I have come to realize something about children. But first, let me relay to you the conversation I just had with a boy of, I don't know, maybe eight years old. The set up is that he and his little sister played with our puppies yesterday while my parents were out front with them, and he announced that they would be coming back today whether we liked it or not . He and his sister duly show up a little after five this evening (it's still broad daylight, and will be for a good while). My sister ran into them as she was walking to the door from her car--in a hurry to change clothes for class--and pawned the question off on my mother, who was calling from her car as she was driving home from work. My mother asks to speak to me , because Sister Girl is busy getting ready (and... uh... my stepfather just categorically doesn't want to deal with them. Probably because he has a longstanding feud with the children of the neighborhood, who are champion ding-dong-ditchers), so I'm delegated to go downstairs and tell them to shoo, because no one really feels like hauling the puppies out front on leashes and playing with the kids for who knows how long. The kids, meanwhile, are still standing on the front porch with their own little white dog. "Who are you ?" "Uh... I'm [Sister Girl]'s sister." Keep in mind, I have no idea who in the family they know by name, if anyone. Keep in mind, also, that I'm not used to opening my door and having someone demand who I am. "Oh, okay. Can the puppies come out?" "They're... they're being fed right now, I'm sorry--they can't come out." [This is the excuse my mother has offered. Note: the dogs do not actually eat until 6 pm, so we are all lying out our asses.] "Are they gonna be done soon?" "Probably not, no." "Are they gonna be done in thirty minutes?" "No... I don't think so." "Can we wait here?" "I don't... I don't think... maybe you can come back tomorrow?" "We can just wait right here, is it gonna be a really long time?" "It's probably going to be a while--" "A couple of hours?" "I don't really..." "Can we talk to your mom?" "She was on the phone..." "Well, is she done now?" "No, I mean I was talking to her on the phone; she's not here. She's getting home from work pretty soon though..." [ oh God oh God please come home and deal with these kids ] "Are the dogs still eating?" "Yeah, I'm pretty sure... " "Are they gonna be done soon?" "I really don't think..." "Thirty minutes? Forty minutes?" "Longer than that..." "A couple of hours? An hour and a half?" "... " "Because we can wait right here. Or we can go back up the street and come back in an hour, or an hour and a half, and if y'all happen to be back outside, you know, or we can just ding dong if you're not, and..." "I... Okay." See, my sister feels bad for the kids and would have played with them if she hadn't had to run off to class; she loves kids and her primary life goal is basically to settle down and be a full-time mom. I always felt uncomfortable saying that I "don't like" kids, because that isn't true, and after this conversation, I realized why: I think of kids as very small people, because when I was a kid, I hated it when people treated me like a baby just because I hadn't gotten all my grownup teeth in yet. And there are people I like, and people I dislike. It varies, because people are people. Now, that little girl, she was quiet the whole time and held the little white dog's leash and seemed pretty sweet, so I felt kind of bad that she didn't get what she wanted (i.e., to play with puppies). The little boy, on the other hand, was annoying the living fuck out of me because he wouldn't take no for an answer, and that burns my toast no matter how old you are. Seriously, I can't believe the kid stood there for seven or eight minutes and argued with me. I mean, he wasn't being aggressive or anything; he was just being really, really persistent, and possibly too damn eight years old dense to get the point, which was NO. Maybe I'm ticked off because I can barely fathom ringing some random family's doorbell at the age of eight in the first place, much less arguing with with an adult when they told me no. Of course, people still ask me what grade I'm in ("Uh... nineteenth?"), so maybe I just didn't read as an adult to him. Really, it probably irritated me more because I suddenly saw weeks of the exact same conversation stretching out before me--God help us all when summer gets here. I am hoping, however, that the kids on the other end of the street feel like getting their ding-dong-ditch on again this summer, because I am perfectly willing to sit around back by the side of the house with a baseball bat and lie in wait. 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