Since I'm still relatively new to the world of playgrounds, I often wonder about the rules and etiquette.
Obviously, the No. 1 priority is to keep the kids safe and to keep dangerous people out. But sometimes there's gray area as to what's acceptable.
Here are a few recent scenarios that I've witnessed in San Francisco parks. Is the following behavior (a) cool, (b) uncool or (c) creepy?
1. A guy in his 40s or 50s comes alone to the playground every morning. He faces the wall and starts doing Tai Chi-style exercises, some of which seem to be focused on his crotch area.
2. A dad comes to the playground with his 3- or 4-year-old son and watches him while drinking a beer. It's barely noon.
3. A kind Indian woman (who speaks little English) likes to pick up your child without asking and send him down the slide.
4. At a crowded playground, a guy is videotaping the action from a park bench. Then he packs up and leaves without any kids.
1. I'd say (c) creepy. I have nothing against Tai Chi crotch exercises, but there's plenty of room to do this elsewhere in the park. There's no reason to come inside the enclosed playground area, which requires you to be accompanied by a child.
2. (a) cool. I was going to call this "uncool," but I have to admire that the dad at least waited until noon. Let's not dwell on the fact that daylight saving time gave him an hour's headstart on his drinking.
3. Definitely (a) cool by my standards, but I could see some parents objecting.
4. (c) creepy. Not much debate on this one, unless possibly he was a documentary filmmaker.