The Mystifying Laws of Attraction

Posted: October 23rd, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Books, College, Friends and Strangers, Miss Kate, Paigey Waigey Wiggle Pop | 3 Comments »

The best imaginary friend I ever met was a can of salmon.

I was in Providence, and my womb-to-tomb friend Amelia was graduating from Brown. We were hanging out in her flat when one of her housemates herded her family through. They were on their way to or from some ceremony or dinner or requisite visit to the bookstore.

During our introductions, the housemate’s kid sister got in a big huff about someone having been overlooked. So the housemate rolled her eyes and said with a pained expression, “And this is Barnaby.”

Uh, Barnaby? There was clearly no one else there. But the little sis was thrusting something in her hand towards us. And on further inspection we saw it was a can of salmon. A dinged-up, tattered—dare I say well-loved—can of salmon. It was, as was later explained to us, the kid sister’s longtime companion. Her “special friend.”

Of course, I LOVED it. I wished I’d been so eccentric as a child to join forces with an inanimate household object and love it dearly. I wanted to go out drinking with the kid. But back then I wanted to go out drinking with pretty much anyone. And for reasons far less compelling than the chance to converse with some chunk salmon.

Anyway, Kate hasn’t befriended any food items yet. But around here it’s hard to know what her imagination will serve up next. We seem nearly constantly embroiled in elaborate pretend play. And she can get stuck in odd patterns with it.

Lately, for instance, she asks me to pretend I’m her neighbor, and explains I’m visiting her because she has a hurt foot. She’s either in the hospital or has just come back from it. I half-expect that at any moment Bobbie Spencer will walk in and take her vital signs. And sometimes when I’m not in on the game, I’ll walk past her room and hear her soothing a stuffed animal whose foot is hurt.

My mind wanders to strange conclusions about why this is of interest to her. But when I ask she’ll just say, “Well, Neighbor, I was crossing the street and a truck runned over my foot.”

Ah. Well sure.

The girl also has a book she likes having on her. It’s not Good Night Moon, or Angelina Ballerina, or even something ageless like The Giving Tree. It’s called Toilet Training In Less Than A Day, an outdated 70′s-era paperback I got at a yard sale for a nickel, and haven’t read one word of.

But Kate? She pours over it. It’s mostly text, with a few line drawings of a kid on a potty, pants around his ankles. You can’t even see any of his boy parts. Kate’s well past her potty training prime; far beyond finding bathroom issues novel or interesting. I don’t think she values the book based on its subject anyway.

She drapes her legs sideways over her green stuffed chair and flips through, page by page. At times she “reads” from it to her dolls or animals or to Paige. It’s always a different story, never about potty training. She takes the book on long car rides. Tucks it into her play purse when she sets off on a pretend jaunt to the store.

Lately, monkey-like Paige is drawn to the book too. Only, of course, because it’s something Big Sis likes. Poor Paigey must flip through those endless pages of text wondering what the hell Kate sees in the book.

And now that Wiggle is in on the action, I find random pages torn in half on the kitchen floor. I open the bathroom door and see the cover, ripped off and discarded. I carefully scoop up the shreds as I find them and bring them to my desk, where I wield Scotch tape and play book doctor.

That’s where it sits now, freshly restored from its adoring dismemberment. There’s a pink starburst on the cover proclaiming “2 Million Copies Sold!” I wonder how many of those are loved as much as ours.


3 Comments on “The Mystifying Laws of Attraction”

  1. 1 Mary said at 9:05 pm on October 23rd, 2009:

    So great. A can of salmon? And loved Paige having to muster up the enthusiasm simply because of some little sister gene that she can’t shake. I know this book, by the way. She was reading through it at Simple Greek a few months ago…

  2. 2 Dylan Tweney said at 8:22 pm on October 24th, 2009:

    Toilet Training in Less Than a Day is a great book. I used it with Clara and it worked very well. Kate might be onto something!

  3. 3 Jeff said at 2:09 pm on October 26th, 2009:

    I really hope you do write a book. Then I could finally be one of those smart people that reads and tell my “friends” about this cool book I read.

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