An actual urchin said this to me just as I was leaving work. He actually scampered across the carpark clutching his football hopefully to his chest.
I looked warily over. I don't interact well with kids. They freak me out if I'm honest. My voice does this fake bonhomie thing when I talk to them. So determined am I to talk to them as equals and not be patronising, as this is what I imagine kids like, that my voice doesn't even sound like my normal voice to me. So christ knows what it sounds like to the kid. They're probably well aware that I'm trying to be their friend and therefore instantly hate me.
"Er, ok, but be quick. I want to go home."
Was that too harsh? It was true though. I had just escaped the office and was enjoying my first breath of freedom and, to be honest, I didn't really want to spend my precious evening time in the company of an aimless vagabond child.
So he kicked. I don't know if it was his biggest ever kick. And I can't say I was much impressed, but I said I was.
"That was ace," I trilled.
He looked at me sceptically. As if to say: I may be six but I'm not freaking stupid, lady.
I sensed the moment had passed. And it was getting s bit awkward. "Just watch the cars, yeah?" I muttered. And scarpered.
But I still felt a tiny warm glow in that I had interacted with a child and a) it had approached me, b) I had held at least two sentences worth of conversation, c) I hadn't said no when it wanted to show me something I was almost positive I didn't really want to see and d) I didn't make it cry.
These are all progress. Sprogged up friends, just give me another few years and I won't be secretly terrified of your offspring anymore. Probably.