Most of us are familiar with the phrase “don’t talk to strangers.” Well, from what I can tell, kids these days have no concept of this rule. Or maybe it doesn’t apply when there’s a friendly dog anywhere near the stranger. I don’t know. Allow me to tell you about two interactions I’ve reluctantly had with some of the kids in my neighborhood this past week:
Reluctant Interaction #1:
Remember Neighbor Girl from last year? Well, don’t you worry. There’s a new Neighbor Girl in town (we’ll call her Neighbor Girl #2, or NG#2). Actually, she’s not new at all. She used to hang out with NG#1. NG#2 likes to pet my dog during our walks, but I don’t think we’ve ever exchanged more than a quick hello.
Anyway, while walking Bella earlier this week, NG#2 came running up to us. This is the approximate conversation that took place:
NG#2: “Hi! I remember your dog!” (Pets dog and gets all up in her grill).
CC: “Oh, yeah, I remember you petting her before.”
NG#2: “She got out that one time and my friend and I found her. We didn’t know what her name was, so we named her Crystal. Then we played with her and fed her dog food and treats!”
NG#2: “Yeah, we took care of her for like, 5 hours.”
CC: “I’m pretty sure that was a different dog. Mine has never gotten out before. I think one of the neighbors over there (pointing) has a dog that looks just like her. Maybe that’s the dog you’re thinking of.”
NG#2: “No, it was your dog. I know it was. Remember…there was the black man?”
NG#2: “Yeah, this nice black man came looking for her. He was driving down the street calling out for her. Don’t you remember?”
CC: “No. That definitely wasn’t my dog. Well, we better get going, bye!”
NG#2: “Bye!” (runs off)
Reluctant Interaction #2:
Midway through one of our walks last week, Bella and I came upon a group of neighborhood boys playing football. I once passed this same group and heard one of them (about 12 years old) talking about all the girls he had dated. Hey kid, try waiting until college to date like the rest of us. Oh, maybe that was just me.
Anyway, I purposely avoided making eye contact to avoid any kind of interaction, but to no avail. Just as we started to pass them, I heard one of them shout “Can I get your number?!” I pretended I didn’t hear anything and increased my pace. He continued to shout- “Hey! I want your number!” Again, I acted as if I couldn’t hear a thing, turned my head in the opposite direction and went into full blast power walking mode. He yelled it one last time as I made my escape.
What I wanted to say was “Can a woman not walk down the street in a frumpy, ‘please, nobody look at me, I’m just trying to walk my dog so she can transition from obese to mildly overweight in a healthy manner’ outfit in peace?! Also, I’m probably old enough to be your mom, assuming I got pregnant in 7th grade. If you want to impress your friends, shouting at people you don’t know isn’t the way to do it. Learn to break dance. Or juggle. What?! Juggling takes serious skill! And what the heck? I’m the adult. I’m supposed to be the scary stranger that makes kids uncomfortable, not the other way around. Go inside and play with your Pogs or something.”
Thanks for reading! Now go play with your Pogs or something.