on a field trip to look at a vegetable garden (isn’t spring exciting?!) the other day, a few friends and i stopped for a bit to watch a playground in action. it’s been some time since i’ve seen a playground in full tilt. there was this constant high pitched screaming sound. it’s not that every kid is screaming constantly…it’s that they take turns, unknowingly, to create this lulling screeching mantra.
we hadn’t watched long when one kid (we’ll call him tiny tim due to his smaller stature) inadvertently knocked down another (we’ll call him camo king thanks to his flashy camoflage jacket) when exiting a slide. tiny tim desperately tried to make a quick getaway, knowing that trouble was brewing, but camo king’s militia (also sporting camo gear) quickly grabbed him to hold him for the reckoning that was soon to come. of course teachers, playground monitors, and all other big people were nowhere to be found. camo king got his whereabouts and came to collect his revenge just as tiny tim wiggled free and made a bolt for the jungle gym. unfortunately, tiny tim’s limited stride size allowed camo king to quickly catch him and deck him into the dirt. the camo jackets jumped about in joyous celebration. tiny tim struggled to his feet, wanting to fight back. but realizing his disparity in size, he sought the help of a nearby adult who had somehow remained oblivious to the turmoil happening around her. unfortunately camo king and his posse saw this happening and rushed over to plead their case. the result of this judgement seemed unjust to us observers…the outcome with tiny tim headed inside of the school building with the teacher, looking forlorn while camo king and company returned to their terrorist activities amongst the swingset.
we decided it’d be a fascinating study to attach homing beacons to all the students and track them to see how territorial they were, whether they traveled in packs, and what other patterns could be found. we were all convinced that despite the apparent chaotic appearance of the playground, that there was a definite pattern to what takes place during those blessed great moments of the day known as “recess”.