Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013
2 years, 6 months.
Because of my legitimate fear of developing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, I am trying to counteract the numbness in my left shoulder, wrist, and hand by working those muscles on a daily basis.
Therefore, last week I started a daily habit of stopping by the playground near my office to do pull-ups.
I imagine it’s quite a random sight at 1:15 every afternoon in Aspen Grove Park to see some random guy wheel in on his mountain bike, set down his book bag and helmet, do several pull-ups on the playground, then speed off into the distance.
Predictably, there are always a few moms with their young kids already there when I arrive.
My most awkward encounter so far happened about a week ago.
There was a grandmother with her daughter- a mom who was about my age, accompanied by her own daughter who was about your age.
In the non-creepiest way I knew how, I approached the 7 foot high monkey bars. Immediately, the three of them all looked up at me, seemingly concerned.
I felt the need to explain:
“Hi, I work in one of the offices nearby. I come here everyday now to do my pull-ups because I type all day on a computer, and this helps me.”
The grandmother responded:
“Well, thank you for explaining that…”. The tone and look on her face was completely serious. She meant what she was saying.
From that point, she began rationalizing out loud, trying to convince herself as well as her grown daughter, that I was there basically to “blow off steam” from the stress of working in an office.
That wasn’t the case at all. My job doesn’t stress me out at all. I love my job.
However, I felt it to be in my best interest to leave immediately, without trying to further justify my existence. So I did.
I’m too cheap to pay for a gym membership; not to mention, I’d rather be outside anyway, breathing fresh air and feeling the sunlight on my skin. So the combination of mountain biking and doing pull-ups on the playground is like a free gym membership to me.
Sure, it looks weird to onlookers, but the only rule I saw on the park sign was against people smoking there- not against adults showing up without a child.
For me, what this story reveals is that each parent has certain things they see as a red flag; some possible threat to their child’s safety and well-being. I know I’ve got mine. (And I’ve learned not to mention them on the Internet anymore!)
I’m just a harmless dad of a 2 and a half year-old son who is using the city park for a minute or two as part of his daily exercise routine. But that’s not how it looks to everybody. To some, I am the childless creepy guy in the park.
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