We've just got back from the playground. A fabulous playground with a flying fox, a big spider web, rubber toadstools, and the usual swings, slide, sandpit etc.
A playground for children.
Not for 18-year-olds. And certainly not for selfish, downright rude, chalky-faced, black-eyed, chain-smoking 18-year-olds.
The boys and I were the only ones there when these three girls sat bouncing on the climbing frame with fags in their mouths. Two of them were quite heavy to say the least. I could see the whole frame collapsing underneath them. I bit my lip.
Luca had enough of the flying fox and wanted a go on the slide. We walked around the playground and they moved onto the smaller equipment. The chubbier one started swinging madly on the baby swing (I guess she felt the bigger child's swing was a bit beyond her) and the other two were straddling the grasshopper rocker clutching their packets of cigarettes. Both of them on the one small rocker. Both.of.them.
I was angry now, so I just approached them. And just blurted out the first thing that came to my head.
Me: "Have you guys not anything better to do than play in a playground designed for 3-year-olds?".
Sour-faced emo: "You can't tell me what to do."
Me: "I'm not telling you what to do. I'm telling you what you can't do especially when you'll end up breaking something and ruining it for my children and others."
Sour-faced and very defensive emo: "We're not breaking anything."
Angrier me: "You WILL end up breaking something, because that is a baby swing, for BABIES, and there's two of you on that thing. Oh, and by the way, last time I checked you can't smoke around playgrounds."
Sour-faced, very defensive and cocky emo waving her packet of fags: "Can you see me smoking?"
And it continued. I pointed out to her that she was smoking before around play equipment, and so I could have the last word, I asked her if she'd like to continue arguing with me or would she prefer I call the council ranger. She dared me.
So I sat down with Luca who wanted his snack by now. A moment later they had climbed back into their car and driven off.
Then, as if someone somewhere was winding me up, four adults (at least a decade past their teenage years) stepped out of their 4x4 with their St Bernard, sat down on one of the benches by the slide and started puffing away. I checked to see if they'd accidentally left a kid in the car. Nop. Just them and the hound.
One confrontation was enough for one day and besides they weren't selfishly looking to wreck anything. So I said nothing.
But when did children's playgrounds become cool hangouts for goths and childless adults? And more to the point, why the attitude when I confronted them?
What would you have done?