Clark Park is my favorite park in Everett. And, by favorite, I mean it’s the park I most want the earth to just swallow up already so I can stop being tempted to go there. The nice park on the other side of Broadway was recently vandalized by morally challenged a-holes and my first thought was, “It shoulda been Clark.”
Actually, my first thought was a lot of swearing as I was sitting in the parking lot with my kids in the car staring at caution tape where a slide used to be.
But I digress.
Clark Park is made fantastic by its proximity to my house. We can walk to Clark, play for an hour or so, and walk back. Sadly, the place is even closer to downtown Everett, Everett High School, and a church whose parking lot is perpetually crammed with bikers and the sort of cars you warn your daughter to stay the hell away from.
The first time I went to Clark Park, I was a new mom in a relatively new city. I packed my barely crawling baby into the stroller, plugged into my iPod, and went forth into a rare sunny day ready to show my kid the world! Slides! Baby Swings! All that shit.
So I get there and, of course, there’s a guy who’s somewhere between 50 and 100 years old sitting on a bench staring at the empty playground. He’s wearing a pair of pleated black slacks and loafers. That’s it. Huge, bare gut. Baking in the sun. Gleaming with sweat. Slacks and loafers.
I’m an idiot, so I don’t immediately turn around. Fuck you, guy, I think, you’re not ruining my baby’s awesome first day at the park. My baby needs to experience swinging in the goddamn sun at her goddamn neighborhood park.
I take the Madness out and plop her in the swing. She squeals with delight. I’m aglow. I’m taking pictures. I’m keeping one eye on topless guy in case he decides to remove any other clothing. Because I’m an idiot, I kind of thought he would pick up on the whole awkward vibe of having a mom & baby team show up. I figured he’d get embarrassed and shuffle away. That is not what happened.
He gets up off the bench. Shuffles onto the play structure. And begins to attempt a pull up.
I shit you not.
Black, pleated slacks. Loafers. The full Mickey-D’s paunch. He reaches up, grabs hold of the monkey-bar and puuuuullllls with all he’s got – which is nowhere near enough to haul his glistening fat off the tanbark. To his credit, he does NOT give up easy. He keeps trying. He is not a pervert sex-offender. He is just a guy whose gym membership expired.
I’m so distracted by all of this I get clocked in the face by a swinging toddler.
I give up. I pack up. I get the hell out of there.
And that is just one of many reasons Clark Park is my favorite* park.
*see about definition of “favorite”