The Square Peg - Movie Night
© S. Bradley Stoner
Hot dog! It’s movie night for our neighborhood. No, we don’t have our own private movie theater... this is an old fashioned outdoor movie night organized by our new HOA president. It was supposed to be last Friday, but it got rained out... or at least we thought it was going to be rained out. So, all kinds of people in the neighborhood started whining that they would get wet and it would be miserable. So, rather than fight the odds and the whiners, the president rescheduled.
Well, scanning the notices on our neighborhood electronic bulletin board, the complaints are already rolling in. It’s going to be too cold... that front arrived. Oh wow, it’s going to be in the sixties tonight! Okay, quit laughing. Sixty is jacket weather in San Antonio. People could freeze to death in that kind of cold. “What about the kiddies? They’re going to be miserable,” one parent whined. I think back to when I was a kid when we went to an old fashioned drive-in movie in late October and it snowed. Snowed, for Pete’s sake! Did we leave? Heck no, we turned on the windshield wipers and car heater and sucked in the exhaust fumes from all the other cars that were doing the same. We were tough and we weren’t about to miss a good movie.
A bunch of kids waiting for the school bus were all talking excitedly as I passed by on my walk this morning. They were laying plans for seating arrangements at tonight’s movie... who was going to sit with who, who would bring an extra blanket, wondering if they could invite friends from out of the neighborhood. ‘Aha!’ I thought as their voices faded behind me, ‘It’s the parents who are wimping out... not the kids.’ Now, that doesn’t surprise me at all. Gen Xers and Millennials don’t seem to have been hardened off by their parents and consequently are wussified. Their kids, on the other hand, the rebellious little beasts, are running about in all kinds of weather. It seems it’s never too hot, too wet, or too cold to stop them from having fun. I’m encouraged.. maybe there is hope for this country yet!
Then there are the older folks. They come in two flavors. The ones like me who think having fun is still a priority and the old sourpusses who want parents ‘to control their children all the time... especially at neighborhood events.’ Me? I figure neighborhood events are the best place for kids to cut loose. I mean, so what if you don’t hear every line in a feature length cartoon? Is it really that critical? It’s not like it’s Olivier doing Hamlet for heaven’s sake.
Let the kids run. Let them play on the swings. Let ‘em shout and squeal and laugh all they want to. Let ‘em expend some of that boundless energy all thos sourpusses are angry about losing from creeping old age. Heck, you want to stay young? Go play with the kids. They’ll make fun of you... and likely they’ll laugh at you because your feet drag on the swings and you can’t get nearly as high as they can, but they’ll love you for pushing them, picking them up when they fall down, and lifting them up to the monkey bars. Come to think of it, the parents will probably love you for helping their children use up that excess energy so they all can sleep in on Saturday. If they don’t wimp out... the parents that is.