Wednesday, July 15, 2009

I Live to Embarrass My Children ...

I never really thought of myself as having a particularly vivid imagination, but apparently it’s enough to make me think of some strange scenarios. Sometimes I’m swept away into a world only I can see, embarking on weird and wonderful adventures. It’s great until one of my children appears, bringing me back into the real world. For some reason these journeys begin when I’m facing some inanimate object and my eyes glaze over, making me look pretty silly – at least to my offspring. Apparently it’s not cool to have a mom who stares at things like vending machines and trees.

What’s so mesmerizing about a vending machine? Nothing much, except that one day, right after I finished deciding what drink I wanted, I started to think about what it would be like to be a little person living inside the machine. I’d spend my days riding on the cans sliding down the chutes, grabbing on to some ledge just before the can reaches the bottom, and then climbing up to the top again. Yeah, it’s weird, but maybe this was my way of going down a water slide without having to wear a bathing suit. Anyway, my eldest child was mortified that her classmates were there to witness my mental departure from the real world.

The tree provided an even more curious scenario. We were in Washington, DC, listening to a particularly boring tour guide drone on about some historical trivia. I happen to love learning about history, but I prefer to hear about it from people who actually know what they’re talking about. I stood at the back of the group, next to a tree. A lone ant came up to the tree and started climbing it. I watched as it wended its way in the channels drawn by the bark and wondered how it know which way to go every time it got to a fork in the “road”. Did he have a specific destination, or was he just looking for food? If I were that ant, how long would it take me to get to the top of the tree? This time it was my younger one who dragged me back to the present.

Now that both girls are on their own, I have more freedom to daydream. And some of the less strange daydreams have made it into scenes in stories (no, not the pop can slides or the tree-climbing ant). My dear husband doesn’t seem to mind when I “disappear” unless I happen to be facing him when my eyes glaze over (did you ever wonder what it would be like to be a zit?). I do try to make it back to the real world when we’re eating meals together. But I think it makes life easier for him. If I’m off “visiting” someplace in my mind, he can have total control of the remote!

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