A few years ago, I was sitting in the park watching the lucky people out walking their dogs. I would love to have a dog, just don't have a job that allows for it. So instead I let my envy eventually become a daydream of how great it would be to have a dog of my own lying at my feet. She would be a Swiss Mountain Dog mix, about 50-60 pounds, with one white paw. And I would name her Clem. I'd just created an imaginary friend, something I hadn't done since grade school.
Since then, I've occasionally wondered about childhood imagination. Did it die of adolescence or is it just buried and waiting for the right moment to come out? Over the last few years I was usally prompted think about it at Karaoke. The singers don't move much, their eyes fixed in a death stare at the prompter. Every once in a while, tho, you get a performer. Someone who is pretending that they are that rock star, there is a band behind them, groupies and Fiji water waiting just off-stage . .
Zoe and Vincent are just beginning to play pretend. Mostly, it involves picking up the TV remote, holding it like a phone, saying hello then quickly goodbye. Today there were fixing a table with shoelaces. This is all great fun to watch. When I had them at the park on Saturday there were three little boys pretending that the big slide was a candy store. They were just at the end of pretending age. After a while one of them put a stop to it by saying this is dumb.
Maybe imagination retreats in the face of peer pressure.
Saturday night Luke drove the kids and me to the mall. Walking by a store we saw a man playing one of those virtual guitar games. He didn't have the camp look of those air guitar contestants, he didn't have the calm concentration of a real musician, instead he had the absolute and seriously blissful look of a kid alone in his basement playing a tennis racket along with his favorite 45.
I know that look because we had a mirror in the basement.
On-line role playing games, web 2.0, virtual Wii tennis matches . . . it appears pretend playing is back.
Go in Peace