Life is tricky enough, but sometimes we bump into something that just doesn't make any sense at all.
Even so, most adults can figure out a decent solution and move on, but what do kids do? What happens when they're presented with a situation that makes no sense to them? Here's a story to ponder. A few months ago, I was in a restaurant, and I went to the bathroom to wash my hands as is my custom after every meal. That's a great habit I wish more people would adopt. Anyway, as I entered the bathroom area, I noticed that someone had placed the restaurant's, "Please Wait to be Seated" sign at the entrance to the men's and women's toilets. I read the sign, had a good laugh, thought, "there's a column in this," and walked on in. But what would a kid do? Children are literal, and most respect authority until they reach the age of nine. I can just hear them thinking, "Who's going to seat me? What if I don't need to sit? I think I'll wait and go to my own bathroom. I'm allowed to seat myself there." That's how most kids would react, and who could blame them?
I don't want to imply that adults are perfect when presented with a confusing situation. They aren't. Take today, for instance. My wife and I were eating lunch in a quaint little place, having a great conversation. At least, I thought it was great; my wife kept wincing and frowning. I finally said, "Why are you frowning? Am I saying something stupid?" She just kept wincing and pointed to the window behind my back - the window facing her. I turned around and was blinded by the sun. "Oh, you were squinting from the light. Sorry. I thought you were bothered by something I said." How many times have I pulled that boneheaded move? Too many. Way too many.
I guess there are two morals here. First, don't assume everyone sees things as they really are. They don't. Truth is elusive. Take time to see the bigger picture and don't jump to conclusions. Second, be careful where you place your "Please Wait to be Seated" signs or there are going to be a lot of confused little kids running around town with dirty hands and full bladders. You don't want that on your conscious, do you?
David McCoy, a notorious storyteller and proud Yellow Jacket, lives in Conyers and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.