Thursday, June 11, 2009
One of life's parallels!
Projects are an important part of me and always have been. They’ve gotten me through every major crisis in my life and, just like you, I’ve had a few crises.
I first became aware of this important project/problem parallel when I was nine-years old and my parents decided to divorce. This was an uncommon event in our small town and certainly a disaster for me. It made me very sad and I was lonely for my dad.
We didn’t have a television set in our home and I don’t know why. Certainly we could afford it, one small box of living images, even though we only had one channel in our town, no national feed coming into our isolated valley.
Our neighbors on Texas Avenue (I do not tell a lie here. We lived at 816 Texas Avenue) had a TV but they didn’t have small children, only two older girls. Still, the man of the house found me in his living room in front of his TV many an afternoon. Instead of shooing me away, this good man took a page from Tom Sawyer and gave me a large art gum eraser and showed me how to clean the cork tile in his living room, inventing, in the process, the first ever pay-for-view television.
“It’s very important,” he told me, “to clean just one tile at a time, staying within its lines. That way it looks neat while we’re working on the floor.” I loved the way he used that magic word “we”.
So every afternoon, I’d slip away from my own troubled house and go next door, retrieve my art gum eraser from its secret hiding place, turn on the TV, and erase my problems away.
I’d sit Indian style and erase. I’d stretch out on my tummy and erase. I’d be on my hands and knees erasing. Many times I didn’t even bother to turn on the television. I just erased. The act of working on an important project was healing to this little girl.
Sometimes the man would have cleaned several tiles himself in my absence but I noticed more and more that it was just me working on the project and I felt proud that he’d judged my work competent enough for this little girl to handle the project all by herself.
If he could have only taught me math too...