I run with my dog in the neighborhood at least every other day. It's nice to see the good American folks living their lives and getting along. (Of course, the other day, some gutterpunks threw a crumpled up empty bag from Wendy's at me as they drove by.) I would have gotten pissed about that not too long ago. I just picked it up and put it in the trash, like a crappy writeup, and hoped like hell my daughter wouldn't wind up getting in a car with folks such as them in a couple of years.

I stop and let the little kids pet my dog. She's cute. She's a Lhasa Apso and very friendly. In fact, I'm training her to do this without the leash so it'll be more fun for both of us. The problem is squirrels and other dogs. She can't help her nature.

The thing that I see that makes me sad is the young kids, too old to play make believe and too young to drive. Usually boys. They are sitting in their front yards or just riding their bikes, alone, up and down the driveway. Or just walking around the block. They all have that look on their faces. I remember that look. They do not make eye contact with you.

* * * * *

Sundays were always the worst. Was it because school had been out for an entire day prior? Say what you will about school, at least you had interaction. Nothing's worse when you're that age than to be alone.

I would sometimes walk to downtown. It was quite a ways from where we lived. It's hard to remember now (perceptions of size and distance are the hardest part of memory retrieval), but I guess it was at least 4 miles each way. I did not make eye contact with anyone along the way.

Have you ever seen those paintings of an empty downtown? I think one famous one is even named, "Downtown, Sunday," or something like that. It's like being in a Twilight Zone episode where no one is alive on earth except you. The stores are all closed. There're no cars. You walk around and the sun beats down and then you walk home. That's a lonely day.

When you're lonely and a kid that age, it is a very dangerous time. You can either find something positive to do, or you can find something dangerous to do.

You'll do one or the other.

It's your nature.

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