A DAY IN THE PARK

by anna on March 4, 2009

BEING A NARRATIVE
COMPRISED OF WHOLLY ORIGINAL ELEMENTS,
BUT FOR THAT NOTABLE EXCEPTION
IN WHICH I STEAL UNABASHEDLY
FROM THE RIGHT GOODLY WORKS OF HIS HONORABLE
SIR BLACK HOCKEY JESUS.

The sun was shining, the birds were singing, and the suburbanites were out in force at the neighborhood park one recent afternoon in early March. Which is to say, last weekend. It was one of those days that come but once or twice a year in Los Angeles–an afternoon on which it is neither too hot, nor too smoggy, nor too unpredictable, and nor was it raining: we didn’t need long sleeves, but then the sun wasn’t beating down upon us like a immense earth-sized space heater, either. Which is to say, it was the weather known to outsiders as that indigenous to the Rose Bowl. In accordance, people were having birthday parties in the park, lining tables with cakes and rows of tiny green boxes filled with? candies? wedding favors? throwing stars? who knows. I know there were balloons. And it is fair to say that the collective feeling in the park was festive.

Mini had been sick the week before, but by the afternoon on Sunday he appeared to have recovered enough to warrant a trip to the jungle gyms. But things were off somehow. Maybe Mini was not as recovered as we thought. Or maybe it was the fact that he was wearing Tevas, and because of this, every time he walked through sand his feet would end up covered in sediment, a reality that caused him to shriek out at the ghastly incompetence of his parents, who were obviously not familiar enough with park protocol to know that he always–always!–must wear sneakers to avoid this nuisance of sandy feet. Still, we were at length able to get him up and running on the park’s jungle gym structure, he gravitating, as he always does, toward the biggest, most dangerous of heights, and Mr. Right-Click spotting him on the totally age-inappropriate climbs upon which he insists.

For Mini must always play the big boy, even when the real big boys are flying past him, left and right, at warp speed, seeking to avoid trampling him during his foolhardy navigation of a a play structure 3 sizes too big. Even when said big boys are making proclamations such as, “We’re going to go down this slide eleven times!” to no one in particular. Nay, even when one of said big boys insists upon carrying a terrified lop-eared rabbit with him on his trips up and down the slide, saying things like, “He wants to go again! Yeah!” and inevitably conjuring up images of a young Jeffrey Dahmer in the minds of passersby.

Wait a minute, aren’t those boys a little too large to be on these play structures in the first place? Where are their parents? Is that kid going to break that rabbit’s neck? And where did this rabbit come from? Am I in an episode of Benny Hill?

Such were my thoughts as I absentmindedly spied a little girl, about six, on the play structure, wearing a pink Dora t-shirt and leggings with sneakers. She looked at me in the manner peculiar to the latency period child, whereby your presence is acknowledged through a sense that you are being watched, even though when you look around, nobody is there but a little girl who is very busy with the climb-through tunnel. Eventually the girl said, “Daddy, I want to go on the bars,” gesturing towards the structure that is today’s more developed evolutionary descendant of the “monkey bars” on which I broke my wrist in second grade.

The little girl’s father was a middle-aged man wearing a dress shirt, shoes, and khakis. In the park. On a Sunday. And more to the point, he was otherwise occupied with trying to chase down his older child, a boy around the age of 9. The man was busy, I guess, and brushed the little girl off. He wanted her to figure out these monkey bars on her own, I suppose.

So he said, “You have to lose some weight before you can do those kind.”

The little girl continued to watch me watching her, and gave a half-smile of the confused emotion that will no doubt develop into full-blown shame in just a few short years. I looked at Mr. Right-Click. We traded confused, then sad and horrified looks. We did not speak, but Mr. Right-Click’s involuntary annoyance signal (that only I can recognize) was on red alert. Always the academic, I was momentarily distracted by the question of if, hypothetically, weight would have anything to do with one’s ability to navigate the monkey bars. Then I thought about whether I should help the girl with the monkey bars, but ultimately decided that this would be a transgression of the girl’s father’s parenting boundaries. So instead, I unsheathed my custom samurai sword, fashioned after the one used by Uma Thurman in Kill Bill, and chopped off the motherfucker’s head.

While my sword was aloft, there were of course the standard special effects. Time appeared to stand still in a Matrix-like 6 dimensional frame. You could see blood droplets suspended in the air, along with the last few breaths of the man, the sand grains sent into orbit by the quickness of my blade, the inevitable cheers from the crowd. &c. &c. All at once, time started up again, and a new head grew in place of the one I had sent flying. The new incarnation, as it turned out, was much preferable in both attitude and demeanor to its predecessor and, as luck would have it, was eerily reminiscent of Steve from Blue’s Clues.

“Would you like to get an ice cream?” the newly reheaded man asked his daughter. She nodded, smiled, and off they went to collect her ne’er-do-well sibling.

“COOL!” The boy with the rabbit yelled.
“TAKE THAT RABBIT HOME NOW!” I instructed, not wholly unkindly.
“Yes, ma’am,” the big boys said, shuffling off in fear.
“We need to talk,” said Mr. Right-Click.
“A BALL!” said Mini. “A ball! Aballaballaballaballaball!”
“Not exactly, buddy. But nice use of indirect pronoun!” I said. And we headed home, me only slightly miffed at having been called ma’am.

{ 14 comments }

foradifferentkindofgirl (fadkog) March 4, 2009 at 8:18 am

In my head, I would have totally lost my shit on that father. Seriously. I lost it reading this and wanted to tag team with you on that Kill Bill action. I felt the same way a few weeks ago when a Mom laughed at her toddler son as he brought over a book she dubbed ‘way too girly’ for her to read to him, and asked, “You don’t want to grow up to be gay, do you?” Yeah. My head exploded.

Kerry March 4, 2009 at 9:19 am

I can’t decide which is worse: “You need to lose some weight” or “You don’t want to grow up to be gay, do you?”

I’m all depressed now. What is wrong with people?

Kerry´s last blog post..Repeat After Me: I Am Not My Job

anna March 4, 2009 at 9:44 am

It’s OK, Kerry, I chopped off his head. You’re welcome.

jenni March 4, 2009 at 9:57 am

I am so glad you beheaded that stupid son of a bitch.

pamela March 4, 2009 at 2:15 pm

I loved that post where BHJ and Jackson went all Samurai on those kids. And thank God you adjusted that man’s outlook. He was a fucker.

pamela´s last blog post..hi! everyone’s great! i’m a liar!

Elizabeth Talahoro March 4, 2009 at 4:28 pm

Sooo True!

shonda March 4, 2009 at 9:56 pm

Damn you, Anna, for posting this. My dad fucked with me my whole life about my weight. There have been times, like now, that its been a real problem. But, I also think that was the result of yo-yo dieting as an adolescent. As much as it hurt having that CONSTANTLY hanging over my head with him, I can truly say he never talked about it in pubic like that. Because of what as said in private, I think this poor child probably endures more ridicule at home, poor baby.
When you described his clothes, I immediately thought he must be a divorced weekend dad. If so, I now she why.

shonda´s last blog post..Did You Say Pet Rock or Pet Mock, as in this kid is totally mocking me with that rock he’s carrying

eliz March 4, 2009 at 10:05 pm

You have to read this: http://tinyurl.com/create.php
That day at the park will be the day her world caved in. And the worse part is, if that’s what he says to her in public, what humiliations does he subject her to at home? Doesn’t the mother have a samurai sword?

eliz´s last blog post..The Myth of Mommy Time

eliz March 4, 2009 at 10:07 pm

Crap. Try this instead: http://tinyurl.com/cu9a87

eliz´s last blog post..The Myth of Mommy Time

Beccas4 March 5, 2009 at 6:38 am

I am so glad you chopped off his head, I agree with everyone else that what he says at home is probably 1,000 times worse than what he says in public. My ex has said some very ugly, homophobic things to his son when he thought noone was listening. I can never understand why some people become parents.

Deb on the Rocks March 5, 2009 at 9:33 am

Even though he couldn’t hear it yet, I bet that girl was already saying to herself “Wiggle. Your. Big. Toe.”

anna March 5, 2009 at 11:13 am

@deb touché

Jennifer, Playgroups are no place for children March 5, 2009 at 2:32 pm

That guy totally had it coming.

Poor kid, probably going to end up needing thousands of dollars in therapy.

Jennifer, Playgroups are no place for children´s last blog post..I’ve been waiting for this day since finding out that I would have a daughter

Misty May 29, 2009 at 12:14 am

I realize that this is a site for mother’s, but as being a mother myslef of 4 daughters I was looking for a website that didn’t parent bash. I realize that as I may not be the best mother in the world, I am doing the best that I know how. I suppose this man you beheaded was doing the best that he knew how as well. I am looking for a non-judging place on-line to better mine and my husband’s parenting skills. We have a 16, 14 and 7 year old twins, all of which are girls as stated above and we live near Fort Worth, Texas. Any suggestions or comments as long as they are NOT judemental, please e-mail me @ fxbratsrus7@aol.com Thanks, Misty

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