Saturday, August 13, 2011

Playing Outside

The postings on this site are my own and don’t necessarily represent IBM’s positions, strategies or opinions.

Weeding While Singing

Pat cajoled me; she got me to do major weeding this afternoon, and she helped, which made it bearable. What if I were Jain? Seems sad to uproot any living thing, but Pat tells me that the weeds choke the flowers -- the gladioli, the roses, the lamb's ear, the irises and dahlias -- so....

While weeding with my iPod on, I sang along loudly to Bobby Caldwell's "What You Won't Do for Love" and Scritti Politti's "A Perfect Way." The first song came out when I was 13 and the second when I was 20. The first song put me in a romantic mood when I was a new teen and the second one made me smile, imagining that *I* "...knew a perfect way to make the girls go crazy."

Finding a Scooter Buddy

When we got done, I saw the little kid next door, playing on her driveway, with her foot-powered scooter lying on its side at the top of the driveway. Either she moved in a month ago, or was staying with her grandmother for the summer. She couldn't have been more than six or seven. I went into our garage and took my Razor off its hook; Pat had given it to me for my 35th birthday, when Razors were especially popular, and to make my commute to NYC more streamlined. I unfolded it and pulled its neck to its full length, then walked out of the garage and called over to the girl, "Guess what I have?"

She did a double-take and then ran up her driveway to get hers. I scootered down our driveway into the street and to the foot of her driveway and asked, "May I come onto your driveway?"

She nodded. I seemed to be at least twice her height and width.

"I'm Sarah. What's your name?"


"That's a cool name --"

"My mom found it in a baby book."

She was fast. I followed her to the top of her driveway. "Look," I said, pointing to the foam on the handlebars and to the wheels, all of which were orange. "Orange is my favorite color," I said.

"Black is my favorite color," she answered, and I saw that her Razor's trim was classic-black, and then, "Look at this," and she shut her eyes and rolled in a big circle.

"That's great. Your eyes were closed," I said, when she stopped. "I'd be too afraid to do that."

"I just pretend that my mother is holding the handlebars as I do it."

Sweet. "That's great. Have you told your mom that?"

"Yes. It's my sisters' birthday today. They're twins."

"Happy birthday to them." When's the party? Why is she alone, playing outside? How come I've never seen them? How much younger are they?

"I thought they were boys when they were born because they had no hair."

"Did you have hair when you were born?"

"I just had a curl on the top here," she said, pointing to the center of the top of her scalp, which now, was covered with cutely arranged, long, dark, fuzzy corn-rows.

"I had thick, black hair, I'm told, but no eyebrows. My sisters prayed for them to grow and they did, but you can see that they're still not that thick." She didn't look.

"I didn't have eyebrows either." Hmm. Do I believe her? No.

"My mom had a baby yesterday."

"Is that really true?"

"Yes, a boy."

"What's his name?"

"Brian. It's my father's name."


Eva scootered over to a patch of dirt next to the driveway and talked about some vegetables that they had planted unsuccessfully.

"Well, we planted tomatoes on our deck and guess what happened to them?"

She looked at me, wanting to know.

"There's a squirrel who's been eating them."

"We put garbage bags over ours with a hole at the top for the water and then the animals just think they're garbage."

"That's clever." And the plants don't suffocate?

We do some more scootering and I spot a smooth, small, light-purple, semi-faceted chunk of plastic in the middle of the driveway. "Hey Eva, come here! Look, this matches your dress."

"Oh, that's from my collection of diamonds. Come here, I'll show you," she says, scootering down to nearly the foot of the driveway and letting her scooter fall over into the grass. She crouches over a pile of them and keeps unearthing them from under the mulch near a Bonsai-ish pine tree. "They used to be around this tree, as decoration."

"How neat," I said, and felt like it was the most magic I'd seen in a long time -- these sleek, purple, plastic jewel-pebbles, being pluckable from the black mulch. I felt sweat trickling down my temples from the heat and the weeding and scootering, and didn't know what to do with my awe and childhood-reminiscent thrill. "I'm sweaty and I have to go inside now," I said a bit abruptly.

She nodded without looking up at me. "Nice meeting you, Eva." She nodded again. I scootered down her driveway and back up mine, pressed the code to open one of the garage doors and looked over and saw her watching me. When she saw me see her, she looked back down at the purple pile.

A couple hours later, Pat & I were on our deck, sitting in our double-rocker and hearing party-noise next-door. Pat: "Yeah, they've got 'Happy Birthday' balloons out front."

Maybe Brian does exist. Why not, if there can be purple diamonds?

No comments: