Friday, August 31, 2007
No-Time Toulouse

I spent today doing a kind of deer-in-the-headlights thing. The reality of what I'm about to undertake -- not to mention its imminence -- hit me hard yesterday and left me spinning my wheels uselessly. I have been anxious, indecisive, and ultimately not good for much. On the one hand, I'm getting ridiculously excited -- I want to go right now. On the other, part of me wants to curl up in a ball and cower under a piece of heavy furniture until the big scary thing goes away. It'll pass, I know. I just hope it passes soon, since I don't have a whole lot of extra time to spend dicking around like this.

All I see around me are little jobs waiting to be done. My sole objective for this weekend is to gather all these things together and put them somewhere where I can sort through them methodically. That sounds like a good thing to do, right?

And speaking of non-sequiturs...

I have a threadbare old memory from preschool -- I'd have been four or five years old, and I went to a daycare that I vaguely remember being located in a cream-colored house. It was a typical sort of place -- lots and lots and lots of toys around, and a room with a lot of mats for naptime. And every day after naptime there was a toy lottery. The teachers would call kids' names in apparently-random order, and each kid would select a toy for quiet playtime. The big win was a homemade fishing game consisting of fish cut out of construction paper with paperclips where their lips should be, and a fishing pole made of a stick and a string with a magnet tied to the end. It had a whole room devoted to it (that's how I remember it, anyway), and it was always the first pick. Always. I got to play with it once. Even then I realized that it was grossly over-rated.

But the toy I really coveted was a massive bucket full of plastic farm animals and dinosaurs. To this day, I twitch a little when I'm walking through the drugstore and cut through the toy aisle and see the plastic bags full of farm animals -- amazingly identical to the ones I had when I was little, unchanged in twenty-five years. But that bucket at the daycare was something else again. And every time, it slipped through my grasp, and I invariably ended up playing with the toy cash register, or the dollhouse with all the stickers peeling off, or the piece of plywood with the nails in it that you stretched rubber bands around to make artful designs. That thing would probably be illegal in a daycare now, and rightly so: it sucked.

I don't think I ever got the bucket of animals, which is probably why I still remember coveting it today. And I only mention it because I was walking through a store today and happened upon their jaw-dropping selection of plastic animals. And these aren't the shitty ones with the bad paint jobs and the sharp blades of plastic left along the mold lines -- these are European-made, super-realistic jungle animals, dragons, unicorns, knights on horseback. They are the ne plus ultra of plastic animals. I actually stopped and gawked, and wondered where the hell these things were when I was coming up, because I would have demanded them all.

Which isn't a complaint. I had my share of plastic animals as a child -- I had an admirable collection of Breyer model horses, and a few little plastic equestrian-themed horses with riders and a stable. I had the Lone Ranger figures, though I really only cared about the poseable horses that came with them. If you count the Star Wars action figures -- and why not? -- then I had as many plastic toys as any American child could arguably require. I was never left wanting, and I'm not inclined to collect toys as an adult.

But the four-year-old in me lusts after those plastic animals.
9:01 PM ::
Amy :: permalink
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