When the boyfriend and I took a day trip to the East Coast of Scotland, we found that playing crazy golf provides an excellent opportunity for people watching. It is one of the few instances I can think of where following directly behind a group of strangers is not considered strange or creepy, and we found the family in front of us on the course suitably interesting.
We agreed quickly on the relationships of three out of the four in the group – a father, aged around fifty, and his two children, a girl of about fourteen and a boy about ten. These three looked obviously alike, with dark hair, olive skin and similar features. The fourth member of the group, however, was a young woman, I’d guess early thirties, very blonde and fair, who looked a little out of place, made more noticeable by her slightly awkward conversation and body language.
What first drew our attention to the group was the boy, in Jake’s words, “being a little shit”. A ten year old boy being bored of crazy golf and winding up his sister isn’t surprising, but when we realised his antics were, in fact, directed towards the young woman, we became intrigued.
After a muttered discussion, and a probably not very subtle assessment of whether or not the father or Blondie were wearing rings, we came to the conclusion that this fourth member of the party must be the father’s girlfriend. I realise that, at least on my part, this conclusion may be slightly biased, given that my Dad has taken up with a blonde of a similar age (incidentally, closer in age to me than to him). However, whether we were right or not, my sympathies were definitely with the unimpressed little boy.
Images from Pinterest, peterrabit.com and Etsy
My next evaluation of the scenario was that the two children were clearly desperate for their father’s attention, marvelling at how great his golfing skills were, and turning to tell us that he was a “professional golfer”. From watching, we doubted that, but since my golfing skills are questionable – apparently I stand like a duck – I refrained from judging.
Interestingly, the girl’s approach to the girlfriend situation contrasted with her brother’s. She seemed to be making a huge effort to talk to Blondie, and scold her brother for sabotaging her golfing efforts. This could, I suppose, be because she likes Blondie, but what seemed more likely to me, (again, perhaps slightly biased) was that this was her way of trying to get the father’s attention. My guess is that both children would have preferred a day out with just their dad, but he was determined to play Happy Families, and massage his ego by showing off his golfing skills (clearly you’re going to be better at golf than your kids…) and shiny new girlfriend.
From this people watching exercise, I realised that my assessment of situations is affected a lot by my own experiences. I’m still convinced that I was right, or at least close, about the family situation, but I also realise that I probably wouldn’t have reached that conclusion without the picture having triggered a personal response from me. I suppose this makes sense – we like to feel connected to other people. What is interesting is the weird and wonderful ways people find connections with one another. In this particular instance, I found myself relating to someone who, at first glance, you wouldn’t think I would have much, if anything, in common with. This might mean that we think we like people who are similar to us, but, in fact, when we want to feel a connection to another person, we show quite an impressive ability to find obscure links. Or, maybe, I just have more in common with a ten-year-old boy than I’d like to admit.