Just across the fence that borders the parking lot outside our apartment is a day care facility. Back when I used to live in this town growing up, the building housed a commercial embroidery shop. From the outside it doesn't look like it'd be very conducive to a day care, with drab metal siding and concrete loading ramps, but they must have done wonders on the inside.
Through my office windows on the third floor, I can see over the fence. A cluster of thinning pine trees shield the backyard, but from my height I get a partially obstructed view of the play area. From what I can see, though, it looks just like any other day care I've ever seen, where Fisher Price playsets, Tonka trucks and Barbie dolls reign supreme. When the windows to my office are open, as they usually are when I am working, the sounds of the children playing next door filter in. It mostly is nonsensical noise to me, and for the most part, I tune it out.
There are times, though, when the cacophony of high-pitched voices is suddenly halted in unison. Sudden and absolute silence at a noisy day care usually means one thing:
Someone got hurt.
A heavy pause lingers on the air for a couple moments as the injured child comes to realize exactly what has happened, and slowly registers the pain. The child takes a huge, gulping inward breath, and then, like an air raid siren, the screaming begins.
The scream is pure and unabashed, the pitch and volume just short of the levels one would need reach to break glass. Next you hear the slapping footfalls of the caretakers running to the child, but their soothing tones and "Shh"-ing do nothing to console him. One can just imagine the tears running down his face, making lines in the dust that has collected there. And then, as the other children around him inch in closer and start to mumble amongst themselves, another noise is heard.
It's me, laughing my fucking ass off.
I know, I know. I probably shouldn't laugh at some innocent little kid getting hurt on the playground, but I just can't help it. It reminds me of when I was as a kid, always running full-steam-ahead, usually stopping for nothing until the inevitable trip and fall. I wailed many times over a scraped knee, elbow, or skinned palm.
It wasn't funny back then, but I sure get a kick out of it now.