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I pulled into the Walgreens parking lot at about 12:30. I just needed to pick up a prescription. (Yes, for my Hand, Foot and Mouth disease.) I turned off the car, got out, and made it about halfway to the store before I saw them.

High school kids. En masse.

Dammit, I muttered to myself. I forgot about open lunch. I hurried into the store, making my way around multiple groups of teenagers walking slowly, congregated on the sidewalk, and just generally getting in the way. I surreptitiously eyed their amazingly of-the-moment and fashionable clothes and cursed myself for leaving the house in my tennis shoes. I watched them giggle and flirt and I prayed that they would either not notice me at all, or that they would think I was cool and/or desirable. I practically tripped over my own two feet getting into that store because the mere presence of large groups of teenagers made me more self-conscious than I would feel walking around downtown naked in front of a crowd of normal adults.

Good god, people, what’s wrong with me??

I couldn’t get a better picture. They were too terrifying up close.

I noticed this phenomenon a couple months ago, when school finally started at the high school just down the block from us. Every time I forget about open lunch and go to one of the stores or restaurants around the school between the hours of 11:00-1:00, I encounter the same fate. I’m like the nerdy kid in school and I just, desperately, want these other kids to like me.

I don’t really experience this when I encounter just one or two teenagers. It’s mostly when they’re in groups of three or more. This doesn’t do me much good, though, because teenagers seem to always travel in packs. What’s up with that, right?

I probably never would have written about this, too embarrassed and ashamed to even mention it. But last Friday, while walking around downtown with a friend and our two adorable little girls, we were accosted by a large mass of high school kids on their way to the Art Institute. We both fell silent and walked past the high school kids in our own little worlds. When the misery was over, I broke the silence with a joke. “Is it just me, or are teenagers terrifying?” Mercifully, my friend agreed. I’m not the only one!

It’s even worse when I’m out with Addie. I want them to think that I’m a cool mom. That, even though I have a child, I’m not some boring old “parent.” Let’s be honest, I want them to think I’m something of a MILF.

Now I do realize we’re talking about underage kids, so let me be perfectly clear. I have absolutely no attraction to these people. I am not remotely interested in them. They terrify me. And intellectually I know that they are immature and probably hate their lives. But I can’t help it, I want them to think I’m cool, sexy, awesome, and amazing. And also, I think that’s f*cking crazy.

All of which is to say, I really need to remember not to leave the house during open lunch.

Has anyone else experienced this? Please tell me I’m not the only one.

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