03 January 2010

Once Upon a Time

A young man, about 16 or 17 years old, was lying at the edge of a cliff, looking at the clouds. The young man felt alive. The world was in him and around him. A tiny little speck of happiness, he was nothing and he was everything.

A few years later, the man left his country and found a place where he could evolve and learn. And the more he learned, the more he realized how much more there was to know. He set himself humbly before the world and opened the door to the knowledge and the beauty around him.

Then, after a while, that man then became pretty proud of himself, to be honest.

Because now, he was smart, and he was beautiful, and he knew what kind of people he wanted by his side and what kind of people were wasting his time. He was edgy, and he was rebellious, and he believed in himself.

And the more he believed in himself, the less he thought of others.

And you know what? That's really something you can get used to.

That twenty-something guy would have looked at me chasing my kid around Chuck E. Cheese yesterday with pity, or more likely, with condescension. I would have been one of them. You know them, right? They are the people who chase their kids around, holding their cameras in one hand and the snot rags in the other. They're the ones who think their kids are special. They're the ones who go to Chuck E. Cheese with no sense of irony, as if they could recognize irony if it rained on their wedding day.

But that younger person would have seen it differently. He would have realized that the beauty he found at the edge of the cliff was everywhere, actually. The vision of clouds moving slowly on a warm day was as beautiful as the sound of a child going down a slide. The same mix of living the moment and floating on top of the clouds could also be felt by a father standing a few feet behind his boy, watching his hesitant few steps on his way to interact with other kids. And that humble thirst for knowledge was what being a father was all about.

On our way back home, I panicked for a second. Was that it for me? When I thought to myself that I wanted to go back there as soon as next weekend, was it officially the death of my soul? Funny enough, it was actually the other way around.

Once Upon a Time


SJ said...

Hahaha you chased your kid around some cheese place. hahaha.

People in the Sun said...

SJ, I'm trying to think how to convey just how serious this cheese place is. This is a place I wouldn't have wasted a match to burn to the ground ten years ago. That bad.

Not Afraid to Use It said...

We ended up at the cheese place over the holidays, too. I kept having casino/Las Vegas flashback without the nudity. I think this is a lovely post, and the idea of beauty in everything is something to which we need to hold tight. It's the only thing that gets us through the snot and vomit.

blackroseheart said...

I actually miss the days of Chuck E. Cheese with my Son. He's a month shy of 13, and it's not "cool" any more. Savor these moments, they don't last very long! :-) Great post!

Jill/Twipply Skwood said...

"The vision of clouds moving slowly on a warm day was as beautiful as the sound of a child going down a slide."

Especially if they're those new kind of plastic slides & touching them when they reach the bottom gives them a little electric shock. Kids love that! Well...some kids love that.

No really this is a beatiful post. It's too bad you have readers like me & SJ... (sorry SJ, but with all due respect, total respect...neither of our comments matches the tone). Also I'm sooooooooooooooooooooooooo glad my kids are too old for that place! I LOVE not going to Chuck E Cheese!

People in the Sun said...

Not Afraid, thanks. Funny that you mention a casino, because the fact I didn't get to play the coin slide-push-whatever-machine-thingy is giving me the same shakes I get when I leave a table knowing that if I only stayed I would have won my money back. This machine.

Blackroseheart, it reminds me of an Eddy Izzard joke about peaches. You wait and you wait for them to be soft, and then you turn your back for a second and they're spoiled. I can't wait for my boy to be able to do all the activities they have at that place, where you can crawl all around the ceiling, but then before I know it he'll be too old for that. And he'll smell like cigarettes.

Jill, seriously? You think kids like the shocks? I mean, maybe... Who knows... I know I can't deal with the shocks. Every time he goes down the slide I dread the moment I'll have to touch him. Most of the time I just let him fall on his butt. It's okay as long as I avoid eye contact with other parents.

And as for you and for SJ, what can I do, you're family.

Jill/Twipply Skwood said...

I actually have quite a few three and four year olds that ask me for shocks on the way down the slide. I even have one little girl who communicates with me *very* little who will come down the slide asking for "Me shock!!!" Of course it's because I'm hamming it up and asking them if they want one.

Jill/Twipply Skwood said...

And :-) :-) :-) on the family thing.

Kristen said...

I must be weird and uncool because I still enjoyed Chuck E. Cheese when I was in college. We had another similar place called Bullwinkle's for a while, and I used to go there all the time with my friends.

Makes me want to grab the closest kid and go!

metalmom said...

God I hated that place. But I endured for the kids. Now I'd give anything to see them come out of the plastic slide with their hair on end from the static!

A Free Man said...

I get you, but man I still hate places like that (Chuck E Cheese).

People in the Sun said...

Jill, maybe there's something wrong with me then? And :-)

Kristen, there are a lot of things I've been waiting for an excuse (a kid) to do. He's still too young for most of them, though. The Playstation zombies will wait. What else are they going to do?

Metalmom, wow... It all happens too fast, I guess.

Freeman, hey, we don't have to agree on everything! But if you don't agree with me, I'll send the expressionless robot mouse to get you.

Jill/Twipply Skwood said...

Something wrong with you?!? You mean aside from having a high Chuck E Cheese tolerance? :-) KIDDING! But I'm still with AFM on that one. The noise! The germs! At least I think there's beer there though, right?

You mean on the shocks? I think it's because I have 45 kids all out on the playground at once, so there's bound to be some that see novelty in a shock. There are some that don't want anything to do with it, no matter how fun I make it sound. And then again, I remember when and old childhood friend of mine was sitting around with his buddies burning each other with a black light bulb for fun. So maybe I've just got a few of those on my hands.

People in the Sun said...

Well, Jill, my boy likes to bang his head on stuff and say, "Ouch." In his defense, it is fun.

Ginny said...

Le sigh.

A friend of mine compares the experience of childbirth/rearing to military boot camp. You are deconstructed, broken down into your most basic elements. And then rebuilt. Into these people who want to go back to Chuck E. God-damned Cheese, and make smiles and hold futures and all that other jazz.

(Plus, they're licensed.)

People in the Sun said...

Jinny, see, I'm still aware of how horrible that place is. I still have memories of condescending scorn. But at this point, I think of them as Blade-Runner-esque memories. Maybe that 20-something guy was real, and maybe it's all a fake memory. But as long as my little guy dances when the scary mouse sings, I only care about that.

Faiqa said...

We still haven't told my daughter about Chuck E. Cheese. She's four. I'm sure it's bound to come up. Anxiously awaiting the awakening of my soul until then. ;-) In all seriousness, this was a great post, and I can relate.

People in the Sun said...

Faiqa, thanks! You know what? I bet a lot of the experience depends on the kind of people sitting at the table next to yours. If they're not the kind featured in the People of Walmart site, the whole thing can be pretty harmless.

Blues said...

loved this post.

And actually hoping I truly get it one day soon.

People in the Sun said...

Hey, Blues, thanks. And good luck (or is it lame to say that? I don't want to sound lame!)

electric heat pump said...

I actually miss the days of Chuck E. Cheese with my Son. He's a month shy of 13, and it's not "cool" any more. Savor these moments, they don't last very long! :-) Great post!

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