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EVERYTHING KING: New pop-up playgrounds teach adults how to interact again, seriously

In this week's Everything King, Wendy gives her take on new Toronto trend meant to get us out of isolation and back to playing with strangers
2021-08-03 Playground
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Have you heard the latest? Pop-up playgrounds — 50 of them — in Toronto and they're just for adults.

Not that kind of adults-only recreation.

The purpose is to teach people who have been isolated by the pandemic how to interact with other people again.

This is because we've all become afraid to interact with each other after almost two years of staying six feet apart.

Very un-adult, so they say.

It's the brainchild of a Toronto-based organization called Reset, which has run adult summer camps in the past.

I was torn between trying to find a way to give this a positive spin — y’know, like it's innovative, good for fitness, and fun.

Unfortunately, I determined my take on it is that it's one of the dumbest things I’ve ever heard.

Honestly, have we completely lost the plot, people?

We, as adults, now have no clue how to connect with one another?

Here’s the way it's supposed to work...

According to director of community Adil Dhalla, these playgrounds pop up in public places with about 10 people. Each participant is given a headset and they listen to instructions guiding them in play activities for about 45 minutes.

It works for any age over 18.

If you really need a stranger  on a headset  to instruct you on how to spend your leisure time and then charge you a fee to do it, you either have too much time on your hands or too much money in your pocket for your own good.

I wonder if you get a cookie at the end of the circuit. Maybe a juice and a nap?

Oh, that’s probably an extra fee. A 'fun fee'!

Will there be awards for participation?

Do you get a certificate for completing all the games? A sticker would be nice. 

I truly hate to be a thief of joy, but have we all lost our imaginations?

If everything is not organized, detailed, timed out and made overly complicated, it seems to be deemed not worthwhile.

There is some truth to the fact we have all gotten a little rusty in the communications department. We may have forgotten some of our manners. We aren’t making eye contact any longer and we try to find ways to avoid contact rather than connect with others.

I think it may be true that many of us have a fear of engagement. 

No doubt, it has become easier to just go the other way rather than meet a stranger face to face and I suppose that is the point of this outreach.

They say it's to “contribute to social recovery."

Maybe, in fact, it would ease the blues.

To their credit, Reset offers different price points, accessibility, has COVID controls and is donating 100 per cent of any profits to the Indian Residential School Survivor Society.

Congratulations on all of that.

I’m not against fun. I prefer it to work. It may be just the scheduled pay-for-play that struck me as silly.

Maybe somewhere along the line I lost my inner child.

The company website suggests there are as many onlookers as participants as the un-adulting gets underway. I bet! People, wearing headsets, jumping, twirling, dancing in their own little world?

Now, that could be entertaining!

About the Author: Wendy King

Wendy King writes about all kinds of things from nutrition to the job search from cats to clowns — anything and everything — from the ridiculous to the sublime. Watch for Wendy's column weekly.
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