My family wasn’t wealthy, but we weren’t eating water soup* every night either. If I could put it into a neat, little box (Americans love that) I would say we were upper-proletariat or lower-middle class. We did OK, I suppose, if only because we did what we had to do and bought off-brand food. I think a lot of my current-day disdain for branding comes from this. I’m very brand loyal IF they’ve proven their worth. For example, I buy from Honda motors because they have treated me right for 15 years.
There’s a reason for all of this wind up, because I will say we (that is my sister, a few neighborhood kids, and myself) would be allowed to play with the garden hose for a couple of hours in the sweltering heat of Summer. What most people do these days is just go to a water park. Entertainment expenditures were just not in the budget at that time. I also think that’s the reason I am compulsively working. I painted a large section of Stonefield’s siding today, because Labor Day feels weird. Isn’t that a laugh riot?
During the moments when we had the hose, I remember wetting down a section of the patio and staring at it close up. I know it sounds a bit dim, but there were universes in the concrete. Please let me explain. As most are aware, concrete contains aggregate (crushed stone, sand, etc.) to act as filler and give the concrete structure. Well, as it turns out, it also sparkles when wet. It looked like the night sky, when I cupped my hands and only let a beam of light through. Some boys were busy burning ants with magnifying glasses. I was busy staring at wet concrete.
So, when it seemed like I was only laying flat on a patio looking stupid, I was really viewing all of the different colors in the cement. All sorts of colors, and all of them twinkling… like the universe. All of the colors planets, with histories, and civilizations. You see, I also used to stare at the night sky, because I really wanted to run away. Not just from my parents or city, but this entire world. I wanted to find a better place for me among the stars, and would fantasize about space travel. Hence some of my stories are science fiction. It’s a holdover from my childhood.
I’m not exactly sure why I wrote this post, but I do know it was something I recalled this afternoon with little provocation. It was like a moving a photo album and having a forgotten picture fall out. This gave me pause, not because I believe “things happen for a reason,” rather I surprised myself with how much I’ve forgotten. It’s almost like I have intentionally done so.
* – A can of water soup is the Depression-era Homestarrunner’s form of entertainment, only to underscore the sheer poverty of people in a “first-world” nation. It’s a parody of early cartoon making where outhouses and family’s sleeping all in one bed were still common practice. It was only about 80 years ago, people. That’s still within a person’s lifetime.