Sunday, October 01, 2006


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?


Anonymous said...

Ofcourse I am going to comment!! Yeah I pretty much dread playgrounds too. I am not into making new friends so I sort of try and avoid talking to anyone. My daughter instantly makes friends with any girl that will talk to her and they play together the whole does she do that?? My son always poops his pants and we usually have issues leaving....I am usually content with a caffinated least for a while. But you are right on the people who are enjoying time on the phone, not fair!! Especailly a guy with 3 kids!! Hello!! Anyway, want to meet at the park? Ha ha ha! I am thinking about gong to Bellsquare tday to play on the boat...which is just as bad...

Anonymous said...

I liked playgrounds until baby C came along and now I am anxious about flying limbs coming near her while she is snuggled up in the sling. It is also impossible to spot K while he climbs and explores since I am holding the baby. Sometimes I have trouble staying present and just check out and observe everyone else which often turns up surprising results...

susie said...

Surprising results? I'm intrigued! Do tell!