One block over, there’s an open space with a little pond, and Edith and I went for a walk around it this morning. There were a few other parents with little kids out walking around. We passed a father with two little girls and one of the little girls wanted to give Edith a branch with some weedy flowers on it and then tell me a long story that I couldn’t fully understand, but it was something to do with her cousin and what Edith could expect the next time she came to this little girl’s house to visit.
Because I was an only child and every adult in my life paid attention to me when I talked, and I haven’t really been around small children since, I’ve never really gotten the knack of how you’re not expected to let them finish talking to you before you interrupt them to talk to an adult or simply walk off. The reason, of course, being that they do not ever stop talking.
But to me, it feels extraordinarily rude, so I treat children with the same courtesy I do adults. This causes a lot of problems because it weirds adults out, and is actually in itself both rude and kind of creepy. An example is that if a child is telling me an endless story and I am supposed to be socializing with its parent, if its parent expects me to follow them or respond to something they are saying, I feel like I have to conclude things with the child first. Which will at times involve my holding up a “just a moment” hand to the adult while I wait for the child to stop its endless babbling.
I don’t know, women expect me to pay attention to their husbands when they’re telling some endless random story, so I don’t know why I’m not also expected to politely pretend that their children are interesting.
Anyway, this little girl’s father was trying to walk away with both his children and I clearly wanted to leave, but I felt like I had to keep standing there paying attention to this child. Which ultimately resulted in the man looking at me like I was the strangest weirdo ever. His expression clearly read “why are you staring at my kid for so long?” Because she was talking to me! I couldn’t figure out a way to extricate myself from the situation without offending one or the other of them, so finally I just squawked, “you girls are very sweet, thank you!” as if I were a celebrity who’d been briefly waylaid by autograph hounds and then Edith and I beat it over the next hill.
On a semi-related topic, because my mother gets up in the afternoon, she takes her morning walk just after sunset every day, which I don’t love for safety reasons, and case in point last night she was tromping through a forested area at the end of the subdivision when she came abruptly into a meadow and also directly into the midst of a pack of wild boars. “They were about knee-high like medium dogs,” she told me. “But I could hear the bigger ones grunting further back in the forest.”
Remember this infamous tweet? We all had a lot of fun with it, but what if this guy just lived in my new neighborhood.