Sunday, August 3, 2014

Throwing Down

Understanding the eternal unrest in the Middle East has always been a challenge for me, until this weekend. I have seen for myself how the world can spiral out of control as quick as a monkey can fling poo. And I’m only sort of kidding.

First of all, there were a few superficial similarities between our family beach vacation dust-up and the kettle of fish that is the Israeli/Palestinian conflict: both have a lot of sand and both occur in a confined space. Sure. Sure. The Israeli/Palestinian kettle of fish is as old as sand, and the entire world teeters in the balance at its outcome, and our “dust-up” was just kind of goofy. Still, there are lessons to be learned . . . lessons to be learned.

The Set-Up: Zoe (10) and Sadie (5) played happily on the balcony of our room overlooking the Hilton hotel pool. The air was salty. The ocean foamy. The girls were probably playing mermaids who ride unicorns or unicorns that wish they were mermaids who ride unicorns.

The Others: Below a family—mommy, baby, various other sorts—lounged by the pool, smoked by the pool, scratched various body parts by the pool. 

The Provocation: From high above, out of the fine Florida sky ice fell—hotel ice, chunks of manmade and unnatural hotel ice—bouncing next to the baby and causing an inter-hotel incident.

The First Salvo: Looking up, the baby’s mother saw the mermaid balcony girls prancing about, jumped to conclusions, aimed her verbal missiles at the two girls, and let fly. Those girls threw that ice and tried to hit her baby. She KNEW it.

The Escalation: Zoe, pale as a unicorn’s horn, fell into hysterics and terror. “That lady thinks we tried to hurt her baby. She’s going to call the police. She yelled at us. We didn’t do anything. Arrrrrrggggg.” Tears poured. Hysteria clamped sharp claws around her heart.

The United Nations Tie-In: Zoe’s mother and grandmother closely question the balcony girls, examine the evidence, and stare down at the pool loungers with varying degrees of evil eye. The loungers grab up a hotel official, count off the room where they assume the ice chuckers dwell and sic security on room # 803, registered to grandfather Sherwood Zern and tribe.

Rising Tensions: Grandfather watching beloved granddaughter fall into tiny, shredded pieces stormed from the room declaring, “I’m going down to talk to those Philistines.”

The Peace Talks: In the elevator, grandfather, going down, ran into hotel official, coming up, and talks ensued.

Meanwhile: Anger and frustration grew as evidenced by the balcony grandmother yelling, “Children prepare to fling poo.”

Double Meanwhile: The pool loungers below scowled up, pointed at, and gestured towards the balcony dwellers, preparing to fling poo of their own.

The Truth of It: While the mother and grandmother debated raiding the mini-bar for teeny-tiny bottles of alcohol to make teeny-tiny Molotov-cocktails, the true and actual ice-chucking culprits (the Hamas family) one floor up and directly above, dumped a bucket of water on the balcony dwellers of room #803 below.

The Irony: The pool loungers did not witness the stealth attack and continued to blame the mermaid girls and their unicorn family high on the balcony above.

And then we went to lunch at McDonalds.

A couple of lessons learned: hotel ice melts before you can dust for fingerprints; people are sure they are right; ice water is cold; misunderstandings are rampant; escalating a conflict is easy; McDonalds serves gross food that resembles poo; Zoe and Sadie didn’t do it.

Linda (General Molotov) Zern 

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