Perhaps it was the soccer hoards that set me off, the wildly tame throngs of vanilla-coated parents milling around, polluting the wide sidewalks with their talk of mini-vans, which sports darling Shelby and little Jackson plan on playing this year, the extremely anti-hip whine of their ring-tones emanating from their L.L. Bean pockets and their refusal to step aside when Duncan and I pass through. "Excuse me.... excuse me...." I say as we wind past them while they merely stare, slack-jawed and vapid in their refusal to budge an inch, as hostile as if I were asking them to co-sign on a loan. "Excuse me," I say again, but what I really want to yell is "Get the hell out of my way for once, won't you?!"
I do not like them and what they and their shrill children do to my park. Each night after they depart they leave the field covered in empty, crushed water bottles, forgotten socks, crumpled bags of fast food and their careless, selfish disrespect. Duncan and I walk the park every day, several times, picking up after them, playing in the grass, laying under the trees, chasing bunnies, and they could care less. The park I call a second home is simply backdrop to them. They don't see it. Hell, most of them don't even notice their children being screamed at by the coaches they've hired to babysit.
This time of year is always difficult, the slow transition from the Summer's exuberance to the tame melancholy of Autumn and the invasion of the inconsiderate after-school crowds. I should be used to it by now, but something about today has convinced me that I can't do it again. As much as we love the lake and the rolling hills, chasing the bunnies, being close to the mountains and our magnificent and violent sunsets, I don't think I have it in me to spend another year in the languid indifference of this suburb. I would gladly trade it for a small apartment in an old converted Victorian down on Capitol Hill, surrounded by diversity and excitement. I'd gladly trade the nearby Applebee's and Red Lobster for a quiet mom-and-pop joint. And I could certainly do without the two hours of commute time each day. Duncan and I could use a change of scenery and people.
And we could certainly do without this particular brand of mindless insanity greeting us in the mornings and following us around the lake each night.
It might have been the soccer hoards but I'm quite sure this was the cherry on the banana split of our walk this afternoon. It took all the strength I had to not scream out, "No one likes you! No one likes your music! The only people paying attention are your parents and even they can't wait to sell that damn trombone!"
But I'm nicer than that so I'll move next Spring and we'll find a more Duncan and Curt-like place somewhere out there in the world. There has to be some place. I'm sure of it.