Kid Stuff

I suppose I should preface all this to say I am not Another Girl in Greenpoint anymore.  I have become Another Girl Priced Out of Greenpoint, and have flown nine miles south, to a little birdhouse with Michael.  

Moving in with someone is a very adult thing to do.  It’s a time for plans. And cutlery. Discussions about duvet covers, and the arrangement of books on bookcases.  

      I’m not sure how it started.  Maybe it started with the prevalence of sidewalk chalk in our neighborhood, used not to ironically point out some over-priced artisanal sale, but to naturally draw out a map to the buried treasure, under the outlines of a hopscotch court, right next to a giant star and a hippo-person.  This was chalk that we tread on every day through the spring and summer.

     Or maybe the mosquitoes started it?  One night in early spring, the mosquitoes found the holes in our screens, buzzing and biting us awake  all night.  I sighed, ready to suffer through another summer, but Michael had other plans. 
            “We’re going to re-screen these screens,” he said.  “But first, I got us a net.”
            “A net?  Like a mosquito net?”
            “Yup.  A bed net!  I ordered it this morning.”           
When the net arrived, he was excited like a boy with a new toy.  He hurried to set it up over the bed, then pulled back to survey the final result.  “Oh,” he said.  “That’s not really what I had in mind.”
             I looked it over.
            “I thought we would look like explorers,” he said.  He squinted at the billowy white netting that hung from the ceiling to curl delicately over the bedframe.  
            “It’s a Princess Bed!” I exclaimed, suddenly joyous.
            “It looks silly.  Maybe I should take it down.”
            “I’ve always wanted a Princess Bed! Ever since I was a little girl!”
     Michael looked at me.  I could see him calculating the value of his manly identity and his dream of sleeping like safari explorers, pitted against the prospect of a good night’s sleep free from mosquitoes- in a Princess Bed.
            “Let’s keep it?  Please?” 
            He sighed.  One of those big Charlie Brown sighs.  The Princess Bed stayed.

Then there was my purchase of a laptop backpack.  I tried to buy something client-friendly, but when it came time to click “Purchase,”  I chose a colorful pack over the more professional black one. When it arrived, I frowned at myself in the mirror. 
“Do you think it looks like a little girl’s purple backpack?” I asked Michael. 
“Yes,” he said.
I contemplated this. “But it’s so pretty!”  And so the girl backpack stayed.  (So what?  I'm a female director and small business owner.  And I have a pink backpack.)

And finally, there was my mysterious addiction to Survival Craft.  Now I don’t normally play video games.  But for some reason, this spring, I became someone obsessed, devoting hours of my life, losing myself in the world, dreaming about it.  For a while, Michael played it too.  We sat side by side making plans.  
“I’m going to build a road,” he said. 
“I’m going to build five houses so that I can explore more of the island!” I said. 
When his mom came to visit, she couldn’t understand it.  Video games?

Once on the subway, I was lost in my game, when I noticed a ten year old kid looking over my shoulder.  “What game is that?” he asked.  And then we were off, talking a mile a minute about zombies and werewolves and the best way to build a house, until his subway stop arrived and his mom dragged him away.

Normally in New York, grownups are invisible to kids.  but this spring, I was perfectly visible to them. Maybe it was because of my pink backpack, the Princess Bed, our awesome video game, my new streets decorated with sidewalk chalk, and my park filled with kids chasing balls?  I don't know, but it was nice.


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