After a bike ride around the neighborhood I put dinner on and then went back outside to practice some jo staff moves for a few minutes. The staff is heavier than it looks, so it gives my arms a bit of a workout.
Along comes one of the neighborhood kids.
“Hey, Mr. Smarty Pants’ Mom!” (Of course, he used my son’s actual name.)
“Hey.” I keep right on doing my figure eights, imagining that I’m whacking someone on the head with each strike.
“Man, I just had to come down here and say you were like rollin’ on that bike.”
I pause in my jo staff exercises as he comes within striking distance. I may be able to make it look like I know what I’m doing, but in all honesty, my jo staff skills are rudimentary. I’d rather not hit him on accident.
I reply, “Well, yeah, it’s called exercise.” He laughs and I continue talking. “If I don’t want to break bones and stuff when I get older, I have to build muscle.”
“Yeah.” He pantomimes a hurt back.
“And you are?”
“K*. I used to ride with J and Mr. Smarty-Pants.”
“You go to Woodale Middle?”
I nod. “I didn’t want Mr. Smarty-Pants there because of the gangs, although, I’m not so sure his current school is all that much better.”
“Yah. Although, they got pedophiles over there.”
“At his school?”
“Yeah. I may just finish my eleventh year and then get a job.”
I launch into a pro-education pep talk, encouraging him to stick it out, maybe see about transferring to another school. He nods, but I get the feeling he’s blowing it off. I keep the pep talk short and then say I have to go see to dinner.
He extends his hand and I shake it right as he says, “I just gotta say, Mr. Smarty-Pants is lucky.”
In my head I’m filling in stuff like, “for having a mom who cares about education, or who watches out for him”, or any number of other things.
“Cuz you are beautiful.”
I’m suddenly quite thankful for the jo staff in my hand, just in case. Uhhhh, kid, don’t make me hit you. He grins and walks away.
He shall henceforth be known as Mr. Creepy Hormones. Unfortunately it occurred to me that there may be a disconcerting number of creepy hormonal teens in my future.
Maybe I should practice knife katas outside instead.
*Name redacted to protect the player.