Grace is going to soccer camp this week from 5:30 to 7:30 each night. As she runs onto the field, I stroll down the sideline and set up my folding chair slightly past the fifty yard line. The other parents sit on a distant metal bench or even farther away near the entrance to the field.
I take a book and a Rubbermaid container with some sort of dinner and enjoy the sunlight on my back while I read. Every once in awhile, I glance up to see what my blond girl is doing. But mostly, I read. (I started The Time-Traveler’s Wife.)
So tonight, my third night, a woman walked past my chair. I’ve been sitting facing the end zone so the sun is entirely to my back and not in my eyes. Some people run around the track which is a few feet to my left.
So this woman walked past me–I didn’t notice her at all until she stopped somewhere behind me, close enough that her shadow was in my line of vision.
She rustled around and clattered about and made more noise than you’d think necessary.
I wondered what she was doing and then realized that she had unfolded her own chair and settled in, six feet behind me, right on the track.
Maybe that would be normal if I were sitting on a crowded sideline but there were literally no other parents sitting within yards and yards of me. Not within spitting distance. Until she arrived.
It was awkward. She was too close to me. And since she was directly behind me, I couldn’t even swivel around to sneak a peek without it being a super awkward moment.
So, that was odd.
Then her phone rang.
And she said these words, “So. Is it a staph infection?” Pause. “That’s very contagious, you know.”
I just don’t know what to say about that. But, please, if you see a woman sitting all by herself far down the sideline of a football field reading a book, please assume she wants to be alone. And don’t sit in breathing distance of her and start talking about a staph infection. I’m begging you.
Please. And thank you.