Trying to learn bridge is how hard?

I suddenly got the insane idea that I should learn how to play bridge.

My aunt, whom I visit often in Florida and New Jersey, plays bridge and loves it and I like certain card games – Hollywood gin primary among them – so I thought I’d learn.

The first thing I did was get “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Bridge” out of the Wadleigh Memorial Library in Milford, but after I read about 10 pages, I felt like a complete idiot, which apparently is the point of the book, so I quit on that.

Then I went online looking for bridge lessons. There are some, sort of, at Rivier College but they seem to require that you have at least a smattering of bridge knowledge, so perhaps they should post a sign, “No idiots allowed.”

There are lessons for beginners in Manchester but the next one I can take is in September and I probably will. Until that time, I kvetch mightily to my aunt because she refuses to teach me.

This boggles my already addled mind because she loves bridge and one would think she would like to share it. She also complains that fewer and fewer people are playing the game, so you would think she’d like to drag me in, just for additional bridge blood.

And then there is this: Her career was teaching. So, I logic, you would think she’d want to teach me bridge.

It all works logically for me. Clearly, though, not for her.

All I can think is that she decided, vis a vis teaching, enough was enough, especially after dealing with first-graders. That I get. But despite some emotional issues, I don’t really rank as a first-grader, you know. I’m not that whiny.

What puzzles me is, how do people learn how to play bridge if everyone refuses to teach them? I am in Florida as I write this and the other day, I went to the senior center where they offer “bridge classes,” and when no one had any information, I called the senior center people and asked about bridge lessons.

Guess what I was told? They really aren’t for beginners.

I wonder what would happen if, for instance, this sort of thing faced, oh, let’s say, auto mechanics.

“Yes, I’d like to learn how to repair cars.”

“And we’d be happy to teach you. Do you know anything about repairing cars?”

“No. That’s why I want to learn.”

“Sorry, can’t help you.”

Obviously, learning to play bridge, or not learning to play bridge, is not an end of the world thing, but it’s frustrating because I don’t understand it.

Another thing I don’t understand is…

The Noodle People.

Here in my aunt’s complex in Florida is a very nice pool but it’s virtually impossible to swim any laps because The Noodle People float around on their noodles in every part of the pool, even though there is a very nice alcove off to the side where there is plenty of room for them to float and still allow some of us to swim laps.

But NO. The Noodle People seem to want the entire pool, as if they were the Soviet Union of the water.

The only person this doesn’t seem to bother is a woman named Paula who has more courage than I because when she wants to swim laps, The Noodle People had best get out of the way. I haven’t that level of nerve, at least in part because I don’t live here so I have no real standing, nor do I want to do anything that will get people irked at my aunt.

“Your nephew knocked me over in the pool. I almost lost my noodle.”

What concerns me about The Noodle People is attitude. What is it that convinces people that they have more right to pool space, or anything else, than others do? Especially when they have much more floating space available than I, or Paula the Courageous, do.

I see this … well, arrogance, for want of a better word, in other places. Gyms, for instance. I am one who ALWAYS wipes down whatever machine I have used, despite the fact that I believe all of that anti-bacterial stuff is really, really bad for the world and, more important, frankly, for me.

But I see so many people who NEVER WIPE.

And I wonder what their thinking, and their message to the rest of us, is:

“Mah sweat is PURE.”

Or perhaps they believe that because they didn’t actually sweat that it’s cool to just walk away without wiping.
“Ah have NO GERMS on mah hands at all.”

FYI – you might have noticed that I give a hint of a southern accent to the dialogue of the arrogant and that is NOT because I think Southerners are inherently arrogant. It’s that I think that arrogant people fall into the kind of speech patterns that have become endemic to TOUGH GUY STUFF television commercials, for things like trucks, so if you’re from South Carolina or some place like that, take no offense.

It is a sense of entitlement, I think, shared by The Gym NoWipers and The Noodle People and I think if we were to analyze it really well, we would discover it is based upon deep-seated insecurity and the need to control a small part of their environment.

Oh, and by the way, I think that deep-seated insecurity explains the terrible hatred some folks direct toward President Obama – they see change a’comin’, or change already here, and they realize they can’t control it, so all they can control is how they react to it, so they do so with anger and hatred, a reason for which they can’t clearly articulate.

But what is one to do?

I guess, really, we can all try to reason with The Noodle People, The Gym NoWipers and perhaps, even The President Derogators and see if it helps.

For some reason, I have my doubts.