Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Courtney the Curdmudgeon; Or, "Hey, Kids! Stop Touching My Rocks!"

As I telecommuter, I often work from the luxury of my living room couch.  Our living room is in the front of the house, and the couch is right next to a big window that overlooks our street.  I have a prime view of our front lawn, parkway, and all the neighborhood shenanigans. 

Our parkway (aka the strip of land between the street and the sidewalk) used to be a frightening mess of ivy.  It was disgusting and infested by who-knows-what.  We had the ivy removed and replaced with small white river pebbles.  

The neighborhood children, ages 2-7, are fascinated with the pebbles in front of my house.  They stop, stare, touch, scatter, kick, manhandle and steal my pebbles.  Overall, it does not matter.  The pebbles are in good condition and the parkway looks attractive, no matter how many children stop and steal.  Besides, childhood is such a precious, fleeting moment and children should be encouraged to enjoy nature and the wonders of the world.

But it still bugs the hell out of me.

I love children, but whenever I see a child crouching before my pebbles, I cringe.  I stop whatever I am doing and watch through the blinds.  I have to resist the urge to run outside and shout something like, "Hey you kid!  Get away from my rocks!" 

My reaction baffles me.  I sat on a crowded bus in Paris and exchanged silly faces with a Parisian five-year-old.  I worked at a summer day camp for four years not for the easy riches but because it was fun.  Once, in a hotel room in D.C., I let my best friend's baby sleep on top of me for over an hour, even though my need to use the bathroom was dire.  I just love children so much.

Except when they are stealing my freaking rocks.  STOP.  STEALING.  MY.  ROCKS.  Hey, kids, if you like my pebbles so much, I have an idea: grow up; get a job; and buy your own freaking rocks.  Seriously, you probably already have an iPhone, a video game system and a robot slave.  Must you steal my pebbles as well?