Monday, August 27, 2007

The Things I Wanted

We all had dreams as children.

Mine weren't huge. In my neighborhood, we spent one August trying to make our skin flick in the same manner a horse's skin does, in order to dislodge a fly. I was patient, I studied the way they'd isolate a muscle...then, flick.

I never managed this feat. None of us did, in spite of hours sitting quietly as some yogi in India, trying to reach a transcendental state. Our parents were thrilled that year. No screaming hordes of "WE'RE BORRRRRRRRRRRED!!!" Danny B came close, but, then, he could turn his eyelids inside out, so, none of us were surprised that he almost accomplished the skin flick thing.

I wanted to operate the elevator at Maison Blanche on Canal Street. The little uniform, the cap, the stool in the corner by the buttons. The polite voice, "Second Floor, Ladies Wear, Dresses. Third Floor, Men's Suits. Fourth Floor, Housewares". She was the Miss Sof of Maison Blanche. To this day, when I push a button on an elevator, I do the voice in my head.

At one point, I wanted to name streets in a subdivision. To have the power of deciding where people would live...where their mail would be delivered. What they would tell their friends and relatives. "Why, yes, we just bought a home over on Risarium Road." "I live down at the end of Lonely Street".

I wanted to be a world class ice skater. We lived in New Orleans. 'Nuff said.

I wanted to be an astronomer, an archaeologist, a secretary...so I could wear white gloves to work and learn shorthand, a librarian, a book store owner, a pet store owner (until the demise of Blackie) a writer, a nurse..except for the whole shot thing...a teacher, anything but a mom. I knew I'd suck at that one.

Everyone else had baby dolls. Mine never left their cases. Except for Tiny Tears... and that was because you could feed her water, squeeze her and she'd pee and cry tears. There was another version you fed and she'd poo....they recalled it after it was found eventually nasty bacteria formed in the bowels of the doll. Shame, usually you had to pretty much jump on the doll to get anything to come out, teaching us to be prime A mothers of the year in the future.

I wanted to be left alone for the most part. Forced to go to birthday parties, I discovered I could drop off the gift, grab an ice cream cup and a book and hide in either a back bedroom or jump the fence (no mean feat in a dress with a petticoat) and be content there until I heard the parents gathering.

I wanted to know why clouds built up the way they did and why some people recovered from heart attacks and others didn't and why was Donna a grownup but acted like a baby. Why could we play with some kids and not with others? I wanted to run behind the DDT trucks to keep the mosquitoes off. (yeah, the sense of that decision I really question these days)

I wanted to know why did my MawMaw stop us from cutting the bubblegum that was holding those two dogs that were stuck together back to back? They were uncomfortable....we could tell when we tried to pull them apart and they howled, and we could SEE the bubblegum holding their butts together, so, I got the knife to cut it out. She shoo'd us off and turned the hose on them, and it must have loosened the bubblegum because they ran off.

I wanted to wake up and have every day a new adventure. That much I did get. I still do.

Still, my greatest failure was never learning the muscle twitch trick. Ah, well, they can't type on a laptop, so, I guess that evens us out in the end.

8 comments:

golfwidow said...

I think I had something else to say (it might have been asking if Donna was developmentally challenged or just immature), but it all left my head because of the Dog and Bubblegum tale. I am still snickering over that.

Bud said...

The skin flick thing is also a mystery I pondered long and hard. But as an adult. I loved this post. The things you wondered about are secretly universal. And the things you wanted to become as well. I think we are a generation of people who ran behind DDT trucks. You think that explains how W got "elected" twice?

NYCPonderings Chick said...

awww you wanted to name the streets! how sweet!! I love dreams..I really wanted to be a store clerk so I could use a register cause I liked the clicking noise it made...

modelbehavior said...

"usually you had to pretty much jump on the doll to get anything to come out, teaching us to be prime A mothers of the year in the future." hahahahahaha. I loved those baby feel so real dolls. they didn't shit though. thank god. That's traumatizing.

Quin said...

gw~donna was disabled..

bud~yes, we all had high aspirations, didn't we?

nypc~damn! i forgot that one!

mb~i have my first doll still. she says ma. the other ma was squished out of her

Peter Varvel said...

Childhood dreams: to learn how to lift one eyebrow, separately (still can't);

and to work at McDonald's so I could eat an endless amount of fries (worked at Jack in the Box, fries not as good)

Adulthood dream: to be hired by Avon or Revlon or Maybelline and get to make up all of the names of the different make-up shades.
I know--how gay, huh?

"bubblegum," LOL!
What a relief your MawMaw halted THAT surgery!

Quin said...

peter~i learned the one eyebrow trick by holding down my right eyebrow until i trained the other.

the makeup dream isn't bad... i sorta got into thinking of paint names... 'pewter dream' or 'sage fury'.

and, yes, it was a good thing she stopped me before her good butcher knife sliced through the, um, bubblegum.

heh.

LisaBinDaCity said...

Ah I see. You were one of those "why" kids. Now I get it ;-)