Saturday, March 1, 2008

I Was A Five Year Old Beach Bum

I've been looking out my window at a little girl having a meltdown across the street. When her mother started to walk into their building, the little girl sat down on the ground and refused to go in. The mother finally went in anyway and the girl slumped over and and cried. Her father finally came out and picked her up, which seems to be what she wanted all along. It's so hard to be a child.

It reminded me of a time when I did something similar. Similar, but actually quite different, because I didn't want anyone coming after me!

I was about 5 years old, and my family and I were on vacation. As we were leaving a beach, we passed a man selling souvenirs at a table. I wanted one. My parents said no. I did not like that answer! I wanted a souvenir! I really wanted one. It was very important to me and I was angry that my parents were being so unreasonable! (What part of "I want one" and "I HAVE to HAVE one" did they not understand?)

I'm not sure how the next bit of logic came about, and knowing my parents I'm sure they started it, but we entered into a verbal tug of war where the deal was that I had to either get in the car, or I could stay at the beach with the souvenirs that were so important to me. Our conversations went something like this:

Get in the car now or we're leaving you here!

No! Not unless you buy me something!

I mean it! Get in the car or we're going to drive away!

Go ahead! I don't care! I'm not getting in unless you buy me something!


Go ahead! I don't care!
Eventually, they closed the car door and drove away!

The guy at the souvenir table was whispering to me saying "They're leaving! You'd better go! They're leaving without you!" but I did not scare easily.

I'm sure everyone expected me to crumple into a little heap (like the girl I was just watching out the window) or to run after the car tearfully begging my parents to let me in, but I was SO ANGRY! I thought they were being complete jerks driving away like that instead of giving in to my simple demands! So instead of running after them in tears, as I'm sure everybody expected me to do, I watched the car as it exited the parking lot, then I turned around in a huff and started walking towards the beach to find shelter and food for my new existence!

So you can imagine how incensed I was when my parents had the nerve to actually drive BACK into the parking lot and DEMAND that I get into their car without getting me a souvenir! We had a deal! It was their deal! Get in the car or stay on the beach with the souvenirs! Now they were going back on that deal and I was expected to get in the car anyway? WITHOUT a souvenir??? Unbelievable! I vaguely recall eloquently explaining this to them by yelling the words "But you SAID!!!"

Eventually I had to get in the car. Not because they were my parents but because they were bigger than me. But I never forgot that they actually drove away and left me there, thinking that might scare me into changing my mind. Nor did I forget that they "went back on their deal" when they returned to the beach for me a few moments later. I also have never forgotten that, when I believed they had really left me there, and had driven away for good over something as petty (on their part!) as a simple souvenir, I did not fall apart and cry. I turned around and walked the other way.



Mac and Cheese said...

...and that's why I never threaten my daughter with anything I can't follow through on.

Melissa said...


Vanessa said...

fabulous story! I remember the days when just because they were "bigger than me" I had to give in to the ridiculous demands. Oh how that changes with age!

MP said... butt would have been sore for a week...

Alice said...

same for me as mp. acting out in public was NOT OK chez moi.

Grandy said...

Ok missy...I posted on this yesterday but lost my connection at some point. Not sure if you got this but this story explains a lot. ;)

MP said...

I tagged you for a meme

Melissa said...

This was interesting! Lol! I made a conscious choice to try to present both sides equally in this story and not give information that might have swayed people one way or another, to see where reactions would fall. I may have gone a bit too far with that!

vanessa: The day I stopped "giving into their ridiculous demands" was a pretty dramatic one. Yet another thing I might write about someday.

mp & alice: I don't think they would ever have hit us in public. I could be wrong.

grandy: There are so many ways I could take that! Lol!

mp: Thank you for letting me know :) I know you tagged me for another one a while back too. It didn't really work! I'll try to explain why at some point.

Hillary said...

Lol! Your survival instinct was alive and well way back then, too! :P

Melissa said...

Yeah, see? Even calm in Emergencies at 5 years old! Though I don't know how calm I would have been once it started getting dark. I imagine I would have either fended for myself for a few days, or approached an adult at dusk and told them I'd been ditched!

I realize that there are parents who don't come back, and that I'm probably fortunate mine did. But I have to say, in thinking about this further, that if things had played out that way and the police had returned me to my family, I don't think it would have been a tearful reunion. I think I would have been furious with them!