Last year, our family had a VIP pass for Great America, which also got us into Bonfante Gardens. Great America turned out to be a great disappointment because it wasn’t very family friendly at all, and on the few rides geared towards children, there was a nasty problem of line cutting. Park signs said line cutting was forbidden, but park employees preferred to look the other way, and begged me to do the same when I complained. We ended up spending most of our time at Bonfante Gardens (now Gilroy Gardens), which targeted a younger crowd which was usually more closely watched by parents and thus better behaved. It probably also helped that the lines at Bonfante Gardens were usually short and quick moving,and that there were a lot of activities which didn’t require waiting in lines.
However, one ride, the monorail, had a tediously slow line running up on a staircase. But it was cute, and we had time, so Neil, Kelly and I got into the line one day. Unfortunately, the people who got in line behind us were in training to become the expert line cutters at Great America. As soon as she got behind us, the older girl, whom I will call Big Brat, shuffled right onto the step right behind me and started snaking a grimy, flip-flop clad foot in front of me. She encouraged her little sister, whom I’ll call Little Brat, who was on my other side, to try similar tactics in creeping ahead.
I had to tell the girls that I was not going to allow this, so I asked Big Brat to step back. She did for a second, and then wiggled her body around and stepped next to me. I told her to she needed to step back behind me, since we were in line. But time after time, she persisted in trying to creep around me. Meanwhile, Little Brat was doing much of the same on the other side. Finally as Little Brat was clinging to the rungs of the staircase railing and pulling herself up next to me, I reached out my arm and told her to go down. This finally got the mother, whom I’ll call Idiot Mom to notice, but not in the way a normal mother should.
When an adult indicates to my children that they should keep a distance, go away, or are otherwise unwelcome, I take them away: it’s usually good advice. But my children know this, so they don’t go around annoying strangers anyway. Idiot Mom, however, who had been completely oblivious to her bratty children’s continued attempts to sneak through the line, chided me.
“Stop that! She’s only 2 years old and you’re scaring her!” she told me. I turned around aghast, but Big Brat took the opportunity to chime in as well: “Yeah, and I’m only 5 years old!” Clearly, Idiot Mom had trained her children to use their age as an excuse for all sorts of bad behavior. Even so, if your children are too immature to behave properly, you should be keeping a closer rein on them, shouldn’t you?
I addressed Big Brat with “And I don’t like being crowded, so BACK OFF.” It had the tone of invective which I didn’t need to use. Miraculously, after that, Big Brat and Little Brat (and Idiot Mom), too, miraculously, managed to stay behind me in line. So they weren’t too young, or stupid, or otherwise disabled: they were just brats, who were perfectly capable to staying in line when motivated to do so: I hope the lesson remained, and Big Brat isn’t further practicing her line-cutting skills. Unfortunately, with a mother like Idiot Mom, I wouldn’t count on it.