I live in a mixed neighborhood. I don’t mean that it is racially diverse, although it is; I’m speaking about generationally diverse. About half and half retirees and young families with children.

It is a nice area and there is plenty of greenery around. Everyone has a yard, there aren’t enough sidewalks because they only felt the need to put them on either one side of the street or the other. There are very few places with sidewalks on both sides of the street and it lasts for only a block or two. And there is a stretch right in front of my house without sidewalk on either side of the street meaning anyone on their way to the pool from this direction HAS to walk in the street for a couple houses’ length of space.

There are 863 houses in this area alone (about the same across the street and probably even more behind us) so there should be lots and lots of kids in the area. There is a pool – just one – for the entire 863 houses/families but it is rarely over crowded. There is a park/playground by the pool along with a couple soccer fields.

All summer long I kept wondering where the kids were. I didn’t see very many even making their way to the pool or back. No one was playing in the park or on the fields as I went by. Even the kids who used the empty corner lot for baseball up the way were missing this summer.

It wasn’t THAT hot out there. There were just no kids outside playing. I saw very, very few kids out riding bikes. I saw more old people on bikes than young ones.

What were these kids doing all summer? I’m going to assume they weren’t inside reading books of either the wonderful or trash kind. I’ve seen how kids write and they can’t be reading all that much or their use of the language would be better.

I’m going to assume they were all inside their air conditioned homes and playing video games either alone or across the web as a “force” to be reckoned with. Even if they were in some sort of daycare situation while their parents worked, they would have been home in the evenings.

The only time it is safe to send your kids outside is to catch the bus to go off to school. I saw lots and lots of kids today. I’m hoping that there is some wonderful kinderkid mom out there who will be coming to the bus stop each day, but last year, no one at the bus stop was ever supervised. It is all Stranger Danger to let your kid play in your own yard during the summer, but sending them down the street and out of your line of sight to catch the bus is perfectly okay. I have to assume no one is watching from the windows because I can’t imagine the ineptitude it would take to let your child(ren) run amok like that if you were watching.

Today there were several parents at the grade school bus stop which was just as well as the bus was about 40 to 45 minutes late to pick the darlings up and they would have been seriously out of control. So they were able to stay on the sidewalk and out of Linda’s yard and not on her lanai or running up and banging on the door to upset her cats or running through (and I do mean literally through) her bushes. They weren’t misbehaving or running wild because parents were there.

But that usually disappears quite soon. One year, I had a totally ineffective dad supervising the bus stop who couldn’t understand why I didn’t want the kids playing Red Rover in my driveway while they waited for the bus. Nor could he understand why it was a bad idea for one kid to pick up and twirl another. Or else, it wasn’t his kid and he didn’t want to interfere or God alone knows what (if?) his thought process was. That was the year I booted them back across the street. He was actually setting up races in my driveway with the garage door as the “goal” and they would run up and bang on my garage door. He was amazing.

I wish I didn’t have to turn into Mary Hanson, the mean old lady who lived next door to Ann. But I have to be mean in world where I would prefer to be nice. I’m the supervisor to the bus stops even though my baby is 34 and has three kids in school himself. This isn’t my job. Perhaps I should let them hurt each or destroy property while waiting impatiently for the bus to come and whisk them off to be socialized and even perhaps educated, if there is time.

Another school year has started. I hope they all have a wonderful year. I wish they didn’t have to do it outside my window.