Recognized Social Butterfly



Last week, in the oppressive heat of high noon, despite the fact that I don’t like pizza, I volunteered to wait in the interminably long lines for a pizza at Wet ‘n Wild Water Park outside of Honolulu: while I did so, my wife, my daughter, and her two young children cavorted on the slides, anticipating that I would soon deliver their meal.

I was not overjoyed. Among the hundreds of people in line, only I and two other stalwarts followed the park’s Covid-19 mask recommendations:  As for social distancing, six inches, not six feet, separated most of us. I managed to stay at little bit further behind the person in front of me.

There was no breeze, the air was stifling, and there was no shade. But it got worse. Two well-fed preteens in front of me began to vigorously whack each other, just missing me at one point. Although their father occasionally cautioned them, they soon resumed their not-so playful antics. In the meantime, the crowded order line that I was crumpled into remained stationery. The shorter line for those people with receipts wasn’t moving much either. What a miserable situation!

Just as I was commiserating with myself, I looked to my left at the receipt line.  What I saw made me realize how lucky I was. A paper-thin disabled girl no older than the rowdy boys was whimpering in a wheelchair. A tube was attached to her nose, and gauze was taped to her cheeks. Her mother wiped the child’s crusty tears. I was transfixed. At no time did the girl even slightly move her arms or feet. Perhaps she didn’t want to or perhaps she couldn’t do so.

I kept watching the piteous girl until she was wheeled further to the front of the line. After that, I no longer lamented the heat, the unmasked crowd, the sluggish line, even the obnoxious preteens. My plight was negligible. Although it still took over an hour for me to retrieve the pizza, I somberly and patiently awaited my turn. Empathy for that poor girl and her family had erased my self-pity.  

Ah, humanity!


Showing results for 
Show  only  | Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
Need to Know

NEW: AARP Games Tournament Tuesdays! Achieve a top score in Right Again! Trivia and you could win up to $300 in prizes! Learn More.

AARP Games Tournament Tuesdays

More From AARP