Monday, March 30, 2015

Mickey, Minnie and Idiot Pedestrians

Mrs. Blackwell was out of town this weekend, leaving me to look after the boy, solo style.

We did a fine job of keeping each other busy and, along the way a few lessons were taught. To no one's surprise, it was Master Blackwell doing the teaching.

Friday night we enjoyed pizza, cherry cola and we watched Mickey Mouse and some college basketball; in general, we relaxed. When it comes to this important life lesson the boy will never find a finer mentor than his dear, old dad.

Given my propensity to lapse into a sedentary state if given the opportunity, I sought to make some plans for Saturday morning, lest I fall into the trap of watching six hours of pre-game coverage of yet more college basketball.

So it was my plan to take the boy to the children's museum the next morning and I told him so as I got him ready for bed Friday night.
The boy and his accomplices.

"You want to go to the museum tomorrow?"

"Yeah, we go to the museum tomorrow."

The next morning the boy woke up before me and, good little sport that he is, amused himself in his bed with his stuffed toys, an activity that is beginning to take on a life of its own.

The boy grabs his Mickey and Minnie dolls (some times Pluto makes the cut too) and proceeds to talk with them and make them talk to each other.

"Oh, Minnie, yo, sooo beauwtee-fo."

"Yes Mickey. That's OK. It's OK."

"Now, let's go."

It makes as little sense in the written form as it does to hear it firsthand. That said, the boy is turning into quite the narrator.

So I woke as he proceeded to weave some tale that involved Mickey, Minnie and verses from the song, "Cupid Shuffle." But, unlike most days, I determined to follow his lead.

It's not often I enjoy a quiet morning, so I took advantage of this rare opportunity and read the news from the comfort of my warm, snugly bed.

Right you are son. This is a great idea.

Once caught up on the news and reminded that humanity is holding on by the thinnest of threads, we went downstairs and enjoyed breakfast.

A few minutes after we'd eaten, it was time for another lesson.

I'd finished cleaning the dishes while the boy enjoyed his Mickey Mouse cartoons. Afterward, I sat down to turn on something I'd enjoy (say, college basketball pregame shows for instance).

My PJs had barely made contact with the recliner when the boy, piped up: "Come on daddy. We to to the museum."

He'd actually been listening when I told him about the museum the night before.

Nothing halts a descent into "relax mode" quicker than a reminder of one's paternal obligations. This is particularly so when that reminder comes from one's child.

Shared DNA notwithstanding, I'd made a commitment and, as the boy reminded me, it was time to deliver. So, we got ready and, as is the norm now, the boy wore a cool outfit while I looked like it was laundry day.

Naturally, I didn't realize this until I saw myself reflected in the glass doors of the museum.

I shutter to think of what others thought of me as I followed the boy around that place.

Drifter?

Strange uncle?

Undercover narcotics investigator?

There are hundreds of exhibits in the museum, yet we always
manage to find ourselves at a giant-sized
version of Atari's "Pong." 

I could have been any of these things and, no doubt, if it wasn't clear that I was with my son, I'd have been escorted from the premises.

So, maybe not a lesson so much as a reminder to have a look at yourself in the mirror before going outside — and always, always, bring a hat with you.

After the museum, we toured around the square in downtown Madison and landed in a toy shop where I spent $32 on things the boy neither wants, nor needs and will in all likelihood never remember having.

It made me feel good to buy it so, he's got a new T-shirt and triangle. On the way home, he returned the favor with yet another lesson.

While stopped at an intersection, I watched a pedestrian walk against the light. It wasn't a bright move, she slowed vehicle traffic, making it dangerous for cars to turn and instead forced them to slow down to accommodate her. To make it more obnoxious, she walked quite slowly.

A frustrated motorist waited, waited and waited some more for this woman to move before offering a dirty look and an exaggerated acceleration through his turn. In response, the pedestrian shot a look of total indignation as if she somehow should be allowed to walk against the light while others should make time for her.

At least, that's how I saw it.

In response to the final act from the pedestrian, I voiced my displeasure saying under my breath (or so I thought), "You're the one walking against the light, you idiot."

And, from the back seat I heard: "No daddy. Stop it!"

His words were loud and clear and, once I stopped being so surprised, I told the boy, "Good job. You're right pal."

That lady was no doubt being an idiot but I wasn't any better and the boy called me out on it.

As I drove home, I wondered how much longer until he starts sharing more of that knowledge with me, instead of Mickey and Minnie.

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