Sunday, January 30, 2011

Lady, if you hurt my daughter's feelings again it's over. No, really, I mean it this time.

I know you have heard me complain about our neighborhood.

The neighbors who run an auto shop out of their carport, and have filled our cul de sac with broken down cars.

The neighbors whose children spend every play date fighting and screaming, and inevitably end each visit with one of them sobbing hysterically from a bedroom where they have been sent for a "time out".

The neighbor who lives on the mainland and comes to Hawaii to buy cases of "fresh" spam, because the spam on the mainland isn't fresh enough. This is the same guy who wears cut off jean shorts that are So Short that the pockets hang out the leg holes (along with other things, I would imagine - these shorts are really short. They are the hotpants of jean shorts.)

The neighbor who - instead of knocking on our door - called the Humane Society because my puppies got out of the fenced yard and were running in the street and barking and bothering him.

The neighbor who walks slowly to the bus stop at least once a day dragging a wheeled backpack behind him.

The neighbor who feeds wild dogs that live in the gulch behind his house. He literally has a pack of wild dogs in his backyard.

The neighbor who stands outside and talks to her pussy (which I hope to God is her cat but, you know, I still haven't been able to verify that.)

We have, by all accounts, a very colorful neighborhood.

But the neighbor that continuously manages to hurt feelings and offend callously is the one who alternates trading playdates and family dinners, with stony silence.

Case in point:
I got a text on WEDNESDAY asking to plan a playdate for SUNDAY. Now, that is a lot of notice for a playdate with your next door neighbor. I would even go so far as to say that was a little TOO much notice.

It was weird.

But I said yes, of course, because our daughters are about the same age and OF COURSE my social butterfly would want to have that playdate. As it is, she stares longingly out the window several times each and every day, asking when the next playdate is.

So yee haw, we had our selves a date for play. I put it in my phone, for God's sake. This was happening.
But I kept it a secret. I wanted it to be a surprise. And a 5 year old has absolutely ZERO concept of time. So I was't going to tell her until right before the neighbor arrived. On Saturday, I touched base to say that we were going to the beach in the morning, so rather then meet right after lunch, perhaps we could do it closer to 2:30pm. I mean, they live 100 yards away. It's not that big a deal. And I was giving, like, 24 hours notice. For a revised start time. For a playdate.

And the mom wrote back to say that they were going to be out too, and she would let me know what their timing was.

So we go to the beach.
And we rush home.
And I get the kids all cleaned up.
And we wait for the call signalling the beginning of the long-awaited play date.

The phone does not ring.
All afternoon, there was not a single call or text.

My daughter sat on the back of the couch, watching out the window, waiting for her friend to pop out of the gate and come bouncing down the street.

She never came.
Two other kids came to play, and that was fun.......but Lucy had her heart set on her girlfriend coming over. She had laid out her toys, put on a special outfit, cleaned her room, and then she waited, so patiently. She kept busy. She asked every so often what time it was, or asked me to check and see if I had gotten a text.

And as it started to get dark, and we put away the toys, and we started talking about what she wanted for dinner, it dawned on her that her friend was not coming.

And she was devastated.

It would have taken 15 seconds to send a text. To let us know that plans had changed.
But I guess when you are really busy - so busy that you have to plan playdates 5 days in advance - I guess you don't have the time to contact a 5 year old girl - one that you could probably see sitting in the window waiting. Because she was waiting, you know.

She's 5. A minute can feel like an eternity when you are 5.
And a no-show on a playdate, sitting on the couch all of those long, lonely minutes, waiting for a friend who never arrives......well, that sort of thing can break a 5 year old heart.

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