When I’m doing good, I make it to the gym 4-5 times a week. I don’t go to the meat market places. I frequent our neighborhood YMCA. It’s a great facility with all the state of the art equipment, indoor pool, indoor track, sauna. It’s a pretty swank place for YMCA. Adjacent to the YMCA is a daycare center. It’s a place where people drop their kids off so that they can go to work and make enough money to keep their little rugrats fed, clothed, and spoiled. I walk by this daycare every day that I am going to the Y. They have a little playground yard with some play equipment with a large rod iron fence around it as if these kids are some kind of fucking zoo exhibit. That makes a lot of sense since, in my opinion, most little kids are just loud, annoying monsters just begging for attention; the kind of attention that I just don’t want to give them. Hell, I never had kids, never wanted them, and never will so why should I act like I love them? Ok, I’m getting sidetracked.
So the other day I’m walking by the child exhibit as they play in their natural habitat but my attention is drawn to this one kid. There were probably about 10 or 15 of them running around, falling on top of each other, and screaming bloody murder as they fight over a ball, or a truck, or whatever the latest hip toy for toddlers is but there was this one kid. He looked like he was maybe 3 or so but as my eyes connected with his, he looked as if he could be 18 or 25. He literally looked like a prison inmate with his hands on the bars and his face looking between the rod iron bars as if to say, “Get me out of here.” He looked at me, I looked at him. I stopped, I smiled, and I waved at him. He smiled and waved back at me and said, “Bye, mister!”
As I went in about my routine workout I couldn’t help but think of that kid. I felt like I was looking back at myself. I hated being a kid. Being a kid sucked. Even as a little kid, kids didn’t really like me. They didn’t hate me but they didn’t like me. I wanted so bad to be liked but I just really wasn’t. That lasted up until high school when I just couldn’t give a fucking rat’s ass who liked me or not. I vividly remember my senior year of high school while other kids said things like, “This is the best time of our lives” and “We will never forget this moment” I just wanted to so badly to forget it ever happened. Those kids thought this was the best time of their lives? I’d hate to see what their future lives would be like if this was the highlight and high point of their lives. I would sneak out of the lunch room sometimes and go have a smoke and I would see a plane flying overhead. I would wonder if they could see me. I would wonder where they were going. I would wish I was one of them going to anywhere but where I was.
I thought about that kid and I wanted to just tell him that things get better. I wanted to tell him that being an adult kicks fucking ass. I wanted to tell him that he too could live a life where at 8am on Wednesday morning you could be going to the gym, then going to the farmers market, then going home to walk your dog on this gorgeous, sunny, clear blue sky day. I wanted to tell him that while being a kid sucks, you have to just push through it and that the real payoff is in the end. As I left the gym they were all still outside playing but my little self was now playing with a truck with some other kid; the two of them tucked into a corner of the playground by themselves away from the screaming hyenas completely ignored by the others. I wanted to also tell him that to be invisible, transparent, and honest with himself would get him through life just fine. In school, you’ll be all those things but as an adult, people will like you, girls will like you, and most importantly, you’ll like yourself.