94. Swinging and Sliding:
My mother always used to tell me:
“Wash your hands after using the playground equipment. You never know what kind of people could have used it.”
What did she mean by ‘kind of people?’ Was there a certain kind of person who used swings and slides? And considering that the majority of people were kids, what kind of kids did she think they were?
I must admit, I was very confused by all of this and so I took it upon myself to find out exactly what ‘kind of people,’ could be found in the park using the playground equipment.
I took to sitting in the park every single day after school with my notebook and pencil, writing down descriptions of the people who came and went. All kids of course.
I did this for years until I reached the grand old age of what I considered to be an adult: 21. I didn’t feel like an adult, but where I’m from 21 is the legal age for things like drinking alcohol and buying cigarettes. Apparently that’s when the authorities consider you to be mature enough to make the right decisions.
Now that I’m 33, I realised I still can’t make the right decisions. Just because you’re an adult doesn’t make you any wiser than some kids I know and age is simply a number.
Oh, and the ‘kind of people’ who use playground equipment…
It turns out that they’re mostly adults, just like me. They usually come late at night and enjoy swinging and sliding down the slippery dip. They’re businessmen and women looking slightly disheveled or perhaps just more relaxed than usual, enjoying some peace and quiet. Sometimes you can find them having a beer or cigarette, but sometimes all they need is a little serenity and a reminder that they might look like an adult, but they’re still just a kid inside.