It is an unbelievably beautiful day here in Evans, CO. Sunny, probably about 65, with a slight breeze and nary a cloud in the sky. Incredibly grateful for this retreat from the harsh Chicago winter I left behind yesterday, I headed out this afternoon for a walk around the neighborhood.
After a circuit around the empty park in the middle of the square, I felt the swings beckoning me. After a few minutes of pumping my legs with vigor, I allowed myself to slow to a leisurely pace, enjoying the gentle rush of air on each upswing and the steady warmth of the sun on my back. I was then mildly startled by a voice behind me, informing me that I wasn't doing it right. "You have to pump your legs if you want to go fast," a little boy of maybe 5 told me as he strode up. Admittedly out of practice when it comes to conversing with kids, I opened my mouth to defend my slowed pace by explaining the joys of calm introspection accompanied by ingrained kinesthetic movements. He cut me off within seconds, instructing me to give him a good push on the next swing over so that he could show me how it's done. Okay, fine.
When my new (but very bossy) friend named Russell became bored with the swings, he compelled me to spin him on the merry-go-round. (His cries of "Faster! Faster!" were not deterred by my explanation that a good dose of WD-40 would be the only way that thing would go any faster.) Next he instructed me to join him on the 4-way plastic seat bouncy thing (undoubtedly there is a better name for it, but I find my playground vocabulary limited). After some pretending that wood chips served as the gas for his motorcycle shaped seat as well as the food needed to make my plastic stallion really gallop (it took me a while to catch on to this, much to Russell's exasperation; in my defense, the kid does not enunciate) I made the fatal decision to switch to the frog.
I approached the frog from the left and swung my right leg around to the other side; it was then that I heard that sound you really hope to never hear in public: rrrrrrrrrrrrriiiiipppp! I don't think Russell even heard it (mercifully he was making motorcycle revving noises at the time) but I knew in an instant that the tiny hole in my jeans that I had noticed at some point during our 13 hour drive yesterday had just become a rather substantial tear, dangerously close to exposing my bright yellow briefs to the world (or at least a stranger kid on a plastic motorcycle, which is not at all appropriate).
And that was the end of my traveling pants. Based on precedent, I knew that the kid was not game for lengthy explanations, so I said simply, "Uh, Russell, I've got a hole now, and I need to go home and change my pants." He was remarkably nonplussed by this, and made me promise to come back and play some more, which in my mortification I numbly agreed to, and I made a beeline back to C & J's. Feeling bad about breaking a promise, even to a stranger kid, I headed back out to the playground about 10 minutes later only to find that I had been replaced as his partner in play by a group of kids that had arrived in my absence. Not wanting to stick around to be dubbed "the lady with the hole in her pants" (even though it seemed Russell had already forgotten all about me) I made another circuit around the neighborhood and went back inside.