My boring sentences
My husband and I exchanged vows at the El Dorado East Regional Park.
Across the street from where we married is one of my family’s favorite places to stroll on the weekend: the El Dorado Nature Center.
My family went for a walk there Sunday. My husband and my sons were all sick, coughing and sneezing and leaking out the nose; nevertheless, since even sickness doesn’t stop the wiggles from building up in two- and six-year-olds, we had to get out of the house.
About fifteen minutes into our walk, we saw two Latinx youth sitting side by side at a bench on the border of a pond. As I pointed out turtles to my boys, my husband chatted with the youth, who’d been lured there by PokemonGo. “I didn’t even know this place existed!” said one.
Further along the path, we found no other PokemonGo players, but we did find rabbits. Lizards. Butterflies. I crouched in front of a small, barren bush waiting for a chance to snap a picture of two dragonflies at once.*
I still needed to get out my own wiggles after we finished walking the one-mile path, so I took the kids around the quarter-mile loop nearer the center itself. About one-quarter of the way along the path, we happened across a young black man and woman each hunched over their phones.
“Oooh! Hey,” I called. They looked up, startled, so that I quickly followed with, “Are you playing PokemonGo?!”
They smiled and said they were, indeed, playing.
“Cool!” I said. “I read a lot about this yesterday, but it’s pretty rad actually seeing it live.”
As I walked away with my boys, the woman called out to a group of Asian youths standing nearby. “Hey, are you able to find [this one guy]?!”
I beamed and said quiet thanks to whomever’s listening that PokemonGo came out when it did.
Further along the path, I encountered two women in hajib chasing after a toddler. The toddler’s mom and I smiled at each other. “How’s it going?” she asked.
“Great,” I replied before running after my own escaped toddler. “Have a good one!” I called as I ran.
My boys and I finished the trail moments later. At its end, we found Anthony chatting with an older white man.
“Could we go one more time without [Littler]?” Li’l D asked me. “I want to run!”
I, too, wanted to run. I said, “Yes, but you cannot run if there are people around! We need to be very careful on this trail.”
He immediately hightailed it and plowed through the nearest group of PokemonGo players. “You’re breaking the only rule I set for you!” I shouted. “Stop!”
He didn’t stop, leading him to almost run physically into a short, stout white woman walking with her shoes in her hands. “No running!” she told him sternly. “You can run on the other trails, but not this one!”
He didn’t stop running afterward, but he was definitely more judicious about where and when he ran.
When we finished our second trip around that trail, Anthony rose from the bench, gathered up Littler, and wrapped up his chat.
“He’s a retired Long Beach Police Department officer,” Anthony explained as we walked back toward our car. “His kids are mixed race, too. ‘Aren’t they great?’ he asked me.”
I was smiling this big by the time Anthony and I packed our boys into the car. Online, it’s not always easy to see the people behind the text on the screen … but out there on the trail, even the tiniest of trails, our common humanity was as inescapable as it was inescapably beautiful.
* “Hey, I pointed that one dragonfly out first!” pointed out Li’l D,
who was seated next to me and reading over my shoulder as I typed this.
“Hey, I’m not reading!” he added, having reading that. “I’m only reading the fun sentences.
Most your sentences are boring.” Upon seeing me continue to type his commentary,
he concluded, “You scurrywag!”