We have lived in our current home for nearly twelve years. Our neighborhood is on the smallish side, and our elementary school is smack-dab in the middle. Both of my boys attended that school from Kindergarten through fifth grade (D started Kindergarten there when we were living in a rental home in another subdivision nearby). One of the things I love about this neighborhood is that it feels a lot like Mayberry: it’s quaint, neighbors know neighbors (for the most part), and until the last couple of years it was not very transient compared to other areas in my town. I have seen lots of kids grow up here alongside my own: even if they aren’t the same age and they don’t spend time together, I have always seen the same kids at the school park, riding skateboards in the streets, playing basketball in each others’ driveways, or walking to the Dunkin Donuts outside of the neighborhood.
What I tend to forget is that even though I may be very familiar with the neighborhood kids, it doesn’t go both ways.
The other day my doorbell rang (and Roxie went crazy barking as usual) and as I went to answer it I noticed through the window that it was a kid I recognized very well. He was wearing a football uniform for our high school and I guessed (correctly) that he had stopped by with their yearly fundraising discount cards.
I opened the door and said hello, and he started right in on his mental script.
“Hi, I’m Mike Smith (name changed) and…”
I cut him off in perhaps one of the top ten self-imposed creepy moments of my life.
“Oh, I KNOW WHO YOU ARE.”
He shifted his feet uneasily. “You do?”
Realizing that I had just perhaps put this kid on high alert for child predators, I laughed nervously and said, “Yes, your dad was my younger son’s teacher and you were in our Cub Scout Pack.” (Both true.)
“Oh,” he said, a bit of relief washing over his face. “Of course. Anyway, I’m here on behalf of the **HS football team, and I was wondering if you would like to buy our…”
“Yes, of course I would. How much?”
I probably should have bought two, come to think of it. Or three.