I usually think of myself as a young, hip person. Of course, I happen to be a mom, and of course, I'm over 30, but these things certainly don't make me someone who can't relate to the younger generation, right? I mean, I remember being 14. I even sometimes still feel 13 (so awkward meeting new people), so I just didn't imagine I would find myself being the grumpy old killjoy of the neighborhood.
But. . . (and you knew this was coming). . . I was driving by the school today, and I saw a group of 12-14-year-old kids gathered around the homebase of the baseball field, and there was one kid climbing all the way to the top of the chain-link fence that guards spectators from flyballs. (What is that fence called? I want to say "dugout", but I know that's wrong.) Instantly, I stopped my minivan (Minivan? Grumpy old mom clue #1.) and looked out my window at the kids. They noticed me and looked back, somewhat cowed by the adult watching them. (Cowing kids? Grumpy old mom clue #2.) They said something to the kid on top of the fence (20 feet up! I would want someone else's mom to stop my kid if she was doing something that dumb. Saying that last sentence? Grumpy old mom clue #3.) , and he started climbing down, casually, but watching me the whole time, obviously willing me to just drive away and go about my business. But I didn't (Grumpy old mom clue #4). I stayed, ignoring that awkward feeling of the kids glancing over in my direction even as they tried to pretend I wasn't there. I waited until his two teenage feet were planted firmly on the ground, and then I smiled and waved at the kids and drove away. But even as my hipster self was humiliated at the spectacle my neighborhood watchdog self had just made of us, my inner curmudgeon wanted to turn around at the next stop sign and make sure that rascally kid hadn't tried to climb the fence again. What is happening to me?