But at least this one isn't about me getting really angry at a homeless man's badgering for money. Nope. The only person I got really annoyed with was a child.
For the second weekend in a row we took Mateo to the park. This park is a really big park, lots of grassy areas, picnic tables, has a lake, soccer fields, softball fields, playgrounds up the wazoo, snack bars, geese poop, lots of people; it really is a central park of the city it sits in.
Last weekend there was a huge soccer thing going on, with radio stations and people grouped together to watch and eat food and just hang out. Plus birthday parties, people playing volleyball, and random families just walking around with their kids (like us). There were a lot of people, but it wasn't bad. No one was acting the fool or bothering other people. We came, we popped a balloon, we left. Mateo had a good time. My husband even mentioned how people can come together and not kill each other. It was that good.
Then yesterday we went to park, and there was another soccer thing going on, plus a ton of parties. We had to park far away from the playground area, so we took our time walking over there, kicking a ball we brought with us. Mateo was having a good time just being free to run around and not being told to stop and no and don't go there.
We got closer to the pathway to the playground, and two men were walking from that area to the parking lot. That was when one of the men threw his can of soda (or beer - never was sure) against a tree and kept walking. My husband and I watched them walk away, without a single thought about what one of them just did.
And of course, like a bad joke, there was a garbage can a bit more down the path, where they were heading.
They soon headed back up the pathway, carrying a cooler full of presumably more cans to toss to the side. All the time Mateo was running around and screaming in glee, never once realizing how thoughtless these men were being to the public park.
It just made me sick. Sick and sad.
Sick because I wanted to scream at them for being total inconsiderate jerks to do that right in front of other people and who the heck do they think they are and etc., etc., etc..
Sad because my son is going to grow up in this world where people do these things and just don't care. Like it's their right to trash a public space that thousands of people use and enjoy. Sad because he is so innocently oblivious to all this. Sad because I immediately started looking around at all the people coming and going and feeling a sad fear for my child because of what he'll see and hear while at the flipping PARK of all places.
We didn't stay too long. Not too much of a surprise. There were way too many people smoking (including some kid sneaking a cigarette behind a tree), acting the fool, thinking they're gangster, not to mention all the garbage just left on the ground, next to the park benches. The playground had shoes and bottles and other garbage stuck in the sand, which of course is the first thing a toddler wants to investigate.
We carefully watched him, let him have his fun (including climbing up a tube slide and then going down - daredevil on our hands? I say yes.), and then we slowly walked back to the car. Mateo definitely didn't feel he was done, and began to whine and cry and flip and flop, but we got him in the car and off we went.
I told my husband I didn't want to go to that part of the park anymore. There is another small kids' playground way on the other side of the park, and I would just prefer to go over there where there are more families and less large parties of people trying to act tough.
All this makes me wonder what Mateo will be faced with as he gets older and enters public school. All this makes me want to move even more. Or home school. Or trap Mateo in a bubble where only I can get to him.
And yes, I blame this all on soccer.