There’s a guy I can’t figure out at our new playground. He’s completely silent. Silent Dad.
I get why he won’t talk to me personally, since I look like the kind of guy who’ll sucker you into buying Girl Scout cookies or make you sing “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” with him. So no surprises there.
But he doesn’t just avoid me; he stays away from everybody. Maybe he’s shy or — gasp! — a misanthrope. (I knew that SAT vocabulary would pay off eventually!) Or maybe he just prefers the solace of one-on-one time with his 18-month old son.
Fancifully, though, I have a different explanation. I think his shoes make him lonely.
You see, Silent Dad dresses comfortably for the playground, except he wears black lace-up dress shoes, the serious kind with a little heel. These shoes make you think “lawyer” or “executive,” and I haven’t worn anything similar since I rented some to go to prom.
And (in this play I’m inventing in my head) the responsibility of those dressy, important shoes weighs heavily on Silent Dad. There must be no kicking of soccer balls or stepping through sandboxes to mar the gloss of these shoes. Each step must be considered and cautious.
So the shoes are the wall, and I must break through.
In my past, I have (had) some brilliant pickup lines. (The one I used on my wife was “Sorry to mention this, but you just spilled your Coke on my lap.") But I’m way out of practice. I’ve run out of all the usual playground small talk like “How old is he?” and “Do you know infant CPR?” and still have no lasting conversation to show for my attempts.
And so, of course, I turn to you. Does anyone have a good, friendly playground pickup line that will smash through silent blockade?
Or do I just have to wait for Silent Dad to wear tennis shoes?