Friday, April 06, 2007

In which our Heroine gets hit on by a three year old

It’s been in the seventies the last two days and Portland has gone mad. When the sun makes its first real (warm) appearance after a long, wet winter, people rush outside and pity the fool that stands in front of the door. Productivity levels have dropped in offices with windows; those offices without windows are experiencing a sudden rash of people calling in sick; the park grass is obscured by people sitting on blankets; the fountains are filled with little children and teens skipping school splashing; and everywhere you look people are reading.

They are reading on the grass, next to fountains when they should be watching their kids, and at the picnic tables outside of restaurants. They are reading as the walk, while on the MAX with the windows cracked and on the bus. Some, I’m sure, are even reading while in the car with their windows down and sunroof open, waiting for the bridges to come down.

Given my complete and utter lack of skin pigmentation (see the previous entry for photographic proof), I’ve been doling out my sunshine time. No need to burn so early in the season, that’s what June on the river is for. Forty minutes each side during the sun’s highest point of the day is just fine, and it gets me out of the park before all the kids who didn’t skip school and all the people who didn’t call in sick show up.

With that in mind, early this afternoon I filled my backpack with the necessities (blanket, full water bottle, journal and The Call of the Weird) and staked my claim on some sweet smelling grass on the hillside. There I sat, amongst the blankets and lawn chairs, enjoying the sun, my book and my spying.

You see, I love to figure out what other people are reading. Did they haul a hardback, paperback or trade out with them? Is the book new or used? Can I figure out what it is from far away?

It’s a game I play with myself in between book chapters, or, in today’s case, after I put my own book down but before I take a nap. If I remember my calculations correctly there were four mass markets in my vicinity (one definitely used, one well read, the rest new) and one trade (which appeared to be Chick Lit, but I might have been fooled by the pink). My own book was the only hard cover around and not well suited to lying on your back while reading.

No big since I was planning on taking a nap anyway. The day just called for a little cat-nap action in the sun and since the golden retrievers had settled down in the shade—having gotten their greet and lick circuit out of the way—my nap was pretty much guaranteed to go uninterrupted.

Or it would have, had I not become the object of interest of a three year old.

There I was, minding my own business when I hear the shuffle of feet in the grass. Opening my eyes I found myself the object of study for a little blonde toddler who stood at the edge of my blanket clutching his bag of crackers.

“Big book,” he said pointing at the Theroux.

“It is.” I looked around trying to figure out where his family was. Not the old guy in the lawn chair, not the cell phone chatty Kathy who looked incapable of caring a kid full term, not the—

“I like books.” He grinned at me.

“I like books too.”

He nodded. “I like little books at the store.”

I watched him nibble on a cracker. “So you like bookstores.”

“Yep. They have lots of little books and big books like books about…” (and here is where I had to strain my toddler translation skills, but I think he said), “…about dinosaurs and the sun.”

“Wow.” Because really, there is no other reply to give to a three year old regaling you with his book love.

“For you,” he said, handing over a cracker. He then attempted to give me the whole bag.

“Sean*! If you don’t want those crackers you should bring them to me,” a woman called from the top of the hill. Sean giggled and ran over to her. “Were you sharing with the lady?”

“We were talking books,” I told her. “You have quite the reader it sounds like.”

She smiled, “He likes to impress the ladies.”

Impress the ladies with his book knowledge indeed. The way to a reader’s heart is through her mind, and maybe the way to a little girl toddler’s heart is through her love of Dora the Explorer stories.

Little Sean has quite the future ahead of him, I’m sure, considering he already realizes the need to offer the lady your chatting up food along with the intellectual conversation.

Kids are growing up so fast.

*Name changed to protect a future heartthrob.


julia said...

That was a great kid conversation. Your large volume was a siren call he couldn't resist. His former fascination with dinosaurs will now duke it out over the impossibility of reading all the way through something as big as your hardcover.

Jen Robinson said...

This is completely adorable. Thanks for brightening my day!

Elsandra said...

Wonderful story, though your weather description is really making me depressed. We got a foot of snow on Tuesday and another dusting over night so no blankets on the grass for me yet (the dog loves lying in the snow though).

Stephanie said...

Crackers and book conversation?
This one has mad skills.

Little Willow said...