You know how parents stand around in the park making casual conversation as their children play together. I do the same and while many parents remain just acquaintances, of many casual conversations have come a few good friendships.
One fine Wednesday evening I sat enjoying the breeze and watching my little girl play mindless games with a bunch of other kids. I indulged in the usual chit chat with other parents – about school, homework, lunch boxes, and the state of the nation.
Soon a spitting competition started as one boy began to spit onto the sidewalk. My daughter joined him in great enthusiasm. I called her over “Please stop doing that. Its not good manners”.
“But” She protested “Brett’s mama isn’t saying anything”. I pulled her closer and whispered “Just because she hasn’t taught him his manners, doesn’t mean your mother wont teach you. You cannot just go around spitting. Now stop that silly game”. With much reluctance she watched him enviously for a minute, spitting away, and then found herself another game to play. I looked over at the mother, who seemed blind to this performance and just as I wondered if I should let her know, the child stopped and ran to another game.
Come Friday, as we were strolling around, my little girl spotted Brett and his mom. As we approached, the mother greeted us warmly. “Would you like to play with Brett?” she asked… Mini me thought about it and said “Umm..No. My mother said you haven’t taught him any manners”. Moment of awkward silence – I let out a high pitched nervous laugh and practically shouted “Ok, see you both later”…as I tugged Mini Me along. I wondered if Brett’s mother’s stone face could notice that my legs were speed walking across the park.
Definitely lost one person for casual conversation since….