Childhood is brilliant. You’re amazed by the simplest of concepts and able to play pretend so vividly that it’s reality for you. You’re not yet at an age where anything matters for more than a few minutes…no worrying about how you look, why (s)he never called back, deadlines. No anxiety surrounding overwhelming debt, or difficult tests, or which direction your life is headed in. Not a care in the world beyond your imagination. I understand it’s a stage, and one that inevitably ends. But are we really meant to pull a complete 180 and grow into these amoebic, money-hungry robots that live by rote and value the personal lives of others above all else? What happened to the beautiful nature of finding amusement in simplicity? Where has it gone, and is it lost forever?
I’ve recently acquired a second job at a children’s clothing store known as Carter’s. It is the first job I’ve ever had that deals with primarily clothes, and babies and toddlers. In working with them, I try to make them smile and laugh; some are receptive, others are not. I’ve found that I can relate to both the outgoing and the introverted on different levels- maybe I simply never grew up in certain areas of my life. Some things that children do are deemed more acceptable than if an adult were to do them; I’m here to challenge the validity of that statement by exercising my right to share in the following toddler inclinations as an adult.
1. Bury my face in my company when a stranger tries to talk to me.
There are days when I simply do not feel like it. What does ‘it’ refer to? Life. Anything. I am forced to interact daily with other human beings at both jobs; can’t I enjoy a day off without talking to anybody? Maybe it rained and I forgot my umbrella. Maybe the release date of a video game I’d been anticipating was pushed back to an undisclosed time. Maybe I’m upset with the amount of money we spend per fiscal year as a country. There are various contributing factors. The point is, if you’re unfamiliar and say hello to me, don’t be surprised if I grab my best friend’s arm and hide behind her, peeking out only to see if you’ve gone away yet.
2. Stare unabashedly at unfamiliar people for uncomfortable periods of time.
Or, if there are multiple people fussing over me, this:
3. Fiendishly chase after bubbles while giggling in different octaves.
Does this one even need explaining?
Look at that display of prismatic, soapy goodness. Why WOULDN’T somebody chase after that gravity-defying beauty? Never too old for that shit.
I have this theory that bubbles are trying to lead us to another realm, full of rainbows and cookies and happy and free balloons and hugs. When they pop, it’s from discouragement due to having floated too far outside our reach as humans. One day, we’ll get there. One day.
4. Announce when I’ve gone to the bathroom and then expect a reward.
What? My brother would reward my nephew with some M&Ms if he went on the potty while being trained. Granted, he is three and just learned, and that is quite a milestone. But I’m going to be twenty-four soon, and not once have I ever forgotten how or where to properly use the bathroom. That’s a long time. Shouldn’t I get something? M&Ms are nice, but how about something a little better. Like maybe the coconut M&Ms. Now that’s a reward.
In a world as backwards and gruesome as ours, I think I reserve the right to not want to grow up in ways shown above. Save for number four- that one isn’t a question of maturity, but a prideful accomplishment that I feel I’m owed recognition for.
Excuse me; the fresco I’m coloring on the wall molding is in dire need of attention.