It was a nice enough day today, so I decided to take the children and the Psychopoodle to the park. I went to the park across town, "across the tracks", in a very working class (aren't we all?) part of town that has a large grassy park with a very modern and fun playground. I've been there with the family many times before, but not on a Sunday afternoon. I wasn't there ten minutes, tossing the ball for the dog, when I got into a yelling match with a 10 year old.
"F*%#! YOU!" he screams at one of the younger, smaller children. I told him to stop using bad language around my children or go home if he couldn't control himself. Speak appropriately around these young children, not just mine.
He was quiet for a minute and then started showing off for some little girls that were up with him on the slide platform. He proceeded to tell me he didn't have to leave, he could say anything he wanted. There was no law... etc. I told him that was not so and he could go home and take the argument up with his parents.
Then, little sister I assume, chimed in. Seconded the "law" argument. I said, simply, that there were small children here and if they couldn't be respectful of EVERYONE there, then they couldn't stay. Both began arguing with me, a total stranger. A total stranger that might be substitute teaching in their school soon. I was the only adult supervising a play area that clearly states, on its playground equipment, "Adult Supervision Required". I asked him if he spoke that way at school and he said yes. I should have screamed, a la Carol Kane in the Princess Bride "LIAR!"
With every response he gave, the little jerk fluttered his eyelashes. It was the weirdest thing and I almost broke into laughter when I realized it. I was getting that shakey/warble-y inside feeling, the feeling I get when I just want to scream uncontrollably and my voice sounds like I'm hollering while on a bumpy road. I knew it was a waste of any effort on these children for the preservation of my own.
In conclusion, as I called Augusta to me from the equipment, and gathered up an about-to-scream Chuckles, I said "come on, let's go find another park where NICE children play. The children here are not nice, use bad language and are disrespectful to others." I left out that I hoped they enjoyed their futures of incarceration and drug addiction but would reflect happily on the time they spent intimidating small children in their neighborhood park, mouthing off to people they don't know.
I drove away, as the little creep was showing off some more for his harem, Chuckles sobbing and me reassuring him that we'd go to another park. Augusta and Chuckles played well with each other and I stewed. I was tempted to head home and call our police dispatcher. Intimidation is intimidation. No law protects that child's foul mouth over the discomfort of others. I told Scott what happened and he said that neither of us are good at reasoning with older children. I told him I wasn't reasoning. I was commanding. Demanding, maybe. Regardless, all those children were told, by me, that they were not nice children because of the behavior of a couple. I do feel for the teachers of these children, who go to the school I used to aide at, but strangely I feel no sympathy for their parents. None. They are not my children to raise but I will certainly protect my children from their influence.
I will return to that park. Should our paths cross, I will demand names. I should have today.