How many of you go to the park with your kids? It’s a treat, really. There are certain times of the day I enjoy going to the park and those hours are usually when school is in session. I’ve noticed over the last while that there is an interesting phenomenon that goes on at the park with different types of people of different ages. This doesn’t just happen at the park, I also saw it at my kids school today. I’ll call it adult avoidance syndrome, or maybe stay out of my space and I’ll stay out of yours syndrome, or even perhaps the generation of the smart phone syndrome. Unfortunately this syndrome only effects adults. There aren’t many babies at the park with smartphone’s minding their own business.
There are many types of people that you will find when you take your kids to the park, and I do indeed love some people watching.
I’ve noticed that when adults show up to the park with their kids, they scope out the area and kind of go off in search of a place to mark their territory. They then stake a flag as if they climbed Mt. Everest, and park themselves on the bench. It’s really awkward when all the benches are taken and there is only one spot left and you have to go into someone’s bench territory. This is a bench taken by a pack of women, each of whom have a stroller, snacks, and one is pregnant with her sixth child. This is where eavesdropping becomes impossible not to do and when you are in their world yet a total outsider. Totally awkward. You are then either forced to fake smile a lot and enter their conversations, or pull out the best tool ever, the smartphone; which was possibly invented by a parent at the park.
Then there are the people who acknowledge the other parents with knowing smiles and happy faces yet they never talk to you, even if your kid ticks them off. You can always tell when your kid is ticking them off too. These are the people who will go talk to their kid in front of you about your kid but will never directly talk to you about their issue. I am frequently this parent. I never know how to tell some mom that her kid is being a jerk. It’s just not polite. Neither is body slamming a 6 year old heathen, so avoidance is key.
But then you also have the very direct parents who will let you know just what their problem is with your child. These are like the parental knight defenders ready to wield their sword to protect their child from the evil two-year old who pushed their kid. These moms and dads stop at nothing to let you know what they think. The best defense against these types is to tell them you just don’t care. They then go off ranting to their poor boyfriend about the horrible mother who lets her kid beat up all the other kids and then they get on their cell to vent it out some more. Now my kid may get body slammed, it’s a vicious cycle.
There is a totally different dynamic going on with the kids. Kids just don’t care and will talk to anyone and everyone. Kids play with kids their own age and kids younger or older. They also go up to adults and play and talk to them just for fun. Maybe this is because kids don’t have to worry about if someone likes them or not, and kids don’t have any life experience that tells them that talking to others you don’t know could be very awkward. Kids don’t have to find something in common with anyone or make small talk about the weather. Kids just have fun.
I say we be more like kids and just don’t care!
What other types of adults have you come in contact with at the park? Which are your favorites?