the lost man chronicles
the daily chronicle
Tuesday, February 21, 2006
A Child Arrested
(Alternatively Titled: Moving Back to Cali)
“Can I move now?”
Enzo asked with his face stuck to the floor.
Laughing in response, I replied, “Of course, you can,” and explained that I actually thought he had been comfortable in this holding position.
I found him like this early this morning, lying on the warm wooden floor heating himself next of the radiator, and immediately noted the exquisite light and unique juxtaposition of form. Thus, I asked him to hold firm while I got my camera.
In a state of arrest he readily complied, but once he noticed that I had exhausted exploring what I had envisioned, he promptly asked, “Can I move now?”
He then got up from the floor and said, “Papa, knowing you, you’d probably take your camera to recess.”
I beamed back and agreed, ”Yes, I’m sure you’re right son.”
Immediately prior to our spontaneous photo session, we had discussed alternatives to his having to endure his chilly school recesses. I suggested that he kindly ask the teacher if he could go to the library and read instead, pleading with a residual sniffle and a “I’m still feeling a little sick Mrs. Chimsek.”
Enzo was not confident that my suggestion would work and I secretly agreed. I was empathizing with him deeply, for I strongly dislike the cold. I grew up in Northern California and so I remember that recess was always a pleasure because during winter it meant running about in an invigorating morning fog in no less than fifty degrees or more (according to weather.com the average temperature in San Jose is 53 in February). Enzo, however, was frequently subject to 40 minutes of 40 degrees or less.
Hence, admittedly, when it snows around here I’m not much of a happy camper. My disposition and climatic penchants were arrested during my sunny childhood days in San Jose, where it snowed only once while I was growing up—in fourth grade for about 15 minutes. Needless to say it didn’t stick and thus the joy of building snowmen, sledding, snowball fights and the like never stuck either. (Wikipedia, the popular free encyclopedia online, even takes note of this special day in its write-up on my hometown: “Snow fell on the valley floor in San Jose in January of 1976, about an inch that melted soon after the sun rose.”).
So now, 30 years later, when it snows it means shoveling the sidewalk of a corner lot for two hours, trudging through sludge on the way to work, and having to constantly shop-vac and sweep the basement when it floods as the snow melts and saturates the foundation.
Hence, I sincerely wished I could comfort Enzo. Alas, I know that Jersey public schools are pretty rigid with their state ordained rules these days, and thus I too was not confident that any wily pleading would save him from having to go out in the cold just like everyone else.
I encouraged him nonetheless, and said with a smile, “Well, ask anyway. You never know.”
But privately, I thought, “You know, the real solution is —moving back to California.”
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