8-Year-Olds In Our Bushes - 5/23/05
We live at the bottom of a hill in a residential area, and every Sunday the neighborhood kids gather their bikes, wagons and skate boards and have some kind of a soap box derby down the sidewalk past our house. We live second from the corner on a busy street, and the kids need a good place to stop before they coast out into traffic (bringing a certain scolding-by-mom and a possible getting-run-over-by-a-truck)... and so they stop by crashing into our hedges.

Today Kolleen was waxing her car in the driveway when an 8-year-old on a Big Wheel zipped within an inch of her car before tipping over and catapulting into our bushes. He gleefully rose to his feet, brushed himself free of leaves and debris, and scampered back up the hill for another run. No harm was done, but the question was raised: should we tell them to stop?

On one hand, they're just kids having fun. Lord knows I've done much worse, to myself, to others, to unsuspecting basements. In fact it was just last year I tried to ride a scoot-skate down a much steeper hill than ours, and nearly broke myself. I'm not so far removed from childhood that I would dare stop children from play, am I? But, on the other hand...

...those are our cars! Or more importantly, those are our liable asses if we should accidentally back over one of these kids, or have one of them dent the side of a car with their head. Not that I park in the driveway or anything, but somebody could get hurt. Or sued. But back on the first hand...

...wouldn't it be the kids' faults? It should be their parents' responsibility to keep their children out of the grills of automobiles, not the irresponsible 25-year-olds down the block. And maybe if Paulina Avenue loses a few kids, it's just the natural hand of selection at work. It'll keep the other kids from breaking our 7.5 foot basketball hoop. And yet...

...those bushes are really gross. Where do you think we dump the moldy beer pong cups after the wreckage of a tournament has sat around festering for a week? Where do you think we dump the maggotty garbage water from the can when it rains on a trash day? Where do you think I dump the bleach and lysol water after cleaning the cans out? I personally have witnessed at least 100 people urinate into said bushes, and I think Sam said he once heard two of our old meathead neighbors hooking up in them. Do these kids really want to be rolling around in that?

It's settled, then. I'm not going to tell the 8-year-olds anything.



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