Archive | 11:58 PM

The Lurkers

17 Sep

You ever have that one couple that always seems to pop out at the most inopportune time?

You’re at the park, packed up, ready go, practically walking on the sidewalk trying to make your way home because you have to make dinner, give the kids a bath, and put them to bed. It’s a race. A race for your sanity and you’re just trying to win because if you’re late everything gets screwed up and the bedtime battle lasts longer than your patience can withstand.You’ve got everything timed just so and then …  they come out with their kids waving hello, and striking up conversation about arsenic in apple juice. What? Yeah.

The Lurkers

You try the nodding thing for about three minutes but then the conversation continues and now they’re talking about effectiveness of balancing bikes as your kid is riding his bicycle with training wheels. You wish the encounter had some kind of Bat Cave exit.  But no … there’s no way of getting out of it immediately  without looking like a jackass. You so wish you had Larry David there for back up because you know he’d come through for you.

But you’re solo.

So you do your fifteen-to-twenty-minute polite talk because your kid likes to play with their kids. Their kids get your kid all riled up running up and down the grass, and you’ve just finished an hour-long baseball, soccer, golf, hide-and-seek, and tag marathon. You swear you don’t know where this energy is coming from. All you can think about is how to stop this, because your bedtime battle will definitely be extended.

However during the conversation you notice something about the couple’s dynamic. You hadn’t really noticed it immediately, but now you’re pretty sure of it. Whenever couples hang out, there always seems to be the cool, nice, easy-going one and then there’s the other one. The chink in the chain — the one with all the trivial pursuit game questions for conversation starters.

No one wants to hang out with that.

So then I realized that sometimes the chain needs a break, thus the constant flagging me down when I’m trying to rush home, probably because she’s tired of the trivial pursuit type of conversations. You feel bad because you realize that the lady is really nice, she just got the short end of the stick.

But even though you feel sympathy for your fellow chick, you can’t keep going with this charade. So you start with the signals — the hey-son-you-got-five-minutes-left warning, the hey I-think-my-kid-is-crying-because-she’s-hungry reason, and the yeah we better get going soon because it’s getting dark and the moon is out.  But the dude doesn’t get it. He keeps talking about the effectiveness in compost.

But she does. So she calls for her kids and says she needs to get dinner started. You sigh in relief and try to wave your kids in as quickly as possible and blurt out the words good-bye, before he starts another conversation.

You escape. Finally.

But three days later you show up at the park again at a completely different time, hoping not to run into anybody, but you know that there out there somewhere — the lurkers. They’re out there.