I like this time of year on the bike path, because there's so much green and growing, and it's more peaceful than walking along the streets, so we walked from Davis out to Cedar St and then back, and stopped to chat on one of the playground benches at the Lexington park a few doors down from my house.
We'd been there for, what, maybe 15 or 20 minutes, when a group of 6 or so teenagers, both boys and girls, showed up. Now, I hate to sound like I group teenagers into one, unruly, unpleasant mob, but the fact is, i kind of do. I didn't really like teenagers when I was one, and so far as I can tell, they haven't improved. It's not a good time of life for most people.
One of the boys came to the gate near where we were sitting and announced that the park was closed and we'd have to leave. Naturally, I didn't believe a) that the park was closed or b) that he was in any position of authority, so I inquired as to who he was to ask us to move on, and whether he had ID. No ID, stunningly enough, but he kept pestering us to talk to him until we just took to ignoring him.
At that point, he laid off, and crayolathief wanted to leave. Now, that probably would have been the smart thing to do, but as some of you know, I'm somewhat contrary from time to time, and I didn't want to let him "win" by leaving right away. Okay, so that's stupid. Looking at this sort of interaction as a win/lose is a surefire way to get into fights and end up unhappy in an emergency room, but I didn't feel particularly threatened (the kid's friends were uninterested in joining his little intimidation campaign, and, in fact, tried to get him to lay off once or twice), and, well, I was cranky.
Anyway, he wandered off (but stayed in the park), and we stuck around. We were distracted, of course, and talked about not very much, most of it around how uncomfortable we were. After a few minutes, i said I was okay leaving, but that really the night was nice and I was okay with staying, too. We stayed, and then, of course, our young friend had to make another sally. He came back to the gate (still keeping the fence between him and us) and asked where we were from. We tried a variety of conversational avoidance techniques, from, "Why do you ask?" and "That's not your business," to jokes that he missed and asking him about himself. Finally, he ended up approaching the table.
This is when things got actually tense rather than just annoying, because he was definitely looming (with intent), and although he had that assholish smirk that I recognize all too well from my high school years that's intended to show how cool he is as a front for showing off to his friends, I didn't trust that he would manage to keep his cool. We continued to try to avoid his questions, then we gave in and answered, and I tried to ask him about himself, to which he responded that it was an "interview" not a conversation. This went on for a couple of minutes, and then crayolathief made the wise executive decision to get up and go. So we left.
Our friend asserted that the neighborhood was safe because of him, yadda yadda. Clearly all show, but definitely not fun. It makes me cranky. Even though I know that this was your typical teenage stunt, probably showing off for his friends, probably playing out some of his own local identification (he was clearly local) and whatever tensions might be coming out of that, probably other stuff that I don't know about.
But because I'm not as smart as I should be, I really want to take a group of friends and camp out there every night for the rest of the summer. Luckily, I'm smart enough not to actually do that.