I am supposed to be working out a plot difficulty, but for some reason I can only daydream.
My dream watch is a TAGHeuer. Efficient, superior, Swiss manufacture. With a cracked face (star-burst pattern across the glass) with that asymmetric refraction that multiplies numbers. The straps are worn and frayed, with white thread tasseling out. The loops holding the strap in place are gone and I’ve got rubber-band wound around the strap in replacement.
My dream car should have enough character to get into a scrape early in its relationship with me. Just something not too major, like a dented fender or a scratch on the side. In fact, I would relish the experience of having a Keke driver scrape me in traffic. I would want to see him jump out of his tricycle, emitting fear in almost visible distress waves, about to fall salaam in apology, and then I’ll say, magnanimously, “Oh, never mind that. Are you alright yourself—no hurt?” while pumping internal fists like “Mission accomplished!” I know he’d do a double take, and some really clever ones might try to pin the blame on me if they feel they can get away with it. I would also not mind it giving me trouble in the morning occasionally so I’ll have to take time off my schedule and take it to the mechanic’s.
My dream laptop will be like my former laptop: power pack with duct tape joining parts; the mouse pad’s paint rubbed off from use; scratches on the casing. My phone shouldn’t be too good-looking either.
I like my devices with scars: they tell stories; they humanize them; they make them special, like friends or children. Taking some time out to fix your car isn’t that far off from taking a kid off school to see a doctor when the kid is sick. Likewise, pushing it to start is like helping out a handicapped friend; one mustn’t be unnecessarily put off by such things. At the very least, the scars devalue the goods for a potential thief.
My house, however, I’d like without scars. I’ll try to keep it in as much order as possible. New paint job every two or three years, fix the cracked windows, lacquer the floors; keep its cosmetic integrity. I don’t really know why I feel differently about the house; maybe that’s because I have a more direct role in making my house than in making factory manufactured gadgets. Come to think of it, even though I provide part of the raw materials for my kid, I have only a slightly more active role in making them than factory goods.
Back to the house. Two small houses on a fairly large compound, separated by a garden (with a small artificial stream running around it and a small bridge over the steam) that covers seventy percent of the premises—that’s what I’d like. The first is a brick house that’s basically has everything a house needs; the second is a wood structure, 16th century Japanese architecture with very few walls and those white paper screens with painting on them all over. No electricity. Just basic furniture like cane chairs and mattresses. And a big disordered library with books tossed all about; you could read any book here and leave it anywhere you feel like. Just outside the house, there’d be a tree from which you could climb into the house through the roof. This is the house with few rules.
That was the house; now the home. A wife, of course, shape and size…em… (yet to fill in that blank)…character…em…oh I don’t know all the specifics yet. Let me fill in the ones I got.
She’d tease me to go out sometimes, promising me I’d have a good time, and after asking a few times, I’d reluctantly give in. We’d go out and have a good time as prophesied. Then I’d feel so great about having the good time, and I’d rave about it like a kid who, well, had a good time out. Then I’d tease her to come out with me promising her a good time, and after asking a few times, she’d reluctantly give in. Then the outing would tank, and I’d grumble, “Not a good idea going out; let’s make a pact to hermit forever from now on.” And she’d find that somehow funny.
Sometimes we’ll have fights over how long one has to stay out, who pressed the toothpaste tube the wrong way, or just have a fight because it’s been a hell of a long time since the last fight. Then we’d make up. My overture for peace would be giving her a pink eye or sticking out my tongue. Or maybe pulling her hair.
I would love a troop of kids; three is the minimum—I’m kind of selfish that way. It would make me happy raising hell because a mob of kids are raising hell around the house.
It’d be good to have one play the piano with the enthusiasm of a crazed monkey and as much proficiency, and with the intensity of the final Apocalypse itself, while I’m studying, that I’d have to shut the study’s soundproof door and wear thick earmuffs just to keep my sanity. It’d be better to have the kid, months or years down the line, play the piano with the skill of a virtuoso, weaving an auditory paradise, that I’d crawl out of my study to share the musical gift. Or at least the kid would know how to play Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata without making too many mistakes.
I’d like to know them well enough to tell, just by looking at them, when they are stifling a fart.
I would like them to climb trees, and maybe fall, maybe fall hard enough to hurt themselves—just enough to be cautious, but not enough to be timid.
I’d like to teach them to exhaust themselves, no matter what for. One very vital lesson for them would be to exhaust everyday’s resource allocation and not hold back; that way they get maximum returns, they aren’t too dependent, and pushing to the limit creates an inch of extra space most times.
I’d teach them that books sustain life. This is the order of importance I’d put forward to them: Air>Water>Books>Food>Shelter. If they doubt the importance of books, I’d show them that, literally (by chewing paper—so it’s perfectly clear), when pushed to the wall, books are edible too, but food wouldn’t enrich you like books do.
I’d pick out a day which we call family day. No phones, no electronics, no distraction; just us…and books, too. Lying around, sitting around, sharing stories and jokes, and yes, even being mean to each other and exchanging evil looks. It’s hard to keep secrets when you spend that much time together.
I’d like to learn how to listen without blowing up at them so I get the chance to listen again without their fearing my blowing up at them.
I’d like my kid to shyly tell me about a person he’s in love with, and ask if he is good for him, and I’ll reply that if she isn’t good for him, he’d have an invaluable life experience, and if she is good for him, he’d have an invaluable love experience. Hopefully, I won’t get premature grandkids.
I’d like to teach them to always ask questions without fear, even when there are no answers. It’s better giving away questions for the possibility of answers than hoarding questions; questions are adventures that grow only when sown. I’d try to give them answers only when I have them and teach them how to detect when I don’t have answers and am only pretending I do.
I’d like to think of the television as a badly trained wild animal, like a tiger tamed by a drunk incompetent; it is fun and exotic to be with but there’s always the risk of getting mauled if you fraternize too much. We’ll have a television; only, we’ll lock it away in a dungeon. Occasionally, we’d row it out of the dungeon, in an elaborate ceremony. We’d get to watch it as a family maybe once in a month or two. We’d TV binge for hours on end, even up to a day or more, then sleep off in front of it, until everyone finally tires and it is returned behind bars; the chance of a vicious bite is less likely that way.
I’m still searching for an excuse to explain this to them but I’d want them to experience hunger or some sort of lack occasionally. Maybe take a long while getting food ready or taking them out somewhere and pretending food isn’t available. I’ll try to take their mind off it, and afterwards, when food is made available, get them to savor the heightened sense of enjoyment, how sharply their deprivation-honed receptors achieve satisfaction.
I’d be happy to have my kid to come home from school or playground bullied. I’d be happier to have my kid come home from school or playground a bully. I’d be happiest to have my kid come home from school having defended someone from being bullied, whether it was a successful venture or not. It would be best if the kid experiences all of the above.
I’d like us to spend time together having so much of a good time, joking and laughing at our jokes, and after a while, laughing so much without really knowing why the hell we are laughing anyway.
I’d like my kids to tell me secrets I’m not to reveal to their mom, but will go ahead and tell her anyway when she rubs my tummy, but only after swearing her to secrecy. Then she may take advantage of her ill-gotten secret and I’d feel guilty about that, and tell the kids a minor embarrassing secret of their mother. There! That should work out my guilt feelings. Who said two wrongs don’t make a right?
I’d like the family to have heated debates on philosophical issues like Hegel’s influence on 20th century literature, real deep stuff, stuff I’m yet to read about (but the kid’s are still some way off, so I got time), and we’d be firing up intellectual zingers so thick a heavy fog of overcharged IQ would percolate in the air (Weather Forecast: Cloudy; with a chance of brains) and when I get so choked and floundering in the wake of their smart arguments, I’d shout them down with, “There’s no way you kids could right, come on; you were only born yesterday, yakaYAKAYAKAYAKAYAKAYAKA!”, acting like the one born yesterday, while deep inside I’m glowing with pride.
My back’s aching from sitting in an uncomfortable position for a while, and I think I’ve run out of my actual daydream about now; anything else would be an unnecessary addition, something like a made-up daydream, if you catch my drift. So I’ll end this here, but not before this public notice:
This is still a dream so there are open positions, of course (wife, kids, rough Keke driver), and interested candidates are advised to apply. Terms and conditions apply. This service is subject to modification without prior information to the general public, etc, etc, yak, yak, yak…
Written by The Yakadude