Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Kid Pizza? Sorry. I'm on a Diet

Dear Eve,

I live in a fairly quiet residential neighborhood... EXCEPT that our neighborhood is a cut through between two busy streets and folks fly down the main drag as if it's the straight-away at NASCAR! I'm not a mom (yet!), but there are children in the neighborhood. There's a family a few houses down from me. There's never a parent in sight when 3-4 children are playing in the road, paying no attention to the zooming cars. If not for fate/timing, there would have a been a tragic accident as people zoomed in and out.

I don't want to be a busybody, but I also don't want to see these children get killed on our street.

Help?



Dear Nosey Nora,

The first thing you need to do is put all of your Doubts and Afraids out the door and nicely tell them to go die in a fire. When kids and safety are involved you are morally obligated to do something. When there are no parents around, your first step is to talk directly to the children. Tell them, nicely but firmly, that they should not be playing in the road because cars are not obeying the speed limit and they can get hurt. Let them know that you can see them from your house and if it happens again, you are going to talk with their parents.

When you do talk to the parents, which you probably will have to, remember that your concern is keeping the kids from being road pizza. Tell the parents about the situation, that you already talked to the kids and that, in your estimation, the situation is a dire one. Before you leave, tell them that you are going to call the city to report the dangerous traffic for the safety of the whole neighborhood.

When you do call the city, brief them about the situation. They probably won't help because that would require them to work, but your work is done unless the kids start playing in the street again. If they do, call the police non-emergency line and tell an officer about the problem and ask that someone come and talk to the kids. This might seem like over-stepping but it's not. If an officer were to come down the road on their own, I'm sure they would talk to the kids anyway. Now your obligation is done and all you can do is hope that the kids are more scared than they are stupid. Now that you've done your due diligence, pat yourself on the back, then look in the mirror and see the neighborhood hero. You have officially earned your cape and I am so very proud of you.

Then again, this does seem like an awful lot of work. How 'bout this? Make some cookies and share them with the weakest kid in the pack. Convince the kid to put ketchup all over his face and neck and lie on the side of the road moaning. When he's in place, you quickly rush to his side, lean over him and start wailing. Beat your breast. Gnash your teeth. Ask the heavens why oh why did you have to take Johnny? Why? Make enough noise to bring out the whole neighborhood. After the mom faints and recovers, help the kid up and you both can take a big bow! You made your point and no one is mad at all! You can leave, feeling proud that you taught them all a lesson and you can believe that no is going to forget this. In fact, I bet they bring a torch and some pitchforks to your house that night to help you do a little late night gardening. Lesson learned: Neighbors are awesome.

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