Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Nickels, Dimes, Bubbles

I took the girls to the big new playground at Coyote Point the other day, but forgot to stop at the ATM (I never carry cash; does anyone carry cash?) and so found myself in the humiliating position of emptying out my coin-filled ashtray for the requisite $3 or whatever it costs to enter the park. The park ranger woman felt so sorry for me. She kept saying, "That's okay, that's fine, that's enough," as I handed her nickel after nickel, dime after dime. "There!" I screamed in triumph when I'd finally found enough for the entrance fee. She didn't even rejoice with me, that park ranger woman. If ever I become a park ranger woman, I will work diligently to be hilarious when forced to work the entrance booth. Also if I ever become a cotton candy vendor, ear piercer, purveyor of donuts, or barista. Just so you know.

Of note at the park was an overly enthusiastic mother who insisted on following her children around and blowing bubbles at them. Bubbles while they swung, bubbles while they rocked and jumped and climbed. Bubbles, even, when they cried. I watched her with a combination of fascination, annoyance, and disbelief. She was incredibly persistent. What is the impulse, I wondered, to keep them surrounded by bubbles? This thought led directly to the image of bubble wrap and then, quite logically, to the idea that everyone has a natural desire to protect fragile things. Annoyance getting the best of me (this is a shock, is it not, that I would let annoyance win out over empathy or understanding; I'm really so horrible sometimes), I almost yelled out, "Um, that's not going to work, really, this thing you're doing." But she was far away by then, parked at the bottom of one of the slides with the bubble wand poised in front of her lips, ready to ensure a safe landing.

Also of note that day: some sentences scribbled in my moleskine, which I think were a direct response to earlier that morning when the girls asked me if I could write a story for them. Here's what I wrote:
Shhhhhh. The three sisters are singing. Press your ear to the door if you must.

I know what you are thinking. You are thinking 'why are they singing all alone in Roonie's bedroom at the top of the house on Moonview Road?' Because, truly, they should be singing in a gazebo in Central Park surrounded by an audience who sighs with pleasure at the rise and fall of their voices.
Sometimes the sentences scribbled in my moleskine are very horrible, but I kind of like these. So maybe I will write a story for my girls. And maybe they will like it better than the very likable The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy, which we're reading together now...

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