Sunday, May 29, 2016

The Flight Suit Freakout

There's no getting between a kid and his "imagination." Imagination, schmimagination. Kids and their fucking imaginations. I'm always telling my kids to "use their imaginations," and then I'm sorry I did. 

But first a detour.

This post isn't about my period, because periods are boring and taboo and no one wants to hear about them. But I need to justify why I was in bed for several hours in the middle of a relatively nice day in Juneau. Who am I kidding. I'd be in bed in the middle of any day rain or shine if I could, even if I didn't have my period, but day 2 of Little Red Riding Hood doubled my usual weekend naptime and my parents were here to take care of my kids. 

So it was mostly from bed that I overheard Isaac's flight suit freakout, which, like so many PMS cramps, made seismic rumblings earlier in the day before we left the house for a beach excursion. 

By the time we returned, Isaac's "imagination" was in high gear. He wanted to make a "flight suit." 

He'd prattled on for 20 minutes in the car about the materials he would need (wire, cloth, duct tape) and what this invention would do (make him fly). He would not be dissuaded. Out of Isaac's five year-old earshot, my dad pulled me aside in the garage. 

"You can't tell him he can't do it, Elizabeth," my own father explained to me matter-of-factly. "You have to show him he can't."

Ah! There's that "never-give-up-on-your-dreams" Nick I remember so well from childhood! 

"Whatever dad," I grumbled. "I don't want any part of this. I'm having female troubles." (I learned long ago that this statement is usually enough to make every man in my life cut me a wide berth). Tried and true. I crawled into bed and jammed my precious earplugs in my ears, but still I could hear the flight suit under construction. 

And Isaac, both foreman and architect of the project, was NOT pleased with the execution of his vision.

"BUT YOU GUYS DON'T UNDERSTAND! NO ONE UNDERSTANDS WHAT I'M TRYING TO DO!!! IT'S NOT GOING TO WORK LIKE THIS!"

No shit, kid, I thought, rolling over and pulling a pillow over my head. Welcome to literally every single day at every single job in the real world.

When the project was "complete," I could hear every other member of my family (even Isaac's usually sadistic sister) alternately trying to gaslight Isaac into thinking his flight suit was working exactly as intended, and convince him of the limitations of physics.

I snickered to myself from the safe, dark cavern of my side of the bed. Might as well learn it early, kid. Your imagination doesn't mean shit. You wanna fly? Drop some acid and lock yourself in a cabin in the woods or buy yourself a ticket to Seattle. 'Cause an old curtain, a wire hanger, and duct tape ain't gonna cut it.

Isaac, if you're reading this, life is just a series of minor setbacks and disappointments like this, all of which culminate in the nihilistic realization that there's really no point to any of it. And that's if you're lucky. Maybe unlike your mother, you'll get religion. Then at least you can tell yourself you'll have a flight suit in the next life. Just do me a favor: don't let this POS flight suit you made today take you there, at least not while I draw breath.

In the meantime, keep on dreamin' kid. Keep dreamin'.

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