Saturday, July 24, 2021

Let It Slide

 I was going to rant about how I'm currently in Twitter jail. For a whole week. I could have appealed it, because it's completely bogus and I've discovered that Twitter frequently suspends people for completely bogus reasons.

Not Margie Four-toes, however. 
She should be suspended frequently - preferably from a flagpole
by  her freakish feet..

But honestly, it's nice to have a break from the Twittersphere. Most of the time I have to restrain myself from saying totally inappropriate things over there, so a few days of not even having the option is good for me. (Again, what got me booted was not inappropriate, unless you have a problem with the phrase "choke on a bag of d*cks.")

Still, I was going to go on a tear here about the humorous injustice of it all, poor me, etc. 

But then I saw this blog post from my friend-I've-never-met ChrisW. And I decided to share a much gentler story instead. 

If clicking on links to support other people's writing isn't your thing (which it should be *stares meaningfully*), Chris' post is about playgrounds. That's all. Just a short history and a couple of anecdotes about kids' playgrounds. His writing is always charming, and today's words were no exception. 

I love playgrounds - the kind with swings and slides and jungle gyms. My elementary school in Milwaukee had a playground that consisted of a large expanse of blacktop. It had a painted-on baseball diamond with a chain-link backstop in one corner, a small basketball court (with a hoop that perpetually lacked a net) in another, and various other painted-on features like four-squares and hopscotches and a hundred-yard running track. The only real playground equipment was behind the school, actually a couple of hundred feet off school property. And yes, we kids were allowed to traipse over there, unsupervised, to play on the swings et. al. during lunch. Such were the 70s.

And of course, it had one of these wonderful nightmares.

When Precocious Daughter was small, one of my greatest joys was taking her to the park near our house, which had an amazing playground. Multiple slides, huge climbing structures, those spring-mounted animals that you ride/bounce on, swings for days. All much better built and safer than the sharp metal death traps of my childhood. And there I was, a woman in my 30s, with carte blanche to play on all of it in the name of being a good mom. I was in heaven. 

Most parents indulge their kids with trips to the playground. After several years those roles definitely reversed. I'm sure PDaughter eventually recognized that she was being used as an excuse for me to climb on the jungle gym a couple of times a week. As always, she indulged me.

Not gonna lie, I miss the playground. I'm sure I'm not the only adult, whose children are grown but haven't yet produced children of their own, who wishes they had a reason - an excuse - to frequent the local playground without looking like a creep. In fact, I'm positive. And here's how I know.

There's a park about a block from where I currently live. It's just a small square of grass and trees, formed by the haphazard intersection of streets in a residential neighborhood. It's got a tennis court (that doubles as a basketball half-court by virtue of having a hoop erected at one end), a couple of benches, a picnic table or two, a swingset, and a small play structure to climb on.

Because this part of the neighborhood is built on a slope, the eastern edge of the park sits at the bottom of a small hill. The town thoughtfully built a stairway into the hill that descends from the street on that side to the playground below. It's not more than a dozen or so steps, but it saves (grown-up) people from having to either walk around or stutter-step down the slope.

But that's not all there is. Because someone - some city planner with a sense of humor or a big heart, or probably both - also built a slide into the side of the hill, smack-dab in the center of the concrete steps.

It's just a broad, flat piece of shiny metal set flush into the earth. If you're walking by, it might take you a moment to realize that it's meant to be an alternative approach to taking the stairs, if you're so inclined. Then you see that yes, you can park your butt on the top of the hill, give yourself a little scootch, and slide your way down to the playground.

The local park. The top of the slide is in the center 
of the picture.

I've lived a short walk from this park for almost six years. Needless to say, I've never used those stairs. 

Why walk when you can slide?

Thanks to the anonymous architect of that slide, who realized that adults might want to play - to look silly but not creepy. And to ChrisW, who gave me something to write about other than faux internet-based outrage.

Faith in humanity restored. For today.


You're thinking it, you may as well type it. The only comments you'll regret are the ones you don't leave. Also, replies to threads make puppies grow big and strong.