Okay, I'll admit it: I hate the playground. For the last couple of years—basically, since my almost-three-year-old learned to walk—I have felt obligated, as a stay-at-home mom, to take him to the playground on a regular basis. It's not like he's addicted to the playground; his attitude is kind of take-it-or-leave-it. He never asks to go to the playground, but he doesn't refuse to go either. But I just flat-out hate it.
There's no reason I shouldn't hate it; some, if not most, of my exceptionally humiliating moments in elementary school took place on the playground. The time I hit a bully with my lunch box and I got in trouble? That was on the playground. The time my best friend decided to ignore me at recess because she had a crush on the guy who hated me because I beat him in the spelling bee? Playground. My many ignominious two-square defeats? Playground, of course. It's really no wonder I hate the playground, although I had actually forgotten most of those things until I started thinking the other day about why I hate the playground. And they don't explain why I hate the playground I go to now, which isn't the one where those things happened.
It's true that there are sometimes some creepy-looking characters hanging around the two playgrounds with the best equipment, but then, those are both in very large city parks, where creepy-looking characters tend to hang out anyway. But the other morning I was out for my morning run in the park, and I saw something that really gave me the creeps: a rat. I have nothing against rats, as long as they're pretty little clean rats that live in cages and maybe come out to sit on their owners' shoulders at Renaissance faires and that kind of thing. I just don't think big ol' garbage-eating city rats are appropriate playground companions. But in this case, they're giving me an excellent excuse not to go the playground, so go rats.