“Boys are beyond the range of anybody’s sure understanding, at least when they are between the ages of 18 months and 90 years.”
― James Thurber
A butterfly captured my attention, and I followed it with iPhone in hand. If it would just land on something, I could snap a photo…and then I heard a voice. My head swiveled toward the sound.
So focused upon, well, focusing, I completely dismissed the sound of a what?–Mini Bike? Scooter?– coming up behind me and pulling to a stop.
“Isn’t it a pretty day?” the man said. He was older, at least a decade plus into AARP eligibility, and wore a jaunty hat angled on his head. What made me smile was the sight of him perched on the small motorbike. Although he wasn’t a huge guy, I couldn’t help but think of what Hoss Cartwright would look like riding a Shetland pony.
“It is gorgeous,” I replied.
“Well, I ordered it special for you.” The line sounded practiced, but I liked it anyway.
“It’s the perfect gift,” I said. “Just the right size and color.”
He laughed and was about to scurry off when I pointed at the mini bike. “That looks like fun.”
“It’s almost too much fun,” he said. “The reason I’m riding around on it is a long story and one that I won’t bore you with. “ And with that, he left with the purr of a kitten as opposed to the roar of a Harley.
By now the butterfly had disappeared. No matter. My thoughts drifted towards the man and the mini bike. When I was a teen, I would often steal—er—borrow, my younger brother’s minibike and wander the gravel roads surrounding our farm and rural community. The bike’s motor was small, and so going “fast” was a relative term, but I loved how the pseudo-speed tore away youthful boredom. I could totally understand why the gentleman was enjoying his unconventional ride. Score one for the boy inside the man.
A few days later I was once again on a walk, iPhone in hand, waiting for something fun to happen. Rounding a street corner, I spotted a man watering his lawn with a hose and sprayer. I’d seen him tending his plants before, but we’d never spoken.
As I got closer, I heard him say, “You’re taking a chance.”
I was confused at first, but then realized he meant he could spray me with the hose.
“Nah, “ I said. “I totally trust you.”
And with that, he sprayed me, just a little.
I jumped back with a squeal.
“I may be old,” he said, “but the little boy is still in me.”
“May it always be so!,” I said. I meant it from the bottom of my soul.
Life is so beautiful and intricate and generous. The more I look for reasons to make fun a priority each day, the more people doing exactly that are appearing.
It’s sorta like when you buy a new car, and it feels special. And then, as you drive around, you start seeing all the cars that are like yours. They’ve been there all along, but your awareness wasn’t in tune before.
So thank you man-boys and women-girls. You cause me to remember my inner child’s purpose—fun, exploration, love, and learning.
Now if you will excuse me, I have to play a prank on my husband. He’s been way too serious.