Friday, April 20, 2012

Speaking of 4/20

Coming home from the Y last night, I thought I was high for a minute when I saw a crazy-looking tandem bike with a father pilot, son co-pilot, and a baby trailer behind that.  Apparently these are fairly commonplace and are called active passenger bikes in this case. Seeing one being pedaled around town wasn't just an hallucination.  
I'm always looking for offbeat pictures for my "Only in the Ozarks" FB album and my new time-suck Twitter account of the same name.  This sighting didn't quite qualify, and I try not to have people in the shots.  I don't want to be a complete jerk by making fun of them in a recognizable manner.
However (isn't there always a however), the miniature middle biker was not such a friendly chap.  I imagine his feet weren't even helping in the effort to power this tri-ped arrangement, the tiny turd.  With my smile spread out wide, I told my own miniature back-seat passenger look at the funny bike.  With my grin pointed in their direction, I ended up on the receiving end of the kid's fat tongue sticking out in disdain.  So ... maybe I was staring.  Sure, he probably didn't like it.  But what a little shit!
My first impulse was, of course, to the loudly state - in his dad's earshot - to NOT stick his damn tongue out at strangers.  Nah, not a good tactic in this teaching moment.  Instead, I shook my head at rude-bike-boy in disapproval while mouthing the words, "NO ... don't do that" over and over again to him.  Unfortunately, I accompanied it with, "What a little shit!" out loud.  I immediately retracted my use of a bad word, although my son had missed the whole thing.  It was all a futile attempt at parenting in a vacuum.  
The situation sparked a conversation between me and my little guy about rude behavior (not my own), respecting adults, and plain ol' safety of not snarking at people in a public setting.  Especially if they are simply looking in your direction.  Although he found it pretty funny that a kid younger than him stuck his tongue out at Mom, he got the message. (He did make sure his dad heard about it when we got home, though.)  Ultimately, my son agreed the kid on the bike was being a complete ratbag just like I said!  
Sure, there are some kids who will end up doing a lot worse in real life.  Many will get into real trouble in their lives with majorly serious consequences. Through my rose-colored glasses, I'd like to think there are fewer of those kids than there are functional, healthy kids.  It may take a village to raise a child, but I chose not to waste any effort on this rude little chunk of dead weight on the back wheel of the bike.  He's probably sharing the "love" with the younger sibling in the baby bubble behind him.
Our little guy, on the other hand, gets it. I hope he continues to be a good kid.  He doesn't like getting in trouble, appreciates nodding approval pointed at him, and generally enjoys being praised for good behavior.  Let's just keep it that way.

My sister's effort at solo tandem (not as easy as you'd think).

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