I Fall to Pieces

One of the many boxes of legos.

Bear had done right by me when he cleared out his room. Per instructions, he left the books for me to pick through. And the Legos.

There were four or five plastic containers full of the red and yellow and blue and green and gray blocks. There were some block blocks–squares and rectangles. There were some windows that opened and closed. There were also a few doodads that could turn around like a faucet or maybe could be a flower. There were bodied and disembodied yellow heads to pick through. And an amazing number of little gray connectors that must have been from the many Star Wars and knights kits that were under Christmas trees and gifted for birthdays.

I found Legos to be a wonderful mindless manipulative. It wasn’t mindful for me, as I didn’t focus or concentrate on my creations. I’d sometimes make a color pattern, but, for me, it was always indeterminate.

The Bear and the Big Guy spent many hours assembling and disassembling roads, houses, towns and worlds. It was the journey of a Creator, trying different combinations, making evolution happen and then reshaping a next one.

There were kits that were constructed following the guidance on the box. But only once. After it was made, it was rejoiced and then deconstructed and the spoils added to the pile. There were no Lego trophies that were saved for posterity. Legos made fluid sculptures.

On Saturday, I returned to my boxing duties, back to the Bear’s room. I cleaned out the craziness in the closet. I don’t believe that the back of that closet was cleared out in fifteen years. Frankly, it was scarier in thought than in fact.

For some reason, there was a big pile of coins on the dresser. Next to the pile, there was a box full of even more coins, as well as with a bunch of little rocks. Why don’t people (in my family) recognize that nickels and dimes and quarters and, yes, even pennies, are money to be spent rather than items to pile. There was once a day when I ordered a pizza only to realize that I had no cash (before delivery took credit cards). I paid for the pizza with coin I conjured from pockets, under the pillows on the couch and from the bottom of my bags–even going to the closet to rummage through every bag I owned. The Pizza Hut guy wasn’t particularly jazzed, but at least I found enough silver to include a decent tip.

I picked through the rocks (why rocks in that box, too??)  and tossed them as well as a number of wires and quite a pile of empty wrappers that made me both relieved and a little shocked.

I parsed through the books, fondly putting some in boxes and others in the to-go pile. I soon found myself sitting on the floor picking through those Lego boxes.

I started tossing out the tiny green army men I found in one box. There was some nerf bullets in another and a fuselage of a plastic airplane. The dust in the uncovered bins was charring my fingers and making me sneeze. I started combing through one of the bins to shake out the chaff, the unique Lego plastic-on-plastic sound whistling as I shook through the box.

WHAT THE HELL WAS I DOING?

Seriously. What. The. Hell. Was. I. Doing.

I was spending fifteen, soon to be thirty and likely sixty minutes going through old toys. That had more than a decade of dust on them. I said I wasn’t sentimental and here I was. On the floor. Picking through junk.

Nope. Nope. Nope. Done. Said my sane self.

I took a photo of the boxes of little colorful blocks and posted them under FREE on my neighborhood listserve. I identified them as dusty and recommended running them through the dishwasher. In less than ten minutes I had a a taker. In five more minutes I took the two trips downstairs and to the front porch to await pickup. I had two more pings for them before I took the listing down.

I went for a beer and a sandwich and when I stepped on to the porch I looked down. They were gone.

And I’m good with that.

 

A Closed Loop

The Air and Space Museum at night. From the Mall side.

“The museum is closed,” said the disembodied voice broadcast from the ceiling. I tossed my 3D glasses into the big box as I passed through the exit doors. I walked underneath the electronic gate, a sentry that would beep or screech or burp an alarm if the encoded goggles were still in my pocket.

I was close to holding on to them to set the alarm off. But I had the use the restroom. I found the recycling bin, past the guard station, and dropped my empty beer bottle into its mouth. No popcorn or raisenettes in the museum theatre, but a choice of beers and a hard cider. Weird. But I was on a mission. 

The cavernous voice reminded me, again, about the closed museum. I headed toward the bathrooms. That is until I was stopped by a crisply white-shirted museum officer. There was a shiny ribbon along the seam of her trousers, and she had a shiny plastic badge above her crisp white breast pocket. “The museum is closed.” I nodded. 

“Yup, just need to use the facilities,” I grinned and pointed at them, just nine or ten yards ahead. 

“The museum is closed.” She pointed solemnly the down escalator like the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come. The speakers from the ceiling backed her up, “The museum is closed.”

“I just can’t…” I started, but she just looked at me without mercy and pointed with a hint of “no exception” dripping from her pointing finger. “Is there one underneath here?” She silently nodded, her directive arm like a street sign. I stepped onto the moving stairs, away from the closest relief station. 

I stepped off the escalator and turned around. To see a long line snaking its way from the door. The museum is closed, except for the long line for the bathroom. And the other long line for the next screening of the movie. Didn’t seem closed to me. I was walking to find the end of the line as the regular refrain “The museum is closed” played across the PA system. I was shocked by the sudden vibration from my left back pocket. The sound from my phone was still muted from the show. “Hey,” I said after seeing The Big Guy’s image.

“You just walked by us. I’m going to punch someone if we don’t leave now.”

“I need to use the bathroom and there’s a ridiculous line.” (The museum is closed.)

“No seriously. Someone will be punched by me if I stand here another minute.” He was serious. 

“Where you at? We’re gonna need to stop somewhere else, you know.”

(The museum is closed.) “That’s fine. Just turn around. I can see you.” I couldn’t see him, even though I strained to see around the crowd of people who were not getting the message, either. Despite the near monkish chant, “the museum is closed.” I wished it rhymed. Then I saw him on his phone and put mine back in my pocket.

There was another museum cop standing a few feet away from him, offering the news that the museum was closed. “Wait, so are you saying that the museum is closed?” I couldn’t tell if the cop was ignoring or unaware of the sarcasm. 

“The museum is closed,” he replied. (The museum is closed.) I think that this was not the first part of their exchange, and I could feel The Big Guy getting riled. 

“You can’t go there, unless you get in line for those IMAX tickets. The door is there.” He pointed. These folks sure did point a lot. 

“But I want to go there,” I pointed to the exit on the other side. The side much closer to where I parked. 

“The museum is closed.” 

“So I can’t use that other exit?” (The museum is closed.) We were walking to my preferred exit. 

“The museum is closed.” I was starting to understand that punching feeling.

“We can’t leave through that other side?” I was going to scream if I heard that stupid overhead call and response.

“You can go out that way. The museum is closed.”

The Big Guy couldn’t hold himself back, “So the museum is like, closed!??!” The museum police put his hand on his club. (The museum is closed.) He repeated his line, the one about the museum being closed as we rushed each other out of that nightmare.

As we walked past the last of the guard gauntlet, the final line of defense said, “Have a good night,” and I thought that the Big Guy was going to kiss him. Instead he thanked him for not telling us that the museum was closed as we pushed out the door into the fresh, cool night air where we all asked each other the most important question. You know what we asked. It was funny, now.

Orange Crush

Carrots. Baby carrots. Right size. Right color. WRONG!

It was so ridiculous. I ate a pretty big, and fairly late, breakfast this morning. I figured it would take me through the rest of the day. I was wrong.

It didn’t start until maybe 12:10 p.m. I was clicking through from Twitter when I was violently accosted by an awakening of sorts. Call it an urge, if you will. But by any name the results were the same. I suddenly and completely craved Cheetos®.

I immediately discarded this ridiculous thought. I checked my satiation scale. I wasn’t hungry. I returned to my computer screen. Only to be interrupted, again.

CHEETOS®! It was like I was the teenager that just had sex in the horror movie, and it was my turn to be lured out–to certain death–by the monster. It was just that dooming.

Nope. Nope. Nope. Not having it. In addition to not being hungry, if I had a bag at my desk, opened it and ate some, the orange Cheeto® dust would get on my keyboard. I wasn’t going to get started on that path. No Cheetos® everywhere. No Cheetos® anywhere.

I started back to work and my mind wandered to Baby Bear playing U-6 soccer. Some parents (okay, most) didn’t follow the guidelines requiring orange slices and water for games. They didn’t get that it was replenishment versus treats. So they’d bring salty snack bags and juice boxes. Bear would pick a bag of Doritos so I wouldn’t eat them. I hate Doritos. But he’d bring a bag of Cheetos® to me on the sideline so I would be happy. Stop! Out damn thought!

I pummeled the thought of salty-fatty-messy snack out of my thinking brain. But I couldn’t beat it out of my lizard brain. The part of me that imagined my chameleon-like tongue snapping a  Cheeto® out of the bag. Yeah. That. Couldn’t stop. Can I eat it now?

NO! I turned back to answering an email, still fighting through my consuming desire. I needed to check the possible dates for a meeting against my calendar. I switched between calendar and email and lost my place. Cheetos® were calling me, like a moth to the flame.

I looked at the clock. It was now 1:40 p.m., and I had been thinking about Cheetos® for 90 minutes. Literally thinking of nothing but Cheetos® for ninety minutes. Solid.

I grabbed my key fob and my wallet. I walked down the stairs to the lobby and turned into the little bodega. I knew that this wasn’t going to end until I ended it.

And, I did. Totally ridiculous.

Cheetos. Not carrots!
Cheetos. Not carrots.