Tuesday, February 20, 2007

life, not unlike kickball at recess

I didn't like kickball, I didn't even particularly like recess. And so I sulked, lost in thought, in outfield--praying no one kicked a ball my direction.

The damp playground of Oliver P. Lent Elementary School comes to mind when I feel myself drifting away from the things I need to do. The problem with kickball was outfield. I'd stand awkwardly on the soggy grass, far from home base and other players, and think. Think about kickball and how much I hated it, how maybe if the clouds lifted a bit I'd see Mt Hood, how my fellow students were mostly a crowd of heathen imbeciles, and how when the sun came out the wet concrete would radiate cloudy scraps of evaporated water. If--God forbid--a ball came galloping my direction, I'd have to run, feign interest in the game's trajectory, and try to remember who was on my team and who wasn't.

Other recess games did not afford me such pondering. Wall-ball or four-square, for instance, required I pay attention; I had no time to think, "I hate this game." And even if I did not play particularly well, I enjoyed myself and finished each game flushed and animated. Right then and there I should have sworn off kickball permanently.

The problem is that people who think too much also tend to think that they should be like other people. What's wrong with me that I don't like kickball? That's what the cool kids are playing. I don't like kickball and never will, there is nothing to be done but accept this fact. It doesn't matter if I think I should like kickball, or wished I could gleefully race around after a blue air-inflated rubber toy with sixteen kids towards whom I mostly feel suspicious. Kickball is boring, and there are too many people involved, and it affords me too much time to think in outfield.

My life as an adult offers the same story: standing in outfield, doing something I have little interest in, gives me time too much time to ponder. There are things to be done--bills to pay, resumes to send, toenails to paint. And merely that act, merely not worrying that there is something wrong with me because I don't like kickball, gives me what I wanted all those years ago: abandon. It's time to ditch cool kickball and go play four-square.

1 comment:

Julia said...

This is a great post, and a perfect metaphor for the life of people who over-think everything. We need something meaningful to keep us busy.