October 7, 2001

I sat at work today, observing people as they walked by the prepaid cellphone shop that I had been recruited to watch over. I paid the most attention to how parents interacted with their young kids. I watched a kid whine about how he wanted a gumball, and I watched as his mother hesitantly gave him a quarter to go buy one. Things like that.

What stuck out in my mind most, though, was this young kid (he must have been ten or so) and his thirtysomething mother. He eyeballed a game --the one where you guide The Claw to grab a stuffed animal-- and said excitedly to his mom, "Hey, mom, let's split this dollar and play this game!" She mumbled something about those kinds of games being impossible and walked on.

It occurred to me at that moment that that kid was probably never going to ask his mom to play that game with him again. In fact, it was only a matter of a few years before that kid wanted nothing to do with his parents. And it probably wouldn't be until he was almost twenty before he re-realized that desire to hang out with his mom.

It didn't matter that the game was impossible. She passed up on being able to have fun with her child.

That makes me kind of sad.

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