Playground Politics

KathyLast week it rained for days and days. We forgot what blue sky looked like. Doodlebug went through severe bike-time withdrawal. I considered buying an ark.

There was one benefit, though – no playground time after school.

Playground time means other moms, and when other moms are around, you have to chat. I’m not such a fan of chatting – I like talking to my friends, of course, but none of them are at the playground after school. They’re at work, or in the kiss and ride line, or meeting their kids somewhere else on the school grounds, which means I have a choice: stand around looking at my phone or try to make conversation with people I don’t know very well.

It’s probably no surprise that I usually go with the phone option. But when I do, I always end up feeling like a middle-school kid eating alone in the cafeteria, shunned by all. This is one of the areas where my introversion and my shyness don’t play so well together – I do realize that, by talking to the other parents, I could get to know them better. If I knew them better, we would have things to talk about and I could avoid the dreaded chatting.

This is Doodlebug’s third year at this school, and all the parents I consider friends are also my neighbors, or the parents of Doodlebug’s friends, or both. In other words, people I see more than every once in a while on the playground. They’re people I’ve known long enough to have real conversations with.

They’re also my Facebook friends, mostly, which isn’t surprising – as an introvert, I’m much more talkative online. I feel weird friending people I’ve only talked to a few times in real life, though, so until I can boost my courage and take that step, I’ll be over by the monkey bars, checking the weather forecast.

— Kathy

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