18 October 2010

childlike wonder in a lego town

My library had an exhibit on Legos yesterday.

I'm not sure why, beyond that it would bring people into the library, and once you're in the doors, you can't resist that smell of books and the possibility of learning.

Especially when it's a made-for-learning fall day.

Or maybe that's just me. I am, after all, the girl who bought a condo a block from the library; I'm clearly drawn to their siren song. You could probably get me to agree to just about anything if you ask me while I'm in a library. Remember to whisper, which makes whatever you're asking sound like a secret {that also increases my likelihood of agreeing to whatever}.

The conversation would go like this:
You: [using very affected stage whisper. Perhaps also cup your hands around your mouth]Hey, Kamiah! Can you loan me $50,000 so I can buy a house I'll never invite you to and that's located nowhere near the library?

Me: [distracted by biography of Lady Bird Johnson, someone I've never really thought much about, but there's the book, there on the Featured Reads shelf and I realize that I should know more about this woman who wanted to make America beautiful by getting rid of billboards] Oh, yeah. Sure. Sounds great. Also, don't you love whispering?

You: [break into song—"Marian the Librarian" from The Music Man]

If you did that last part—the singing and dancing part—and were a guy I liked, even remotely, or had just met once, I would probably agree to marry you at that point.

Ah, the magic of libraries.

But back to the Legos.

This was more than little Lego trees and Lego houses. Imagine whole cities, complete with car dealerships. You know your Lego town has made it when your little Lego-itizens need to buy fancy cars.

One guy had re-created entire scenes from The Matrix.

One had done the Bat Cave, and another had built the entire cast of Deep Space Nine.

I was impressed, fascinated, delighted, immersed. I was that person who crouches down really close to see the detailing on Neo's face and then compares it to Batman's detail. {Ooh, very small Bat Tools on the Bat Belt! I simply assume every bat thing related to Batman is capitalized.}

I stood in front of the city, head moving as I followed the train—built to look like the Amtrak!—zip around town. I thought about being on that train, me as a Lego person, reading a newspaper built from blocks. I bet it would be heavy.

And then I looked around me and realized I was the only person in there without a child attached to me. All the other adults looked slightly bored or fake interested. They watched their children crouch down to marvel at the faces, and they had to gently pull them away from the train tracks.

I briefly considered stealing a child so that I looked like I had more reason to stay in there.

I've done this before. Well, I don't actually steal a child so much as I borrow one I already know to do things that are a bit more childlike, such as going to see that American Girls movie that came out a few years ago. You know, the one with that girl from Little Miss Sunshine.

Without a kid with you, you may look a little too lonely and socially isolated. People may look at you and wonder if you still play with your American Girls dolls when you're in your apartment alone. {No, by the way. My American Girls are still at my parents' house.}

With a kid, though, you're a mentor, a buddy, a loving adult spending special time doing something the kid will love. {And you will love, too. Perhaps more than the kid does because you're re-living your childhood, and they're just going through it for the first time. You can't be nostalgic when you don't know how good you've got it.}

I did not steal a child. I can't believe I just had to clearly state that for the record.

Instead, I embraced my inner child. This did not involve me hugging myself in a public place, don't worry.

You've got to maintain that childlike wonder, the part of you that gets to say, "Oh my gosh! Did you see that?!? Wasn't that soooooo cool?!?"

Part of your childlike wonder involves using lots of exclamation points and question marks together to accurately express your wonder.

Yesterday, I stood and stared at the Amtrak for awhile longer and had a conversation with a little boy that involved lots of exclamation points.

A child-like wonder conversation while in a library: this is the kind of stuff that gets me ready to go back to my work-a-day world on a Monday morning.

Isn't that soooooo cool?!?!


  1. I can't think of a day that I'm not in wonder of something. I rarely act like a grown-up and never feel like I need a child around me to justify what I am giddy about. I will always wear shoes with the Felix the Cat face on them. I will always have action figures on my desk.

    Because when you stop doing that the years wash over you and you forget how wondrous the world you live in is...

  2. I KNEW libraries were magical. So glad that you helped me see it again. :)



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