August 27th, 2008

in motion

we're a couple of misfits

J is having a playdate with a friend.  I sit with them for lunch, listening to their enthusiastic conversation.

"I love cartoons," his friend says.  "I can watch Spongebob for hours."  She rattles off a list of several other tv shows she loves.

Jeremiah nods politely, then offers his own contribution: "You've GOT to watch Midsummer Night's Dream."

"What's that?"

"It's a play.  By Shakespeare.  We saw it last night.  You might not understand all of it... but that's okay, it's so funny anyway.  It involves a man who turns into a donkey head!"

"Huh."

"He gets turned that way by Puck, who loves to do all kinds of mischief."

"Huh."

"I stayed up til 10:30 at night to see it."

"Whoa!"

"Yeah, and then I passed out and had to be carried to the car."

"That's cool."

"Yeah."

"Know what I found in our back yard?  A squirrel skull!  With a loose tooth!  But my dad told me I shouldn't touch it.  Eww."

"Hey, there's this lady?  Who makes amazing art sculptures out of animal bones and metal and stuff.  Like she turns them into strange new creatures.  You've gotta see them!  Mommy, where's that magazine?"

"Um... I put it away."

"Aww.  But anyway you should totally see Midsummer Night's Dream."

His friend nods dubiously.  Moments later they're running around the house, each clutching a banana, pretending the world is turning into Banana World.

Among his fellow second graders my son is a cultural oddity, but so far, through sheer force of charisma, it seems to work.  I have observed that people sometimes have a surprising amount of tolerance, even respect, for creative weirdness if it comes backed with enough self-confidence.  In fact I believe many people are secretly drawn to that combination, because it gives them permission to enjoy being creatively weird as well.  It's easy enough at age seven; let's hope this continues to hold up.