Sunday, June 07, 2009

Loudmouth girl

Today was round 1 of baseball playoffs. Our team advances. Talk about your mixed emotions.

A teen girl we'd never seen before came to watch the game with her mother. She had obviously just come from a ball game of her own. I know it was softball because she made loud and pointed comments about knowing softball, not baseball.

Throughout the several innings she sat there, she was loud and obnoxious. She objected to the fact that the parents were not cheering loudly so she yelled a lot. But she didn't know any of the players and would yell comments like "go, whoever you are!" Or she'd cheer loudly for "the purple team" which was neither of the teams playing - she said she was cheering for everyone. She never made any insulting remarks about poorly-executed plays or strikeouts, I have to give her that. But she was so annoying that even her mother asked her repeatedly to be quiet, and then, when she wouldn't, told her to go away. That she did.

I am all for self-confidence but this wasn't it. This looked to me like the cockiness that comes from being insecure. If her mother hadn't been there telling her to shut up, I'd also say she had not had the benefit of parents teaching her appropriate public manners. Maybe her mom just started too late.

People talk a lot about modesty, but it's usually all about clothing. But modesty includes behavior too: a modest person does not call undue attention to herself. This girl had a serious lack of modesty.

Later, when we were home, I asked my girl what she thought of the young woman. She said she was really annoying. We talked about how not to be like that. My girl likes to call attention to herself sometimes too, particularly when she is at a boring baseball game. The difference is she just wants my attention, so she's not annoying other people. She's learning, though. We don't try to turn every incident of the day into a teaching moment, but sometimes they just fall into our laps.


Janet said...

I read your post with interest and some agreement, but I do have another thought on what might have been happening in this situation. We have a son with Asperger's Syndrome. He's very intelligent, can be kind, and loves to participate in social situations. He also has no mute button, no volume modulation, and totally does not understand that the thoughts in your head don't have to come out your mouth (and trust me, he's seven, we've been working on this issue for 5 years- he talked late). I'm sure there are people in the community who do not know us and have the exact same thoughts about my son that you had about this girl. My son looks normal, but Asperger's is a social disorder, and if you've seen one kid with Asperger's- you've seen one kid with Asperger's. I have also been know to tell my son to, "Shut up" after exhausting all other tactful and loving ways of getting him to tone it down. He doesn't catch nuances of expression, facial expressions, or body language- especially in loud, moving, public situations. To him "shut up" is a simple direction. "Chris, talk quietly so you don't disturb people around you," only works if the people around us aren't polite and actually look disturbed.

Janet said...

Hmmm... I just read my comment and wanted to add that "shut up" sounds harsh but "be quiet" is easily interpreted as, "try to talk quietly" - which my son isn't capable of doing yet.