“Look, mummy, no roof!” The no-more than five-year old kid could barely contain his excitement as he clutched at his mom’s purse. I looked to where he pointed and smiled when I realized what he was talking about. She was distracted by the voice in her mobile phone. He yanked the purse down hard towards the ground, the strap almost snapped on her shoulder. “Look muuuuuuummmmy, la-look,” he said.
|“Hmmm, ah yes, sorry one second right” she said into the receiver. “What is it Nigel?” She waited a half-second for his response, which she did not receive. “Hmmm, okay then Nigel.” She returned to the phone, “Right then…”
His excitement waned, for just a second, and it cost him dearly. He had her attention, but did not capitalize. I watched as he realized that his communications skills were not sophisticated enough to tell the Real Housewife of London that whilst she burned the afternoon telling his Auntie about her lovely new purchases, he had just witnessed – no scratch that – he had just discovered, the most incredible thing in his life: A bus without a roof.
She took advantage of his delayed response and redirected her attention to her phone. Bad mistake, I thought as I watched my little chap collect his wit and grab hold of her belt. He tugged down hard; I thought a good old-fashioned pantsing inevitable. No luck, her knickers did not budge. Parents know better, I thought, and I decided that Nigel must have tried that route before.
I will give it to you guys straight, poor little Nigel didn’t know what else to do but break down. And I mean break down. The tears came first, quickly followed by a deep exhale that turned his face dark red, and finally he hid his top lip behind his young bottom teeth and let out a heart-breaking wail.
|Wait, one cup at a time?
That is awesome!
That got her off the phone. That got her attention. But it was too late. She picked up little Nigel and said “there, there.” I thought to myself, no, it was there but now it was gone. The moment of discovery had passed, and she missed it.
To my amazement, Nigel did not give up! She carried him on her shoulder and softly patted his back, they walked towards me.
“Oh Nigel, we’ll be right.”
And through his tears, just before they walked past me, Nigel my good man served it up, “but at bus over air aint got no ro-ooph!”
Damn right Nigel, the bus did not have a roof. And that is freaking awesome.
I’m confident that she educated Nigel on the topic. I’m fairly certain that she is a good mom, even if this may not be evident in the tone I have liberally taken above. It’s just that Nigel’s discovery resonated with me. My memory stinks, but I can remember that age when new and different things were constantly unearthed in front of me.
In adulthood, revelations of this sort may be few and far between (notable exceptions include the one-cup coffee machines, sporks, and the Amazon Kindle). This small encounter did teach me something though: I try and replicate the same youthful discovery when I read, travel, and talk to strangers. It must be why adults wear lab coats, peer through telescopes, and dig gigantic holes on faraway lands (watch out for septic tanks). I look forward to my next “wow” moment, and I know that so long as I continue to stroll down unvisited paths, it will be just a matter of time.
Yes, Nigel was really his name.
Categories: Amazon Kindle, Observation, Short Story, Spork