I'd like to take a moment to acknowledge the most depressing places on the earth: playgrounds.
I'm fine when I show up, but after ten minutes I'm in serious need of a cocktail. There is nothing with quite the stench of boredom (to borrow a phrase from my friend Jane) as a playground during the post-nap, pre-dinner time of day. Especially on a weekend. Weekdays are filled with chatty stay-at-homes, be they moms, dads, or nannies. But the weekends tend to be deadly. Especially due to the dads and their cell phones.
I can't count the number of dads I see at playgrounds yakking on their cell phones. I am sorry if I am on a man-bashing trend right now, but DAMN. Today I watched a dad talk on his phone while his three kids ran all over the playground. He talked on his phone while he led them to the SUV. And then, he talked on his phone while he loaded them into the car and safety seats with one arm. When he backed out of his parking spot, he was still talking on the phone. I see dads talking on the phone while pushing babies in bucket swings.
Is this a coping skill that I just haven't learned? Believe me, I understand the desire to run screaming from a boring hour at a playground, but I do at least mime involvement. My kids don't want to just play in the sand. They want me to play in the sand with them. Talk to them. Make eye contact. I can do this while thinking about what to write for my next blog and they probably don't have a clue.
Maybe I'm in a huff about the cell phone dads because I absolutely hate going to playgrounds in general and I think everybody else should be as miserable as I am. Truly, after being stabbed with the desire for a drink or a smoke or ANYTHING to alter my consciousness, I am beset with soul-sucking dread and dullness.
It reminds me of being nine years old on blacktop kickball court in 95 degree heat. When I was a kid, I didn't really know how to do physical play. If it didn't involve roller skating, lip-synching, or redecorating my bedroom, I'd rather be reading. So being forced to play games with balls at school was a special form of torture. On the playground at recess, I jumped rope or did cherry-drops on the bars. And then when I found my soul-mate best friend in fourth grade, we spent our recesses together cruising the blacktop and talking. That was heaven.
So maybe my current playground aversion has to do with my past, or maybe I just resent spending time doing boring shit with my kids, or maybe playgrounds are boring for everyone and no one admits it.
Anyone care to comment?