the beach if you’re too busy handing out demerits for every imaginable infraction. So rather than waste time stewing while you wait for the world to bend to your will (a world that is almost certainly oblivious to your discomfort), I recommend one of two actions. Either go with the flow or remove yourself from the offending situation.
If the former option appeals to you, then share your popcorn instead of throwing it, and earn your tan while spiking the volleyball or putting a torrent on a child’s sandcastle. If you prefer the latter, then find your bliss by seeing the first screening of the day (when those teens are still asleep) — and secure your sandy solitude at a gay beach (where the couples will be minding their own “business” on the dunes, far from your blanket).
Now make your choice, stand your ground and enjoy your summer!