I am worried about the future.
Walking through the park yesterday I noticed that many features of the play area were bubble-wrapped. That’s metaphorical bubble-wrap but you get the idea, right?
The sides of the slide (try saying that after a few drinks) were sky high, the kids didn’t even need to put into practice the instinctive skill of balance… I swear I saw one kid slide down it while sleeping, with his face pressed to the edge. He could have taken a run at it from 200 metres away and still been funnelled safely through the protective perspex and onto the ‘safety sand’ at the bottom.
The roundabout went straight down to the pavement, missing that gap where the slow kids always catch one of their limbs, remote enough even to release a dangling coat toggle, causing no more than a millisecond of parental distress at any one time. What is happening to the world? And how is the local hospital A&E still so busy, with all this playtime mollycoddling?
A few weeks ago I went to visit Belton House, which featured one of my favourite play areas growing up*. One of the best features of this playground were the many poles (no jokes please), as I had the benefit of being very lightweight and showing off my fearlessness through taking on the highest pole. This year, the poles had gone. VANISHED COMPLETELY. There goes my chance to prove to my arm-wresting champion of a twin sister that I still retain a small amount of upper body strength.
So yesterday I sat there, blaming the ridiculous health and safety regulations put in place, whereas my dad blames the parents. “Why so?” I asked (surprised at how aggressively I must have been typing to distract him from the grand prix…) and supposedly they take any chance they get to sue somebody for a bit of extra money – as soon as their kid is hurt on public property, they sue the hell out of the owner. These health and safety regulations are there to protect the playground owners, not just the kids.
I’m now worried it’s too late – that natural selection won’t work it’s magic and improve any glimpse of common sense in these youngsters.
I also worry that these kids will grow up to be pole-dancers – depriving them of poles at such a young age can’t be a good thing…
*played on it last month