Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Playing with boxes

It's a well-known parentism that when you give a toddler an expensive toy, they'd rather play with the box.

Sometimes I want to be like that.

Because you know what that is? That's honesty, free and clear of societal expectations.

I know, we need societal norms and customs and traditions for lots of things--they smooth out rough situations, they give people something to pull from, a known way to react. When Grandma gives you an ugly-ass shirt she knitted herself, if you're over 8 or so you'll smile (falsely) and say "Thank You, Grandma, I love it!" and her feelings won't be hurt. People who don't handle social things well can be difficult to be around. You want to nudge them or something.

But learning that--how to instantly drop a mask on and pretend something you don't feel--must take something REAL out of you. Kids will just wrinkle their noses and play with the tissue paper instead, and everyone will laugh. Grown-ups aren't always allowed the luxury of being honest.

The bit I like best about playing-with-the-box syndrome, though, is the pure joy and wonder of it. How cool is that, to have a world so ripe with newness and possibilities and imagination that a box is awesome? That it can instantly be a rocket or a train or a playhouse or a turtle, or ANYTHING.

That is what I envy most. I want to remember more often how cool a box can be.

Or playing catch outside in the summer, or blowing bubbles on the porch, or stopping for surprise ice cream. Enjoying, without worrying about what's going to happen next or what's right or what so-and-so will think about it. Enjoying.

Hey, writing is like that box too, isn't it? It's possibility. Creating a story, a world, from a page.

Excuse me. I'm going to go play with my box now. And I'm not going to worry about what anybody thinks.

1 comment:

courtney said...

I love this entry. Love it, love it, love it. I needed this entry. I'm bookmarking it so I can look back at it and be reminded. Thank you for writing it.