artaboutthoughtsjournalfun
Friday, July 05, 2002 9:31 AM



We spent a lot of yesterday at the town pool, watching the incredibly long line of kids waiting to try out the two new slides they just put in. Sitting next to me was a family with 2 kids under 10, 2 women of mom age, and a man in his 40's who was clearly mentally disabled. Eventually everyone but the man got up, and he began talking to himself, making comments about the water, how hot it was, the fact that he was hungry. I pretended I was asleep because I was really tired and wanted to relax, not make conversation, but I felt a twinge about doing it.... he was literally 3 feet away from me. When it came time for the family to leave, they packed up all their stuff, and then struck up a conversation with an friend the mother had run into. The women completely ignored the man, who was hanging hopefully on the fringe of the group. The children tried to ignore him too, turning their backs to him and peering into each other's eyes, comparing who's were redder from the chlorine in the pool. "Let me see," said the man to the little boy. "Oh, you're just fine," he reassured him. "How would you know, you moron?" asked the girl derisively, turning away. The man put his hand on the boy's shoulder, but the boy brushed him off and ran away too. "But you're my buddy," said the man to himself. "You're my little buddy." It just about broke my heart. What would it have cost me before, just to give a smile, a nod, to say. "Yep, you're right. It is really hot!" A conversation that might have made someone feel like he belonged, just for a minute?

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