Yeah, this blog’s title makes no sense – but, I’m perfectly okay with that. Good afternoon, my lovelies, my cherub-faced mischief makers. I assume you’re glued to your computers reading this magnificent blog because there’s absolutely nothing else in the whole, wide, world out there to do, right? Hell, even if there was, there’s nothing you’d rather be doing. I totes agree. If I can get through an entire day without seeing the sunlight once, I considered that a successful day. My brain must be steeped in the fluorescent glow of my laptop screen at all times or I will get the shakes. I’m talking fidget city. Even whilst watching the teevee, I need this thing in my lap roasting my lady parts (I’ll adopt).
Unfortunately, sacrificing all of our free time on the altar of technology is apparently a little unhealthy. How can that be??? I’ve been asked to look into our city’s leisure activities and improve them or something.
First, I wanted to learn what was so detrimental about TV and the interwebs. According to my research, computer-using teens have fewer friends and are lonelier and more socially isolated. I guess that’s bad, although I consider that my every day. By barricading ourselves in our houses we’ve also seen a reduction in our “social capital” or the “fabric of activities that connects us to one another.” Some examples of declining capital over that last 25 years are “attending club meetings is down by 58 percent, family dinners are down by 33 percent, and having friends over has declined by 45 percent.” This results in increased crime, bad schools and an overall lower quality of life.
Next, I looked up the leisure amenities available in Modesto. Villageprofile.com painted a very rosy picture of the park situation touting “75 amenity-filled parks totaling more than 500 acres. Playgrounds, tennis courts, lighted ball fields, picnic sites, a wading pool and more than 15 miles of bike paths are among the many features discovered throughout the Modesto area park sites.” However, we know from our previous missions that the bike paths are a joke and the city can’t afford park upkeep. The city’s cutting funding for softball, day camps and rec center games, parks will be closed on weekdays, cemeteries neglected and libraries shuttered. But don’t worry, they’re pulling out all the stops to keep the golf courses open, so old white men will be happy.
It turns out we can counteract our lack of leisure with a half hour of “moderate physical activity” a day. We can walk, romp, dance, etc. When I was a little blobule, I enjoyed camping. We went on several family trips a year and it was tons of fun. We also took family bike rides on weekends (just assume I was strapped in a child’s seat and don’t over think the legless thing) from my dad’s house in Merced to Yosemite lake. Also, I loved loved loved my Slip ‘n Slide.
Once again, I’ll turn my Evil Eye upon the City Council folks and have them reinstate park and recreation funding. We are already paying plenty in taxes and fees. I took, like, three accounting classes, so I will channel my expertise into a citywide audit of our spending. Wasteful programs will be re-canoodled or eliminated and the funds redirected to the parks.
Parks will become more of an interactive family experience. Some of my favorite things about camping were the Campfire Programs. Why can’t we do that in our “75 amenity-filled parks totaling more than 500 acres”? We will build small outside theaters with benches and a fire pit. Park rangers will lead the kids in songs and teach them about all the different kinds of birds and wildlife that live in the park. We could go on nature walks or bike rides and have summer movie nights. We will offer free bike and rollerskate/blade rentals…and there will be a snack bar because I like snacks.
In the future, families won’t think twice about taking their kids out to the park a few times a week. Men will learn how to cook, so if mom is working late – they can pick up the slack instead wandering around wondering “When’s dinner?” Computers will be used to type up homework assignments, but not much else (probably because we’ll already have computers implanted in our heads, though). Everybody will have friends and there will be a gigantic, soft, Slip ‘n Slide in the park for me to ripple down (I may enlist Monkey Woman’s help to grow bananas to keep the slide nice and slick).
This is either a Slip 'n Slide or a bike path