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Open Letter to the Man Every Child within a Five-Mile Radius of our House Calls ‘Mr. Cranky’:
You know what? I’m ok with you lecturing me on the dangers of allowing my children to ride their bikes in the street, I can ignore your huffing indignation as you get your mail, and I can roll my eyes (privately) at your fuming looks, but when you yell directly at my kids? That, my friend, is when I stop caring that you’re an oxygen tank-carrying member of our senior population. In other words? Game on.
P.S. No one wants to be you when they grow up.
Sincerely, The Mother you Think is Negligent
Allow me to paint a better picture. This guy acts like (and oddly, looks just like) the old man in Up, minus the heart-tugging backstory and endearing bunch of balloons. Why does every neighborhood have to have at least one resident like this, with a perfect lawn and shuttered windows and a mean scowl that children fear? Are they stationed strategically or do the powers-that-be saturate the areas with the highest kid populations? This guy drives a huge, noisy pickup truck, and if kids are playing outside as he drives past our house, he likes to slow to a crawl so that it‘s practically idling gas fumes in the childrens‘ faces (who are by now safely stationed on the sidewalk), then bellow out his open window “GET OUTTA THE STREET!”
And yes, I do allow my kids to play in the street (with the 20-odd other children who gather there) because we live in an isolating era with video-games and the internet and small, fenced backyards, and I prefer to sit outside on my Adirondack chair reading my mail while my kids get to know their neighborhood. It goes without saying that we live on a quiet residential block, conducive to kids setting up a nice flag football game where every ten minutes or so they happily holler, ‘Caaaaarrrrrr’, and scurry out of the way.
Isn’t that what kids did when he was growing up? It’s certainly what I did when I was growing up, and that was only about 20 years past. In Toby’s words, “That man must have been a kid 400 years ago.”
“Yeah,” Nate mused. “Or at least before cars.”
If only that could explain it.