Monday, August 18, 2014

I wish I could go to the park

In my still-new (to me) neighborhood, I live very close to the Hillsborough River. There's a little park there with benches where you can sit and watch the water and the fish and birds and maybe an alligator or two. Fresh air. Sunshine. Very tranquil and relaxing. I wish I could go there.
"What's stopping you? It's a short walk from your house. Go to the park and hang out."
That was a comment from someone who doesn't get it. She doesn't share a point of reference so she can't possibly relate, but I happen to be at that awkward stage in life where I can't just go to a park and hang out. I'm not welcome there. I'm a 50-year-old single white male. There is literally nothing I can do at a park by myself that is not inherently creepy. If something tragic ever happens at a park, the police are writing a description of me before they even interview a witness. Maybe, maybe, if I were few years younger or older, I could go to the park. Or if I were walking a dog or toting kids of some kind, but definitely not now, not as is. Nobody wants to see me sitting there, smiling at their children. Young women in yoga pants don't want to try to guess if they can outrun me (spoiler alert; most, not all, probably can). Guys who do have dogs don't want me petting theirs. There would be people calling the cops if I drive by too slowly. The only people happy to see a 50-year-old single white man show up at the park is other 50-year-old single white men, and even then, it's not for good reasons.

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