I was part of a movement of "dinosaur moms" when I lived in Maryland (Astrodon Johnstoni is the Maryland state dinosaur.) Which is nothing more than this -- dinosaur moms delight in the half-feral nature of the beasties they parent, even as they whisper Shakespeare and Kierkegaard in their ears at night.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

This Playground for our residents only

Today, at the HOA meeting, we were discussing the content of a sign we were going to place at the playground.

There is a lot of frustration, because the community is under siege by graffiti, open-air drug use, car theft and other issues we never thought we’d have to deal with in a new-build suburban community. For this I blame Pulte, our builder, who should have built us a better system of covenants and enforced its own resident-owner policy. And I blame our own completely feckless HOA board, who back down whenever they meet any resistance from the apologist from Ogden, our property manager. It is a bad scene.

Anyway, so we have decided to place a sign at the playground. We toyed with the idea of having the sign say that the playground was for the quiet enjoyment of our residents only. Or something like that. Those signs are increasingly common. It would probably be cheap to buy one ready-made. And we eventually decided that simple was better and that all we really wanted was to post hours that the playground was open and have done.

I was very proud of us, because, seriously, the problems we are facing, and we still showed restraint. Because those signs really are nasty and I would not want to live in a community that had them. I am not usually all that Woody Guthrie, but playgrounds, I mean, c’mon. They can’t be for the exclusive use of any one set of private property owners’ children. They just by their very nature can’t. Just by being children, they should be able to claim all playgrounds as their birthright.

Now I recognize that the really pernicious elitism is in the communities that don’t even have to have signs because you’d have to know passwords to even find yourself in the vicinity of their playgrounds anyway. But the signs, though, think what they do to a kid. Not just the kid who is made to feel unwelcome by the sign but the kid who is made to feel that he’s supposed to be vigilant against unwelcome riff raff.

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