Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Nobody Walks In Dayton

I am by no means an athlete. I try to stay active, but I am easily discouraged by things like temperature and precipitation. I make a great effort every spring to get out and rebuild some of my lost lung capacity. My resolve is usually mush by June, when the suffocating heat kicks in. So, I force my weary self and my dawdling child to walk as often as weather permits. Today, it was a fine day and we trucked up the hill to the park. We take a circuitous route, so as to avoid the steep ascent of Wyoming Street. I am sure that if my legs were in better shape, we could get to our destination much quicker by taking the direct path, but right now I am taking it easy. The round trip is a little over a mile. Halfway to the park, on a quiet, level street, I begin to fantasize about living in one the houses that we pass. The houses are old, many are exact copies of my own. The only real difference is that Gunkel Street lacks a steady stream of speedy traffic. Violet is already tired by the time we arrive at the playground and mostly wants to swing. We meet a few kids, get licked by an enormous dog and then meet a few more kids. The latter duo of siblings gets there 20 minutes after us and they arrive by car. There is no sanctioned parking lot at this city playground, so their parents have parked in an alley driveway behind the bathrooms. Daddy has one full sleeve of tattoos and Mommy has one visible on the side of her neck. I have tats myself, but the throat writing always reminds me of livestock branding and I immediately begin to look for signs of domestic abuse. The children are close to Violet's age, a boy and a girl, and they are unusually frightened of the equipment. The parents don't really help. I practically force Violet to venture away from the swings and do some climbing. I insist that she try. When Violet skips down the ladder/steps on her behind and begins to cry, I make a halfhearted effort to get her back in the saddle. We are too tired to recover and I scoot her along with her wet face to exit the park. As we are coming to the bottom of the first hill, only two blocks from the park, I catch of glimpse of Neck Tat Mommy getting out of her car. "Do you live around here?", she asks. "Yeah, we live down on Wyoming Street," I gesture in that direction. "I could have given you a ride," she says. I explain that we are walking for exercise and she calls me honey. I'm pretty sure she's not old enough to drink. This family could have rolled down the hill faster than it took them to buckle and drive and unload. They were at the park for only 15 minutes. I feel superior in their presence and muster a little extra energy for the rest of my journey.

blog comments powered by Disqus
Related Posts Widget for Blogs by LinkWithin