to the scowling man

Dear Scowling Man-

Today I took my kids to our neighborhood park so they could fly a kite and play on the rusty, um I mean newly painted swings, slides and jagged-metal, edged see-saws. Kids like that sort of thing, so I thought it would be fun.

We had tried to take them to see a Modern Art exhibit, but as I read the tickets more closely on the way over I sadly realized we were two hours early so we had to go back home. Not my finest moment as I was in charge of planning the outing. So since that didn’t work out, I thought I needed plan B to give my little darlings something that they could do in lieu of spending this lovely day cooped up indoors.

So we trekked down to the park and were having a grand time when you and your friend showed up. It’s a big park, but you and your buddy chose the bench we had put our kite bag on and used it to wipe off the pigeon poop. Then you proceeded to study said plastic bag with scientific curiosity. No more kite bag for us.

Okay, no big deal. But that’s not all. You also kept looking at us with a scowl that would, in my home country, make me think you were going to attack us with a machete at any moment. I didn’t see a machete, but who knows, there could have been one tucked under your coat. I wasn’t sure.

Then your friend must have gotten a little sleepy since it was such a lovely day and decided to find another bench so he could take a little nap. I had hoped you’d do the same, but no, you seemed set on making me as uncomfortable as possible by watching me and my kids with that grave scowl the entire time. It was creepy.

Now, there were others in the park and I hadn’t seen a machete yet, so I felt moderately safe. I’m also familiar with this scowl, so I choose to interpret as partial curiosity as opposed to deep-seated hatred–which is typically what a scowl like that communicates, FYI.

So next time you’re taking a break at the park, try to smile a little at people so they don’t think you are threatening their personal safety. Or better yet, ignore them completely and take a nap–you probably need it. But please stop staring at strangers and wearing the I-just-sucked-on-a-lemon face. You’ll feel better about yourself and so will others.