Serenity Schmerenity

I played golf at Deer Valley, in Barneveld, WI on Saturday, as part of a charity event in memory of a friend who died of pancreatic cancer less than a year ago.  Green fees were $21 including cart. On a Saturday! Part of a “stay and play” deal. I highly recommend the course for its natural beauty and value.  
But as the last group in our outing, we were followed by a group in tank-tops, flip-flops, MAGA hats and bouffants, blaring country music and talking as they waited behind us on nearly every tee.
 
Finally, when they rolled up again on 17, I politely asked if they could turn the music off while we hit. They obliged, with a severely put-upon look and “fuck-you” retaliation.
 
The oldest guy in our group duffed his tee shot, and Wannabe Kid-Rock says, “Heh…maybe we shoulda left the music on?”  
No.  NO, maybe you shouldn’t.  Maybe you should not impose your life and noise on others trying to have a quiet day on the course? They continued talking loudly as all four of us hit, apparently thinking I just didn’t like the music.
 
On one hand, there is a sense that I should just “roll with the flow,” stay ‘unattached’ (as the Zen Buddhists among you might counsel), accept the winds buffeting me, even in the form of noisy golfers with no sense of etiquette.
 
Yes, I could do with a dose of not trying to fine-tune the world to my specs. Yes, spending a lot of time wishing the world were other than it is can be exhausting and fruitless. Roll with it, baby! Yes, I should be focused on executing my game and not on the externals. Two holes earlier, when I blew my drive out of bounds with Brooks and Dunn wailing in the background, I came back to the cart bitching about loud music, and my friend Kyle said, “Really Rob? You’re going to blame them?” I agree. Lame.
 
On the other hand, I go back to a couple of recent posts about whether or not we have any right to defend against “attention theft.” Is it reasonable to expect that nothing should ever enter my consciousness and distract me unexpectedly, or in ways I can’t eliminate/control? No. completely unreasonable. Sometimes shit happens.
 
That’s why I have my camping motto that “There is no such things as ‘bad conditions’; only ‘conditions.’  If it starts raining on my camping trip I don’t say, “Well… shit happens. Guess I’m just going to have to be soaked.”
 
I put up a rain fly in preparation for storms, and if/when they come, I hunker down until the storm is over. Dry.  The attitude we apply to unexpected discomfort makes all the difference in the world. Would I prefer my camping trip had been dry and sunny? Of course.  But it wasn’t, so whining about it won’t help.
 
Our lives are a string of attempts to mitigate the inconvenience, horror and pain that comes at us unbidden. Yeah, yeah, I know… inconsiderate people in a golf cart do not constitute horror or pain, and when it’s a beautiful, 80-degree day it takes a special kind of ass to focus on the most minor inconvenience.
 
A polite request for quiet was my attempt at raising a rainfly.
The fact that their response was to intensify the storm is also out of my control.
 
I see no reason why I should be expected to stay silent in the face of bad behavior. If they feel a “right” to blare music and act as they please, I have a right to request they tone it down.  The only argument against this is, “You’ll only make things worse,” and that seems like victim blaming to me. 
 
I am glad WI is not yet a “Stand Your Ground” state.
 
As we rolled away Kyle and I talked about how this was a perfect Seinfeld moment. Me, being George: “You see? THIS is what’s wrong with society!” Kyle: SERENITY NOW!!*
 
(*Re-enactments of Seinfeld moments may have been hallucinated for dramatic effect.)

That said, and not to be too binary about things, there are two types of people in the world: Those who care about impacting other people’s experience, and those who don’t give a F#$% and don’t think they should have to. I’m sick of the latter group.

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