Catherine and Nada will both tell you – I am a bit of an ornery old cuss. I don’t just go along with stuff because everyone else is doing it, I make my own call.
No, I don’t want to be a volunteer from the audience, ‘the wave’ at the stadium skips right over me (and I’d have to get Nada to teach me the dance from the Pan-Am soccer match we saw – because I was too busy rolling my eyes and shaking my head at the weird styrofoam-tailed mascot who was instructing).
The only time my hand ever goes up at the end of a talk or meeting is for “has anyone got any questions?” – never for free logo-loot or autographs.
But I swear it’s not because I’m not into fun. I just hate reflexive obedience in large crowd situations – too many creepy historical precedents in my head.
However – when I come across a nifty playground climber, a funky high standing boulder or stone wall, or even a likely (strong and forgiving looking) tree, I can generally be expected to climb up there and check it out right away – and I do not believe that I have ever once in my adult life walked normally through a sidewalk hopscotch course.
No I don’t clearly remember all the rules, and no I don’t carry a pocket full of spiffy colourful worry-stones with me, to mark off the square that I’m supposed to hop-past, in order to score myself some big points.
But choosing to allow this magic symbol from childhood to work on me every single time isn’t just good for my calf-muscles and core (nothing like leaping and balancing), it also trains my mind in such a way as to allow this modest piece of cultural technology to function as a perfect time machine.
May only last for a few seconds – but while I am hopping my way down this course I hear squeak-wheeled tricycles, the skip-rope turners calling their rhymes, and that funny ringing smack of a basketball hitting the pavement and then rising back up to small hands for a wild hoop-clanger shot.
No I don’t obey any suggestion without a question – but sometimes going along with the recommendation set before us can allow us access to pure undiluted magic.
Pretty good result for an open mind and a cheap box of chalk!