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Here’s a thing I did this morning.

My son is just getting into playgrounds. He’s still learning to walk, but he loves the swings and the slide and it’s a great place for him to practice walking because the surface is sand and not hardwood floor. We live about two blocks away from one.

We were on our way there this morning when I saw a woman up ahead push a stroller around the corner onto the street with the playground. I thought oh no someone else is going to be there and turned that stroller around tout de suite, like HOW ABOUT THIS OTHER STREET OK OTHER STREET.

After walking around the neighborhood a bit, I went back down the block toward the playground. Still there? Ok, turn this shit around.

I went back a third time and she was still there, for the love of god. I turned around, naturally. But a few steps later, I realized how ridiculous I was being, turned back yet again, and walked to the playground. Actually, it wasn’t even that I realized I was being ridiculous? It was that I thought about how this scenario would sound to a normal person if I described it out loud. That’s what got me to walk through that gate.

Cut to the two of us pushing our kids on the swings next to each other chatting about the neighborhood and other such horrors.

Of course she was very nice and I’m glad we met.

It’s just- I’m a capital-I introvert living somewhere near the border of social phobia, and now I’m suddenly experiencing it from the point of view of a parent. It’s a whole new world here and it includes this new terrifying social hellscape: the playground.

 

Image credit: Carolina Raquel Antich

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