Throughout your life, you will come up against many factors that are indicative of a person’s character and you have the power to separate people into two distinct groups. For some people, the first instance of this that will spring to mind is the social divide in US politically, or racial issues, or some equally irrelevant external topic.
I want you to free your mind of frivolous examples like these and focus on the more soul-exposing factors of a person’s personality and behavior that set them apart from the rest. It’s time to think seriously about our self-induced social partitions and what triggers them. What is it that generates a “them” and “us” mentality where there is no middle ground, you are either in one camp or the other?
For a controversial example, dare I mention it, take pineapple on pizza. Both sides have incredibly persuasive arguments for the legitimacy of the pineapple to be on the pizza. We all know someone on the other side who we radically disagree with and have to try to block that side of their dysfunctional personality out to be able to remain friends.
Other high-profile examples are the dog vs. cat people, early risers vs. night owls, winter vs. summer people, iPhone vs. Android users, and let’s not even mention the people that believe the world is flat. I can’t elaborate on that last one as it makes me fear leaving the house in case stupidity has contaminated the air and will slowly eat away at my brain cells at a rate only determined by the nearest source of flat-Earther ignorance. That is where this contaminated, brain-cell-demolishing air gains its strength and power from. My mental image of this contains a glowing pool of idiocy surrounded by Power Ranger type figures in slinky-but-effective protective clothing, trying to battle with the toxic pool using logic, reason and flat-out facts (pardon the pun) with little to no effect. It’s a dire comic-book-style situation.
I’m sure this is how my husband envisions our conversations every time he expresses his disgust openly for the pineapple on my pizza.
Today I want to reunite us all back together. The pineapple lovers, the cat people, everyone — except for the flat-earth people, you might need to wait over there in the corner. The rest of you, I want to introduce you to a new, philosophically estranging topic of separation. One that you will most likely have a raw and primal reaction to. Are you ready?
Do you poncho or not poncho?
I know what you are thinking, head in hands, pleading to your higher power, “Why oh why are we confronting this bag of worms? Can’t we keep it locked away and pretend it didn’t happen like when a Kardashian goes blonde, the ten years between Tool albums or Season 8 of Gilmore Girls?”
“Why do you build me up buttercup, just to tear me down,” you ask in a heartbroken sing-song voice of confusion and despair? It’s okay; we are going to help each other through these trying times.
Anyone who has planned an outdoor activity on their vacation knows that the unpredictability of weather can have you checking everything from annual weather patterns at your destination to seeking the help of a tarot reader, anything to feel confident that you are not planning a disastrous event. With every flip of that Magic Eight Ball, you hope for a positive result and somehow rationalize all the previous negative answers as misunderstandings of the question. Even with all that, a lot of times, it just doesn’t go to plan. There is nothing like standing in the very long, outdoor line, that is questionably worth the time you will spend on the actual attraction, just to have the skies open up and dump a bucket of rain and shattered dreams. When this occurs, there are three types of people, though two of these groups belong to the same side of the poncho vs. no to poncho debate. It doesn’t matter what your theme park of choice is — Disney, Universal, Seaworld, etc. — it will always come down to the same three things.
First, we have the Poncho People. The Poncho people usually have a backpack for every 2-3 people in their group, all with at least one, maybe even two ponchos per person at the ready at any given moment. Poncho people don’t mind that in warmer temperatures their plastic rain covering acts like a steamy rainforest enclosure that fogs up from a mixture of their body heat and the lack of air able to circulate them. The upside for them is that they are dry. Maybe a bit sweaty, but dry — and they won’t suffer for the rest of the day with soaking wet clothing that makes you itch and twitch and all things unpleasant. These people also have the upper hand when it comes to getting wet on rides or rain that is accompanied by wind, creating the ever-dreaded sideways rain.
Next, we have the Umbrella People. This group can vary in how prepared they come. Some like to whip out their travel-sized umbrella like a ninja sword, huddling their group together before the first drop hits the pavement. Some want to take a moment to squeal and whine before breaking out an absurdly large and troublesome umbrella that will inevitably poke someone in the something before the rain stops. This group and the next are both considered non-poncho people.
Last, we have the Let It Rain Peeps. These people are motivated either by a hardcore sense of c’est la vie or were too unprepared to make other arrangements. One way or the other, they are getting wet, very wet. Some may appear to enjoy the cooling relief from the relentless sun, but while watching their “Kumbaya” attitudes keep in mind, in 3 hours when everyone sits down to lunch, they will still have on wet socks and knickers (that’s Aussie for undies).
This brings me to the crux of this ultimately relationship-altering question. How do you cope if someone in your group is a poncho fundamentalist while you sit firmly on the side of umbrella-only acceptance? Do each of you provide uncomfortable peer-pressure for the other to conform to their own almost-religious way of handling the rain?
The idea of covering yourself in a plastic bag seems extreme but effective. Uncomfortable, but practical. I am not one for sitting on the fence so I will share with you that I am pro-poncho. There, I have said it. I have disgraced myself in the eyes of some of you and championed for others. My personal truth is that when you have to hold the hands of two children, there are no additional hands available to hold anyone’s umbrella. Practicality wins, but I still have two travel umbrellas in my backpack for those times when I can manage them without cling wrapping my body in its own sweat.
Every Disney pro has their own way of dealing with it. What is your way? Do you poncho?