When I was a kid, the alley down the middle of our block was our playground because it was devoid of traffic. We’d ride our bikes there, set off fireworks, have snowball fights and water balloon fights, and just be kids.
For a short time in the 1970s, the house right across the alley from ours was occupied by a couple who either didn’t have children or had already reared and launched them. They didn’t seem to like kids much, especially when said kids were acting like kids and especially not us. I remember one evening my brother and I and at least one other neighbor were riding our bikes repeatedly past this woman’s kitchen window (which faced the alley) until she came bolting out of her house screaming at us to go home and stay there. She seemed to us to be quite unhinged, and because we were sadistic little creeps (like most normal kids), we laughed at her and kept doing it until our parents finally told us to stop.
Well, time passes, and we get older, and the innocent shenanigans of children seem less and less entertaining–at least to those of us who do not have children.
A small troupe of preteens in my neighborhood roams ceaselessly up and down in front of my house on their skateboards and scooters on the weekends, the wheels of which make a distinctive whup-whup-whup along the seams in the sidewalk that drives my dogs nuts; they can hear it coming long before the kids come into sight and start barking as soon as they do to make sure I know what’s going on. So I get to watch the same kids rolling up one block and down the other all day long, with repeated twin outbursts of Schnauzer barking as they go … All. Day. Long.
I’m really starting to sympathize with that long-ago neighbor lady. And she didn’t even have yappy little dogs! I’m not going to run into the street screaming at these kids to go home and stay there, by any means (because, in fairness, they don’t do anything other than pass by–repeatedly), but I am feeling a frustration that is certainly irrational and unfair, but is also, nevertheless, surprisingly intense. There are definitely parts of this “being a grown-up” deal that are not much fun.