The Sorrows of Young Werther: May 15.
Teenagers DON'T scare the livin' shit out of me.
Two weeks have passed and the people here know me by now, like me, particularly the children. At first they didn’t, they really, really didn’t. Most of the neighbor kids gave me a Look and turned away when I first asked them about their plans for the summer and the like. I didn’t take it personally, really, I respect that they’ve been taught about stranger danger. Too them, I look like some random adult they’ve never met before, a guy who hangs out on the porch of his aunt all day with nothing better to do. Also an adult who wears very clean sneakers and hunts for the weak wifi signal like an animal. Strange city boys are not to be trusted!
They’re right, of course. Some days I don’t trust myself.
I’m aware of how different the ways are in which I grew up and they are right now, but I don’t look down on them for being working class or teens or whatever. If my mom hadn’t moved to the city, I too could’ve called the fountain or the BMX racing track my home. I most likely would’ve never attended prep school. I never would’ve met you. Anyway, kids deserve our respect, and after a few days I stopped being so overly curious and cringe and just waved at them whenever we crossed paths. Being more lowkey seems to have paid off now, they’ve started to smile and joke, with some eyerolls here and there, but I think we’re cool.
The other day I went to the fountain, and found one of those high school kids who like to hang out there. Her bike chain seemed to have come off the gears, and her friends were already gone. I jumped down the steps and asked her whether she needed some help. Her face got all red and she stuttered something, suddenly very embarrassed. I said it was no problem and helped her fix it. She thanked me, got back on her bike, and cycled home.