Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Yes, I hate picnics in the park. What hot blooded person doesn't?

Maybe I’m a real big ole’ party pooper but I have to confess that I freaking loathe end-of-the-year park picnics. Loathe is a strong word. I don’t object morally or anything. I mean, theoretically, I’m all for it. But in practice, I am no fan. And really, I am wondering if there is anyone out there with young children who actually derives pleasure from these things

The trouble is, there’s just too much goddamned wide open space. I realize this may not be a popular opinion and the free-rangers will gasp in horror and string me up but I try to avoid ay all costs combining young children and wide open space. Ample, but confined spaces, sure, Smallish but open spaces, fine. But ample and open is a disaster, particularly if you have an impulsive speed demon on your hands like I do. In these wide open spaces, your speed demon can go anywhere in the time it takes to dip a baby carrot in ranch sauce.

Primo can be trusted to hang around the general vicinity and I don’t worry too much about him venturing off the grid. But if I turn away from my daughter for two seconds, she will be halfway across the meadow, so far I can hardly make out her tiny little shape, so far she is beyond earshot, so my embarrassing bellows COME BACK RIGHT NOW! are futile, so far that even if I was in shape, which I am most definitely not, and I sprinted, I would never overtake her. Then I worry that she will be lost in the park, like Hansel and Gretel in the forest, at the mercy of wild beasts and child-crunching witches and their urban equivalent. This worry prompts me to run, pointlessly, after her, panting and screaming, threatening her with loss of dessert the whole time. When she sees me running, she runs faster. And it is at that moment that I curse end-of-the-year picnics and the maniacs that decided to create wide open green areas in the middle of a metropolis.

The idea that I could actually carry on a conversation or ingest food or drink at this kind of thing is laughable. And there’s no way my kids eat dinner during them, wither. Sneaking a dozen cookies while I’m busy recovering from a heart attack, now that, there’s plenty of. So, at 7pm, when we finally head home, I’ve got two hungry, sugared-up, cranky kids and a thirty minute walk before I can hose them down and beg them to go to sleep.

Oh, but – you’ll say – they’ll be so tired out from all their running around, they’ll go right to sleep, at least.

Yeah, right. Sure. Of course.

Tell that to the clock which reads 10:30pm while they’re still performing duets from Mulan at top voice.

There is simply no upside to an end-of-the-year picnic. Except that the kids have fun. And really, isn’t that what it’s all about? She says, sarcastically.

I’m not saying I’m going to stop attending these freaking mixers. I’m just saying I’m going to complain about it. And maybe bring a flask next time.