I love my backyard. I bought the house, primarily, for the backyard. It’s big enough for the kids to kick a ball around and has a patio for sunny day lounging. But the best part of my backyard is the view of the park it borders; all trees and green grass. Families stroll by, people walk their dogs, and teenagers heckle each other on their way home from school. The activity reminds me that life carries on; a good thing for my half-hermit soul.
Due to the amenities of this particular park, dudes in shorts on their way to shoot hoops or toss a frisbee make up about 80% of the traffic past my back fence. I’m inspired to host an annual summer barbecue and call it “Sausage Fest.” It will be all my rowdy, hot-to-trot girlfriends, me, and several pitchers of margaritas. We will position our chairs for the best view, sip cocktails while enjoying the sausage parade, and perhaps hold up score cards like drunken olympic judges. Cheap thrills baby!
Today I got a cheap thrill of slightly different kind. A group of men walked through the park looking like all the rest—wearing shorts and Tevas; basketball, frisbee and water bottles in hand. The only difference was that one guy was pushing a stroller. I watched them: their mood was cheerful and relaxed like “well I want to hang with my buds and I’m a dad now so I’m bringing my baby with me.” He made it look like the most natural thing in the world. Kind of like what most of us moms do… every day… without question… from the moment we give birth.
At that very moment I’d sunk into believing all men are inherently weak and selfish and I’d be alone forever because I’m done settling for weak and selfish. Then this guy walked by and before I knew it I shouted “Hey! Guy with the stroller!” I ran over and asked if there really was a baby in the stroller (I thought it was just as likely that the stroller was for carrying beers or attracting idiot women like myself).
When I saw the baby my heart gushed. I said, “You are a good man and I bet somewhere there is a happy mama getting a much-needed break.” His friends smiled and spoke-up that, yes, there was. I then rapid-fire babbled, “I’m divorcing and jaded and a writer and I want to take your picture; here’s my card so your woman can see my blog, I hope your friends are taking notes because this is how you real men get laid, wait here while I get my camera!” (This is why I primarily stick to PASSIVE socialization.)
I don’t know anything about this dude or his woman or their relationship. But I choose to believe that they are happy and that he is proof good men DO exist. That is what’s great about being an optimist–when dark thoughts invade it only takes a small ray of light to renew my faith in life and humankind. I love my backyard.