Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Loitering 101

Or, how NOT to look dodgy when waiting for kids to clear off the swings

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Today we visited Meadows West, the other, lesser playground on the Meadows.  I arrived first at approximately 6 PM, and was dismayed to find the place overrun with children.  Indignant, impatient, and a bit baffled, I huffed a bit and then sat down on a bench directly opposite to wait for the other contributors. 'Why are all these children here?' I thought. 'Surely there must be a feeding trough somewhere with several empty spaces?' (It seemed about time for dinner, if you are British and under the age of 12)  It occurred to me that playgrounds represent, in many senses, a type of pig-pen or corral designed to prevent children from escaping and wreaking havoc on the rest of us.  It also occurred to me that it was a good thing I am a girl, because nowadays people are suspicious of adults sitting on benches watching children play.

stock photo of an average child

This brings me to the point of this post: how to avoid looking like a potential child molester when all you really want to do is play on the monkey bars.
  • be female
  • if you have the misfortune to be male, try to trick a female into accompanying you
  • find something to occupy your attention (phone, magazine, etc) and avoid watching the children too closely
  • crane your neck one way or the other, squinting into the distance, as if looking for the imaginary person you are waiting to meet
  • take care to avoid obvious photo-taking, unorthodox clothing, and muttering to oneself 
 That about sums it up.  Good luck folks - get out there and get playing!!  And if the cops ask you why you're loitering by a children's play park, feel free to direct them to this blog.  Or run.

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