Monday, April 03, 2006

Ah, the pitter patter and chitter chatter

… of elementary-school kids across the street.

I often work at home, especially if the weather is gorgeous like it’s been the past few days, and I happen to live directly across the street from a 100–year-old elementary school. In fact, directly across the street from the school playground.

Brown School Playground from the couch (1) Brown School Playground from the couch

That means noise. A lot of noise.

Now, personally, I actually find the noise of the little kids perpetually milling about in the playground and squealing away quite pleasant. Comforting, almost. A sort of “all’s right with the world” background noise.

There are two things I have never acquired the taste for, however:

  • The school always seems to have at least one little girl who is a real “screamer”. And I don’t just mean the usual happy squeals and shrieks. I mean this is a girl who sounds as though she’s just been pitched head-first off the top of a tall building. She always utters a long, drawn-out, top-of-her-lungs, high-pitched shreak that starts out high and then slowly and steadily lowers pitch. Honestly I am certain that if you were standing at the top of the grand canyon and had just pushed a little girl over the edge this is what you would hear. We’ve lived here 9 years now and it’s literally been every year: almost as if the school just has one on staff at all times. I can only assume that each little shrieking girl in turn has grown up and moved on, so that’s what makes it so amazing that there’s always one to
  • There also always seems to be a “barking boy”. And he doesn’t try to bark like a big dog. No woofs from him. Oh, no. It’s always squeaky, high-pitched yaps like from a small espresso-addicted dog. I can’t stand that kind of dog or the kind of barks it makes, and I can’t for the life of me imagine why there is always a little boy who thinks that his greatest god-given talent is to bark like one. Again, the school always seems to acquire a new one every year when the previous one moves on. I guess I should draw some lesson about the immutability of life from all of this …

This morning I could have sworn I heard one child screaming “Let me DIE! I just want to DIE!” I don’t know what an 8–year-old could possibly have experienced in the playground to elicit such strong emotions …



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