Stranger danger

I am sitting at a table in my local public library, my laptop, a bottle of water, and my Galaxy Note in front of me. I have headphones on and I am listening to nature sounds because the not-very-socially-graced woman behind me (she and I have a history) is muttering to herself loudly enough that it’s clear she wants someone to ask her what she’s working on and her laptop is making funky bubble-popping sounds loudly.

I am at the library to escape loud mutterings, machine-made noises, and children who don’t care if they’re worming into my brain space.

A child, boy, ~9ish, whom I have never before seen in my life, comes up to my table as if I had birthed him and almost leans on me.

ME: [taking off headphones, trying not to look as annoyed as I am] What can I do for you, sweetie?

HIM: [looking at laptop] Can I play on that?

ME: [?] Play on what?

HIM: [pointing to the Galaxy Note without bothering to open his mouth when he actually needs to answer a question] [the exact same way XY TD does]

ME: [dumbfounded] Um… NO.

HIM: Never mind.

ME: [waiting for him to leave] [which he is not doing] I have a question.

HIM: Never mind!

ME: No, wait. I’m just curious. Why do you think it’s okay—

HIM: Never mind! [scurries off]

A child is perfectly comfortable with almost-snuggling up to a strange woman who’s obviously trying to block out the world, asking if he can play on an expensive device.

It never occurred to him I’d say no.


If the strangers won’t go to them, they will go to the strangers.