Last weekend Derek and I got to go play laser tag with some friends. It was the one thing Derek really wanted to do for his birthday, so his mom kindly came over to watch the kids, and though I've never played laser tag before and really wasn't expecting to enjoy the whole activity, it was for my husband's birthday, so I decided to close my eyes and think of England, as it were, and at the very least pretend I was having a good time while running around shooting fake guns at people.
Well. It was actually incredibly fun, darting around a big warehouse and peering around pieces of drywall, trying to take out the somewhat obnoxious strangers on the opposing team.
The part that I keep thinking about, however, is at the end, when we were removing the velcro straps from around our foreheads, and the employee said, "Everybody hand me the non-fabric part of the strap, please, there at the end."
I proceeded to do my darndest to take that little piece of the strap off the rest so I could hand it to him, but my gosh, how was I supposed to do that when it appeared to be sewn together?
I wrestled with it for several seconds before looking around to see how everyone else was faring, but it turns out every single other person there had understood his instructions and were holding their headbands by the tips, on the non-fabric end.
Ah. I see.
I have wondered in the past how it is that so often everyone else understands these things but me, but then I think of my mother and my daughter.
Now listen to me. My mother is a very intelligent woman. Our daughter is a very intelligent girl.
My mother is also the person who, when we were out for a walk through a nature preserve while she was visiting us in Connecticut, exclaimed, "I just saw a really old squirrel!"
When I asked how she knew it was really old (never having known before that she was any kind of squirrel expert), she explained that it had gray hair.
Oh, how I laughed. But also understood. We only have brown squirrels in Kansas, as opposed to the gray squirrels that inhabit CT.
Then I think about the time I was sitting in a bedroom in our house in Kansas, holding a baby Atticus, and asked two-year-old Adelaide to turn on the light. She tried but couldn't reach, so I told her to go get the step stool. A couple minutes later I turned my head at the sound of something scraping against the wall; our daughter had the step stool stretched over her head, attempting to catch the light switch with it to turn it on, rather than, you know, standing on it.
Or how about when I was a teenager, my mom and I walking out to the parking lot to get in my car, the Little Tercel that Could, and it wouldn't start, which wasn't like it at all. No air conditioning, no radio or in-dash clock or power steering, but that thing always, always started. We got out, opened up the hood (which, looking back, is completely laughable- I'm astonished we even knew how to open the hood), then gasped in unison. There was a gaping hole right in the middle of all the other unidentifiable stuff (that is to say, everything)- someone had stolen part of our engine!
I'm guessing it was my mom who thought to thumb through the owner's manual to see just which crucial part had been taken, when we found it- that big blank space was where the air conditioner went in cars that weren't completely stripped down. You know, the one my car never had? We fell all over each other laughing, and then I don't remember what happened next. I'm assuming we got out of that parking lot somehow, as I am not presently there.
I must say, if you don't mind looking foolish from time to time, it isn't a bad way to live. At least we laugh a lot. At ourselves. Along with everyone else.