As we were walking towards Davis Square last night, me eating my green pepper, Pete carrying my computer, a kid--probably 11--whizzed by us on his skateboard. As we contemplated how we both wished we could also skateboard, as it would require much less use of our legs, this kid--now a good half block in front of us--fell off his skateboard...where he went I couldn't quite see, I think down hill. I gasped, at this, but as the kid had disappeared, people thought I was just choking on pepper juice. I put the pepper away.
We continued walking and the kid ended up appearing right next to me, all ruddily complected and such, so I asked him if he was OK after his spill. "Ya, ya I'm fine", and he slowed up a bit.
Pete nudged me and said "Jen, never ask a kid if they're OK."
I, realizing that my interpretation of Pete speak, and what Pete speak actually means are occasionally entirely different, yet still being slightly horrified at the suggestion nonetheless, replied "What."
And he told me this story:
He said, that when he was a kid, his mom had taken him and his sister to a wonderful ice cream shop in his town--one of those places that was packed until 10pm during the sweet summer nights. He was so excited to get a chocolate frappe with his burger. After they were situated at a crowded picnic table, he forwent the burger, jabbed the straw into his frappe and worked hard to get that first mouthful.
Deciding that using the straw was a tremendous amount of extra work, Pete took off its cover, held the frappe in both hands, lifted it above his head, flipped it upside down, opened up his mouth and...waited.
Sadly, the frappe was as thick as a sinkhole in the Everglades.
Being a robust, ruddily complected boy himself, Pete gave that frappe the squeeze it deserved...nothin'.
He looked up, into his glorious frappe, and saw it clinging to its container as if it knew its fate.
The frappe suddenly became conscious of its impending death, and attacked Pete all over his face.
This created quite a reaction amongst the table-sitters, his parents, the local news, probably God. Laughing, cleaning, wiping...stinging eyes filled with the delicious frappe that his mouth was so hoping to enjoy.
Pete just wished they would all go away.
And after he finished his story, I thought of a time something similar happened to me, but it didn't involve a frappe, and as it turns out I'm out of time and can't tell it. What a shame!
But it has led me to believe--and agree--that when a kid does something that looks dangerous and makes you gasp--that is definitely worthy of inquiry--be conscientious of his feelings, assume ignorance and just assume he's ok.