Posted by Duff

The other day, Crista and I brought the Dervish to the beach to take some pictures.  It was a beautiful day, and the Dervish was in typical Louis and Clark form.

I figured as long as I could keep her away from the edge of the jetty and no further than knee deep in the water, she was safe. 

I had forgotten about my ability to draw the Human SNAFU.

Some people draw luck, money, dinner invitations from the interesting. Not me.  I’m the Pied Piper for those with no social skills, no shame, no legitimate reason for approaching. Those who don’t get that you really don’t want company and you don’t appreciate the invasion on your personal space. The mild rudeness that would send your average person wandering away, embarrassed, doesn’t make a dent in the exoskeleton of the socially askew.

I am the one, who, minding my own beeswax in an almost empty waiting area, manages to find herself suddenly seated next to the man, old enough to be my father, who smells like desperation and his mother’s basement. The one on the plane with empty seats who draws the drunk who will tell me, in detail, the ways in which he is willing to offer me pleasure. The one who accidentally ‘befriends’ the apartment complex wierdo who should not be living alone and proves it by having a four-alarm tantrum in the parking lot, and I have to change my phone number.

I worry the Dervish has inherited the same unfortunate magnetism.

Sure enough, at our lovely outing, Margaritaville appears on the scene wearing a Hawaiian shirt and eau de something’s not right. He has overhead my conversation and uses a snippet of it as an opener. He seems like the average middle-aged guy trying to pick up a woman. Or two.

I see Crista’s concern, and her eyebrows raise slightly over her sunglasses. The Dervish continues to dig in the sand.

And then I notice that Margaritaville is eating cereal. On the beach. Out of a Dollar Store Santa Clause bowl. In August. And although he’s talking to me about nothing of consequence, he’s watching my daughter. My daughter who has gone through several costume changes as she gets each dress wet and rips it off. And I remember that she spent a few moments in bloomers only. And I get a little seasick.

Because the beach is sufficiently populated, I know that even if he is beyond a SNAFU, there is little he can do. If he has taken a mental snapshot of her, it’s already taken. And he has mentioned he is going to church (across the street, momentarily). So I ask him about the festivals in the area, to refocus his attention. And he tells me there is a wonderful Strawberry Festival.

In a moment, the church bells ring, and he is gone. And I see, right in the line of vision where was standing, a sign: “Peach Festival – August 16-17.” And I pray he was just lonely, a garden-variety wierdo. Even drunk wouldn’t be so bad. But I’m glad he doesn’t know which is my car with corresponding license plate.

So tell me, did I overreact? Because in my mind, everyone who raises the hair on the back of my neck could potentially steal The Dervish, or hurt her. I hope the worst case scenario is that they will mildly annoy her.

I am so grateful for her kick’em where it counts personality. I am reconsidering teaching her to be polite.