I just took this baby for a spin. Youngest child and I rode over to the playground and I learned a lot. Scooter riding is good exercise for both legs, and if you focus on your posture and balance and speed, you are practically doing yoga (Sting once said that he does yoga not just in a class or on the mat but all the time). A scooter rolls fast on an incline, and when I said, “Hey, these things have no brakes,” youngest child snorted and showed me the brake above the rear wheel. “You must be a junior scooterer,” he remarked. “I’ll give you tips. Tip: check your wheels for leaves. They can slow you down major.” Noted. It was a beautiful day for absorbing some vitamin D. Some other little boys rode up on bikes, and youngest child ditched me to play on the plastic equipment with them.
“My sister’s older than you,” one of them put in, and they bragged up the ladder. “My sister’s nine.” “My brother is fourteen.” “My brother is fifteen.” “My sister is seventeen.” “Oh yeah, my sister is nineteen.” Youngest child had beaten them and they all fell quiet. One of the little boys said, “Well, how old is your grandma? My grandma’s like a hundred and she’s almost dead.” I stared at him and the other little boy said to me, “Nah, his grandma’s in her fifties.” I guess she seemed really old to her grandson. My husband would be fifty soon, and me too, and we would be regarded as almost dead by elementary schoolers. This is why I color my hair.
Youngest child and the little boy with the near-dead grandma now stared at some graffiti scratched into the lip of a plastic, crawl-through tunnel. “Insert pens here,” the little boy said. “What the heck?” Youngest child read it, too. “Insert pens here.” They both laughed and crawled onto the outside of the tunnel (an illegal maneuver during school recess), and each one tried to hold on while shoving the other one off. I read the graffiti: “Insert penis here.” Nice. Later, youngest child would show us the sign language for a__hole that his tablemate had taught him at school. You hold up one hand and touch thumb to forefinger, like you’re making a peacock for shadow puppets.
While scootering, I realized that my to-do list was oppressive, and when I returned home, husband was ready to trash his, too, so we watched “Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer” with youngest child, which was a cotton candy fluff of a movie. I told husband that Heather Graham of “Boogie Nights” was in it, to try to get him interested, but he only remembered Burt Reynolds and Mark Wahlberg. However, he agreed that Heather Graham was cute when she appeared as Aunt Opal, bohemian artist lately of Bali, who had perfect blond waves in her hair, and an open smile, and all the patience in the world for making plaster-of-paris sculptures and jeweled hats out of trashcan lids, and even vacuuming, plus wearing miniskirts and packing up picnics. Youngest child and husband and I all wanted Heather-Graham-as-Aunt-Opal to come and live with us and mess up the house and trash the car and glue feathers onto bicycles.