Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Pool Sheriff

If nothing else, the experience of living in Japan taught me the value of remaining as much as possible non-confrontational in social situations. You quickly learn that the Japanese are people who avoid confrontation at all costs, and when you do encounter it, it’s a rare sight. Most of the time, during my years in Japan, it was more often I who stepped over the line and ‘confronted’ someone about a problem. I like to think that little by little I learned that a less aggressive approach works best. Hopefully I brought some of that understanding back to Florida with me.

Yesterday during one of my pelican watches, I sat on the stairs leading down to the beach, noticing from time to time a group of people playing on the beach. It didn't occur to me that they were guests of someone in the building, but then two of them broke away heading for the stairs I was sitting on. In time, all eleven members of the group began a slow drift toward me and the stairs leading up to the pool, straggling and lagging in groups of two or three. I realized then that they were very likely strangers having a look around.

It occurred to me that some of my neighbors might expect me to rise up and confront these visitors, reminding them it was private property for the use of residents and their guests. That is the rule around here, determined by people who determine things. At one time I might have acted, but this time put aside that thought and kept my mouth shut. You know, like in, “Mind your business, buddy.”

Our eleven temporary guests ranged in age from seven to about twenty-seven. Their purpose was simple: “It’s Sunday afternoon at the beach and let’s have fun.” From a distance I saw them infringe on one rule after another, but each one extremely hard for teenagers to respect. No diving! Oh, really? Take that float out of the pool! Really? Actually it was a quiet time and their good time antics didn't appear to be inconveniencing others. I heard today that one of the owners had advised them to find another place to swim. Apparently no ill-feelings about that, as they all picked up and returned to the beach.

Perhaps an optimistic view of such situations is the healthier approach. Perhaps recognizing the need for rules, but then not allowing oneself to get bent out of shape when those rules are tested, especially if the occasion seems harmless and unthreatening. In the above kind of situation, most of those who wander up from the beach and take a splash in the pool are not people who instill fear or alarm. I’ve never witnessed any dangerous or scary situations in the years I’ve been coming here. And so, no, I won’t act as sheriff in the management of uninvited guests.

1 comment:

  1. Yes. Confrontation sometimes costs a life in the recent Japanese society. I find myself less agressive avoiding confrontation. That is not always good though.


About Me

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Oak Hill, Florida, United States
A longtime expat relearning the footwork of life in America