Thursday, July 19, 2007

My Trip That Would Never Happen





When we were in the fifth grade, my best friend Melissa sewed an entire army of Care Bears. Her mother would buy the patterns at Wal-Mart, stuff them with cotton, and Melissa would stitch them up. They were ugly little guys, splayed out all over her bed in their pastel glory. She didn't care much about them when they were done -- she was always onto the next one. I loved watching her work on them, face aglow with concentration. I didn't have anything I loved doing that much. Most of my young life had been about external pressure, the ways one could please others. The Care Bears served no such function. We didn't play with them or imagine lives for them unlike our mutual friend K's collection of glass penguins which we were certain came alive at night. When we sat around and watched "All in the Family" or "Maude," Melissa would pull out her latest and darn him up, sometimes poking the little dude through his eyes or mouth. But the one that was hurt never said a word. When Melissa would finish, she'd flip the new one up in the air and then set him aside, his flat, slightly lumpy body joining all the others. "I'm done," Melissa would announce. "Onto the next."

I wasn't terribly maternal as a child and couldn't even do as much stitching as Melissa. My only creation was a latchhook for my grandmother of a giraffe. It's hideously ugly, and I still have it in a small green suitcase that I've had since I was a child. I used the suitcase for my attempts at running away. Of course, I never got further than the door; I couldn't imagine how I'd exist in the evil world all alone! But I loved the ritual of packing for my trip that would never happen, loved picking out the few items I'd need on the road. I thought about all the things that couldn't move, like the Care Bears. And how they'd be wasted space on any trip. Even then, I realized you had to travel light, taking only what was essential. But something I loved, that glow of concentration, getting lost in the task at hand, I wanted that. That was worth the whole suitcase and anything you could put in it.


Michelle's Spell of the Day
"It's a suicide pace and today is a good day to die." Steve Prefontaine

Cocktail Hour
Drinking movie suggestion: The Last Days of Disco

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Thursday!

5 comments:

Cheri said...

I can't believe that you have zero comments on this post!


I was watching "Dirty Jobs" on the Discovery Channel and Mike Rowe was clearing out a snake pit, full of rattle snakes, and I thought of you!

eric313 said...

I couldn't believe it either, then I turned it to the response page and Cheri must just now have commented, because it was at zero.

"I didn't have anything I loved doing that much. Most of my young life had been about external pressure, the ways one could please others. The Care Bears served no such function."

You have the soul. This whole ting is strong, but I had to highlight this part, since it was especially telling to read.

Hope you're well and off to vacation and really be free.

the walking man said...

"It's a suicide pace and today is a good day to die." Steve Prefontaine

He had it wrong, "any day is a good day to die, no matter what the pace."

JR's Thumbprints said...

We had big macho men donning cheezy tats sewing teddy bears for kids that were victims of Katrina. They were so intense, working from old machines, piling those stuffed bears into a storage closet until you couldn't fit anymore. Even our dear Governor of Michigan ended up with one. I saw her clutching it in her hands, thanking the Director of the Department of Corrections for the National Lifers Associations dedicated efforts. I, along with some of the others, laughed as she spoke, even though it was a live teleconference and people could be singled out.

Charles Gramlich said...

The concentration is a great thing. It's why I play video games sometimes. While I'm focused on the changes in the game, focused on solving a riddle or just staying alive, there seems nothing else in the world. And no real life worries to bring you down.