I would like to write a book but I do not know where to begin. Ultimately it seems like it is people-plagiarism to simply write about what I am seeing in the world. At this point my book would have to be called: 24 Hours at Starbucks, a Glance at Everyone Else’s Life.
Right now there are 2 teachers and four of their first grade students sitting next to me. One teacher, with a sturdy, pointed nose and shortly chopped blond hair has the best posture I have ever seen. She no doubt still uses the ruler on the hands of those who slouch. She is sandwiched between two absolutely opposite little seven-year-old girls. One is very quiet; the other is very loud. One is delicately disassembling her huge cupcake into bird like bites; the other is taking monstrous chunks out with no regard to the cupcake or to the others around her. One listens and observes; the other can’t talk fast enough or get all her stories in. One is ignoring the two boys at the table; the other is grabbing the boy’s shorts closest to her while he screams. She explains that she had to do it; his underwear was sticking out.
The teacher? With fork lifted astutely in the air, elbows off the table, and a completely perfect spinal column that held her chin in the air at a very respectable angle, reminds the girls to act like “ladies.” I.e. take smaller bites, sit up taller, don’t grab the boy’s shorts, and definitely don’t talk about underwear at the table. And if possible, maybe, just don’t talk for a while.
The quiet girl finally talks with a quiet gasp…her child’s organic chocolate milk is 110 calories.
I’m not sure if God is playing a trick on my baby crazy mind or I am torturing my own thoughts, but I am both amused and terrified by the girl who seems to be playing the role of me twenty years ago. The anti-calorie counting, loud mouthed, cupcake lover.
Sometimes when I most wonder about myself, and how I turned out this way, I am promptly reminded that indeed I was born with much of it. Mr. Rogers would call it my unique, wonderful me. Dad would call it my mom’s DNA. My sisters would call it the gift of being high strung and emotional. And I would just call it normal. Underwear at the table is not something new and neither is having too many words pent up inside me. Will my own daughter be this way? Normal?
I watched her and wondered about her future.
I also wondered if the seven year old who actually knew what calories were would stop eating by the age of 9 or by the age of 13? I am 27 and the newfound terror of calories is paralyzing for me, a mostly functioning healthy young adult. The introduction of calories twenty years ago would have caused me to never eat again, or at least to keep a pretty nifty diary of every thing I put in my body, which, yep would have increased the intensity of my OCD disorder. And if we are being honest it may have increased my tendency to dissect my own poop. I mean, come on, if we are keeping careful tabs of calories, at that age, I would have wanted a discount on the calories that didn’t seem to stick around in my body.
Back to the mini me. Would she feel like she talked too much? Like me? Would she ever feel like she was too much and she needed to be less? Would she ever realize that cupcakes were from the DEVIL? Or would she keep eating them every time she saw a good one? Would her elaborate, sometimes aggrandized stories ever go unheard? Would she ever listen? Would she ever see someone’s butt hanging out of their pants and just let it slide? What would she love? Who would love her? Would she still be spunky and spastic and full of energy, or would the less passionate people around her squash it out? Would she ever sit on the porch of a coffee store someday and watch another little girl, thinking, “I was just like her…I ought to write a book.” And really, what I need to know is, will she write the book?
She is only concerned with her cupcake right now, and stealing the frosting from all the other cupcakes at the table. That and telling everyone about her blue dinosaur, her idea that Friday’s should be written “Fabulous Friday’s” on the school calendar, and that she planned on going to Disney World this weekend, by herself if no one would go with her. She would just take her dinosaur.
The proper bird like teacher is trying so hard to tame the beast into a lady. But I have big plans for her. I think she will write a book.