I've recently become distracted by two groups of people in front of me. I've labelled them: Posh English Girls and Chavvy Spanish Family. But this has disturbed me. Why have I labelled them in this way? Have I become a labeller? When did I become so judgmental about people to a point where I give them perky little labels... Full on titled names? I think that this is something I've always tried to avoid, labelling people, it's something I often tell Mik off for. In fact, I can see his smug grin now when he realises that I too, have become a labeller. I decide not to tell him. But, as I lay here, with the sea lapping at my feet and the sounds of sweet childish laughter lilting on the air, I become more preoccupied as to why I have labeled each group in the way I have. I try to look for the obvious distinctive features. Ponder whether everyone on the beach, no matter their nationality, would perceive them in this way. Or whether it's just me.
Posh English Girls are sweet. There are five of them in the group. Three are left here at the moment as the two Chanel glasses-wearing ones have apologised for being boring before leaving to enjoy their balcony away from the 'awful sand'. They've just been given a couple of inflatables by some Dutch holiday makers who are going home - they didn't say they were Dutch, that's just an accurate guess, but they did say they were going home - they are now planning on how to surprise the other two girls in their group with the inflatables (Posh English Girls not the Dutch) which seems to involve the inflatable turning up on the balcony doorstep all of its own accord, whilst they hide, in fits of hysterical hilarity around the corner. Perhaps this is how I know they're posh; in my world, inflatables do not posses the capacity to do this. Listening in to their conversation, it is relaxed, soft, quiet. They discuss what 'Daddy' does for a living in between their reading of 'Fifty Shades...' and 'Grazia' magazine.
Beyond them, in the sea, Chavvy Spanish Family are loud and brash. Not speaking much Spanish past the essentials of 'hola', 'gracias' and 'mi casa est blanca', I'm unable to ascertain if they are shouting to each other a critique of the protagonist in 'Fifty Shades' or, if they are musing over their fathers' successes in life. I assume they are. They are certainly enjoying life. Splashing about - a lot - dunking each other, demonstrating the sort of overt affection that I, as a typically reserved English lady, find a little too excessive for the public arena. Their zealous and exuberant behaviour calls to mind that poster from back in the 80's... You know, the one that used to don the walls of every public swimming pool: 'no bombing, no diving, no heavy petting'.
'They'd be thrown out of an English swimming pool if this was the 80's' I think to myself as I glance at the beach lifeguard... He's watching them closely.
I look from them, to the Posh English Girls quietly quaffing their Evian, and back again... No, I just can't pinpoint what is is about them that has caused me to label them in such a way. Perhaps it's just intuition. Perhaps it's just me. Internally, I chastise myself. Who am I to pass judgement on these groups of strangers? To label them like some prejudiced, judgmental labeller? Suddenly I feel ashamed. The Posh English Girls are just quiet, lovely girls with well-pronounced words and dads they're proud of; and the Chavvy Spanish Family are just fun-loving, ostentatious, beach-goers, enjoying themselves in a loud and overly boisterous manner.
As I look back from them fooling about in the sea, I vow to myself to never again enter into such flippant, flimsy labelling and, most definitely, never mention my foray into this sordid world to Mik, who would surely mock me for these foolish ways.
I catch Mik's eye. He raises his eyebrows at me and smirks.