That is to say, there are on the street I live on now. I don't know what the neighbor situation is going to be like in Florence, where I'm moving in three weeks.
But for now, in the nice, high-end, family-oriented part of town I live in there are kids everywhere.
Today I took a left and rounded the corner like I always do, and a little girl no older than four, who had been playing in the street (it's a dead end street), took one look in my direction, screamed, and ran to the sidewalk. I slowed down in friendly fashion and kept going forward. When I came to where she was stopped on the sidewalk I waved at her. She turned and ran as fast as she could. I kept going at a moderate pace and play-raced her. Then, close to the halfway down and a few feet past her I accelerated and went on with my drive to the intersection, leaving her standing there holding the hair on each side of her head with clenched fists, hopping up and down.
It was cute as hell.
And it made me reminisce about what life was like when I was only as tall as a rear-view mirror.
Can you recall when the world of responsibility was as far away as the moon? I mean, pre-school was a big step in that direction but you still weren't held accountable if you didn't stack up to the rest of the kids; you just needed more time.
I realized not too long ago that part of the reason I recklessly poured whatever mind altering substance I could find into my system was due in part to an attempt to make myself useless. That is to say I was voluntarily relinquishing my capability of completing everyday tasks with each trip into outer space. I wanted to remove the option of me not calling in sick. I wanted to nix the possibility of getting in my car because I had just increased the risk of accident or police involvement (not that that ultimately stopped me). I would turn myself off so that I would have a great excuse to not fulfill a social obligation.
"Oh, you wouldn't have wanted me at your party anyway. I was wasted."
It was easy, it was quick, and it was foolproof.
I suppose in some way I just wanted to be like that little girl: running, running, running.
I wanted to experience that heightened sense of fanciful excitement that only a child can feel. The feeling that maybe you can outrun a car. Or maybe if you try hard enough you can fly high into the air, above all the houses on your street ... the wind helping lift you up, up, up ... seeing for the first time how your house looks from above, and realizing that Santa Claus must see it from this view every year. And you don't think twice about how you're going to get down, anymore than you thought about how you were where you were. And you quickly come to understand how to steer yourself one way or the other. You somehow find out how to fly faster so you can get from one part of town to the other in mere seconds. And then you jet into the distance and you see the mountains that you always see on your way to the store with your mom. And you wish she was there to see it too, but you realize that she would probably want you to slow down, so you forget about her for a second and just take it all in.
And then you open your eyes and you realize that you're really on the ground, standing there, panting, holding each side of your head with your clenched fists as the guy who lives down the street speeds up, down to the part of the street that you can't go, and you yell into the sky and think about how you can't wait to be as old as he is so you can do things you can't do now.
And you run back down the street and into your house and you play with your toys and you wait for the next thing to happen.
And you know it will, because it always does.
And someday you get back to that way of life.
And you wonder why you wasted so much time worrying if you ever would.
Running, running, running.
Thanks for reading.