This past Saturday I joined my parents and my brother Brett at the TPC River Highlands golf course in Cromwell, Conn., where we were volunteer marshalls during the Traveller's PGA golf championship. One of our jobs was to block pedestrians from a golf cart path so that forty or so golf carts driven mainly by 14 year olds could whiz by at ludicrous speeds without killing anyone.
About three in the afternoon, I noticed that most of the golf carts were empty. Some of them hauled food to the hospitality tents that lined the 18th fairway. But the overwhelming majority transported people and nothing else.
Now this might sound like I am whining about having to stand on my feet for 12 hours, lugging a chair, umbrella, sweatshirt and several other assorted items everywhere (I actually had a good time), but when exactly did walking fall out of style?
Today I woke at the family beach cottage in Old Lyme, Conn. My mom and I went for a walk. We walked by zero other people. No dogs, no kids, and nobody we recognized. Don't worry, there actually was an awful lot of activity. We were passed by about 10 golf carts. In one case two residents were sitting in a parked golf cart chatting with the owners of another cottage. They wrapped up their conversation, said their goodbyes, and whizzed away on the cart. Apparently it was too much for them to walk.
Later, one of my other brothers told one of his several anecdotes about golf cart drivers. He noted how at one particular campground in Conn., the visitors will line their golf carts up for a special event, configuring them in such a way so that they never have to leave the cart during the show. Their adult beverages of choice are in the basket behind them. How convenient.
Kids today drive golf carts like maniacs. On the golf course yesterday, they also were rather perturbed when they had to wait for attendees to pass by. During the most congested parts of the day, walking probably would have been faster.
At the beach, I see kids whizzing by on golf carts in front of the cottage, clearly overloaded. There's one in the passenger seat, and three or four clutching to the back of the cart, with various parts of their anatomy perilously close to danger. You can't help but say out loud, "Not safe," or at the very least, "Not smart."
No wonder kids today are obese (as are their parents). A pleasant walk on the beach is not possible without a golf cart. Taking a bathroom break while in a tent at the campground is too hard unless no physical exertion is necessary to get to the latrine.
Two of the kids on the golf course Saturday did have to exert themselves. The golf cart they were riding ran out of gas, leaving their mode of transport sputtering. They dismounted the cart and started pushing. Now it was hot, and within a few minutes they were breathing heavy, but they managed to get the cart moving on the way to somewhere-- I am assuming a garage of some sort.
A mere ten yards away, I couldn't help but smile a bit as I watched. Yes, I am going to hell.