Make Believe Land
Tonight after work, I made it a point to jump into my pool and float. Eyes skyward and the world on mute. A bird flying overhead. As I gazed upward, I was glad to see that the moths that have been fluttering in the tree tops were no longer there. They’d made our yard look how I imagine Buffalo Bill’s to be in The Silence of the Lambs. As if they’d escaped the basement, fleeing Precious’s yips. I noted with satisfaction moth carcasses in the pool and thought, “Good. I hope you all die.” Which I realize is not a kind thought. I spotted a drown caterpillar at the bottom of the pool in the deep end and felt simultaneously bad and relieved that he/she didn’t make it to asshole moth status. My mother-in-law posted an article from a local nursery and it turns out that the male gypsy moths fly, looking for females (who don’t fly) to mate with them. Interesting and revolting. I hope they don’t find any females. Seriously, ladies. Hide.
Years ago, my starter spouse and I were headed out to the movies one summer evening. We made it as far as our porch and a moth flew into his ear. Now that I know the male moths are looking for a lady moth to mate with, I can only imagine how disappointed this moth was. Not as disappointed as my starter spouse and I who went to the emergency room to evict the moth from the waxy love shack. I tried peering into his ear with a flashlight to avoid date night at the ER but I couldn’t see a thing. Just darkness. It seemed like a bad idea to blindly poke in J's ear with tweezers so instead, we sat side by side in the ER for hours. J would occasionally writhe in pain and groan. I helplessly winced and paged through an old magazine while trying not to think about what germs had been possibly transferred to it. Eventually, J scaled the triage list and was seen by a doctor who wasn’t at all amused by the situation. Did he think we did it on purpose? Like hey, I know a fun way to spend a Saturday evening! The doctor swiftly drowned the moth and then removed its soggy corpse from J’s ear canal. Drowning the moth provided immediate relief so should you ever find yourself in that predicament, do that. I subconsciously shift my hair in front of my ears. Nothing to see here, horny moth!
This past Saturday evening, Andrea and I went to the movies with another couple. I’m happy to say that no moths entered any ear canals, looking for love in all the wrong places. We saw “Won’t You be My Neighbor?” which is an insightful look into the life of Fred Rogers of Mr. Rogers Neighborhood. There is so much to say about this movie because there is so much packed into its 94-minutes. I could see it again. I used to love Mr. Rogers when I was a kid. The slow, deliberate cadence of his calm voice. His little routine of entering what I imagined to be his home when I was a kid - - I had the actual thought, “Oh of course that was a set!” on Saturday evening. I really loved when the trolley would zip off to make believe land, where Mr. Rogers himself never appeared but Daniel Striped Tiger and Henrietta Pussycat and many others. I liked Daniel’s little gold wristwatch – it reminded me of one my grandma would wear. As an only child, I would often complain to my parents that I was bored. My mother would helpfully suggest that I should clean my room, an idea I dismissed without even considering it. One day, my mom told me to “make believe”.
“What’s that?” I asked. Clearly, I’d not connected the dots from my Mr. Rogers viewing.
My mom explained make believe and I was off and running with a cast of characters from my own make believe land - - Granny Flew and Uncle Harry.
In the movie, Mr. Rogers wife Joanne, remarked to him after he retired that he’d seemed depressed.
“Well…” Mr. Rogers replied, “I miss my friends.” To which, based on the look on her face, Mrs. Rogers seemed to interpret as those real and imagined.
I understand that. Not that I miss Granny Flew and Uncle Harry per se. I just feel that adults, even those who have children, can easily lose touch with the creativity that is borne from imagination.
Recently, I remarked to Andrea how we each perceive our pets differently. I'm sure two parents each perceive their children differently but with pets its a little different. For one, kids talk and leave the house. Pets don't talk.... not really. Except that mine do because I make them talk (see "make believe" above) and I have entire personas that I've constructed for each of them. I write fake stories (not here - this shit is REAL, people). I make up songs. I float in my pool. And I have the picture below as my laptop display photo at work.
I hope you will rest by going to see Won't You Be My Neighbor? I hope you'll play by imagining. Maybe you need help with imagining/make believe because it's been so long. That's okay - they make adult coloring books now that can be a help. Coloring isn't your thing? Work on a play. There are ways to re-awaken dormant imagination. Me? I just purchased a cat butt coloring book. AND! The pages can be ripped out, after coloring, and you fold it (tri-fold style) and address it. So - coming to a mailbox near you: A cat butt. Colored and sent with love.