When was the last time you witnessed pure, unadulterated excitement and anticipation? It’s been a long while for me—until earlier this month.
A little boy, about seven years old, came up to me and asked when our church’s next kids’ activity would be—a massive hide-and-seek in the dark event that the six- to twelve-year-olds go nuts over every time we put it on.
“It’s in a couple of weeks.”
“No. It’s in two days.” He said this with confidence oozing from his pores, and given that I’m living in a state of CIRCUS-shock, I almost believed him. A twinge of panic rose in my spine because I had responsibilities for this activity that had not yet been addressed.
“The activity is on the 17th—", but before I could go any further, he interrupted.
“See? In a couple of days. Today is the 15th.” He announced this proudly.
The day of this conversation was the 5th. The kid time-hopped ten days into the future. His return to the present gave him and several nearby adults road rash.
“No…”I start carefully, trying to reorient him gently lest he come unglued and get both of us grounded. “Miss Bethany is confused most of the time, but I know it’s not the 15th. You’ve got a little bit to wait, buddy.”
He was devastated and returned to his mom, near tears. From a distance, I could see her holding up both hands and counting down how many days he had left to wait, one finger at a time. With each finger she lowered, his countenance sunk even deeper, and his shoulders sagged down into his little cowboy boots.
(This was why the Hubs and I stopped telling our kids ANYTHING until we were all packed into the van. I’d much rather deal with the few minutes of “you should’ve told us” shock than the weeks of “how much longer?” Strange. The Hubs and I now do the same thing with our aging folks on occasion. But it’s not Disney World plans or hide-and-seek in the dark; it’s doc appointments and major to-do events so they won’t worry in advance about uncontrollable events. I wonder if the Adult-ish Male Child has learned this “control the info flow” trick yet, and if so, how many times has he used it on me?)
Hours later, the little boy was still trying to convince me we only had two days. “Just two more days.” Lord help us all (and especially his mother) if something creeps onto that family’s calendar that precludes him from attending Hide-and-Seek in the Dark. *
But don’t you wish? Just for a second? That you could time hop and it be “so.?”
To skip over what you know will flat-out be a bad day? Fire up the Flux capacitor and call in Doc and Marty McFly. Quick! Before we lose the lightning!
Or give Chewy and Hans a buzz. I heard their Millennium Falcon can make the Kessel Run in 12 parsecs. Surely they can lightspeed me across the calendar grid of mundane sameness to a day full of excitement and wonder?
Or, maybe you could simply do a little mind control. Convince those oh-too-reasonable beings around you that they’re the ones who are off, and we indeed only have two more days to wait for the most exciting thing in the world.
I have an event on the calendar this year I’m looking forward to. But not really. But I am. But not so much. Because I’ve lost that little-kid joyful anticipation where anything can happen if I wish it to be so. I’ve entered adulthood, where sadly… anything can happen.
Injury (mine or others).
Death (mine or others).
Viruses (it’s happened before).
Transportation shutdowns (Again, PTSD here, folks).
Though this event isn’t sparking near the anticipation that the 2022 Vegas trip did (that would’ve been catastrophic on ten levels, me in full seven-year-old meltdown mode with road rash, road rage, and roadkill in my wake had it been canceled), I am cautiously optimistic that it’ll be a good time.
“Killer Nashville” happens in mid-August. Nashville is an easy drive from our side of the cornfields and affords a bonus visit with the Uncle. I’m looking forward to networking with other authors and all the tips Killer Nashville holds to up my elements of crime fiction.
That’s why I’m going, mind you. I know the conference’s name is a bit, well… I’m going for the writing.
Not for any other kind of research.
Just crime and mystery fiction writing. Not crime and then mystery fiction. I mean crime writing and mystery fiction. That’s what I mean.
Don’t read anything else into it.
(The above disclaimer was added in case Couch Lady reads this blog, and then we have to discuss dark thoughts and ulterior motives. Again.)
As I write this, August is… 172 days away. Do you have any idea what all can happen in a CIRCUS inside of 172 days?**
Little Miss Muse is likewise ready to roll (I couldn’t keep it from her. She was buzzing around the office as I made the reservations. Otherwise, I’d not be writing this blog topic, and I’d have told her we were going as I packed up her purple carry-on and extra set of tutus).
I can’t even imagine what trouble she’ll get herself into in Nashville. Where we’re staying is nowhere near a casino or shark tank swimming pool, so I’m coming out ahead on that deal. But I’m sure she’ll find all new ways to cause a ruckus.
“Grand Ole Opry. That’s what I’ll do. When you’re at the conference, I’ll busy myself there. Already have backstage tickets. But I’ll need boots. Purple ones.”
Of course, she needs boots. What could go wrong? “You should be with me, soaking up author/writer-type stuff.”
She snubs her turned-up little nose in the air and twirls a purple curl with her sticky fingers. “I’m not the one who needs that. You are. Besides, the Sultan says I should take some time for myself once in a while. You’re a big girl. You can fend for yourself for a few days.”
In case you missed it, the Sultan is Little Miss Muse’s version of a Couch Lady. But my Couch Lady doesn’t live in my freezer. It’s a whole thing…
“If I get one phone call from Opryland Drive that you’ve—”
“Don’t sweat it.” She pops a grape bubble over my shoulder, losing her gum into my laptop keyboard in the process. “What could possibly go wrong?”
*The little boy did, in fact, make it to Hide-and-Seek in the Dark: The community was spared a nuclear meltdown. He’s on to Easter plans now. In his head, I’m sure the rabbit is rounding the bend—35 days early, mind you.
**Events of the last 21 days: A minor Crohn’s flare, a near-miss on a thyroid crash, stomach flu/food poisoning (See Belly Bugs and Pony Twins), cataract surgery x 2, canine seizure disorder, a cat that tried to hang himself, a nursing home admission, and a splattering of items withheld from the blog readers to protect the innocent—and the guilty.
August is an entire solar system away. I am now considering purchasing the non-Lego version of the Millennium Falcon.
If only I could wish it so.