A few years ago my youngest son and I were shopping at a local grocery store. My son was bored with shopping, as usual, and hanging off the side of the cart, trying to be as annoying as possible. I turned our cart into the produce aisle and noticed my son’s face light up, and then an amazed cry slipped from his lips. I looked in the direction he was staring and saw a group of Buddhist monks shopping in the fruit section. They’d heard my son’s cry as well, and a few were looking in our direction.
The monks were hard to miss being they were dressed in garments of day-glow orange. I’d seen them many times before because the temple is located only a few miles from our home. I was incredibly embarrassed by my son’s rudeness and whispered for him to hush. I turned back up the aisle, around the corner, and away from the monks; the entire time explaining to my son that it was rude to stare and openly gape at people just because they were different. I also explained that the men were monks and were from the local monastery. My son’s face fell when he heard my explanation. He looked so sad I felt guilty for being so hard on him.
It wasn’t until we were loading our groceries into the car that we saw the monks again. My son’s expression upon seeing them again was one of disappointment. I didn’t say anything to him and only learned on our ride home what was bothering him.
“Are you sure those guys are monks?”
“Yes. They come from the temple on the edge of town. I’ll show you next time we go by.”
My son’s shoulders slouched in defeat. His brows drew together and he said, “Darn. I thought they were the real guys from Mortal Kombat.”
I really didn’t have a response to that, but I marveled at my son’s perception of the world around him. He knew that the video games and movies were just made up from someone’s imagination, but when faced with the monks; his mind didn’t automatically block him from believing that the characters from the game weren’t real. After all, we weren’t at a theme park or costume store; we were at a grocery store doing normal, everyday errands. He dared to hope.
All these years later, this memory popped into my head, and I thought about how much I wished my mind could still function like a child’s. I have a vivid imagination, but my adult imagination just ain’t what it used to be, but I am still perceptive.
I realize that being a writer I am always aware of my surroundings and tuned into the details of the scenes before me… and I’m not the only one. Thinking about several of my writer and artist friends, I see that they behave the same. We are observers. We watch people and situations around us and put our own spin on things inside our minds. We rearrange all that gathered information with ideas we already have and then we sit down and translate it into something we hope others can appreciate and understand. We perceive the reality around us, and then take it and bend it to our wills, or at least I do. Then, just like my son, I hope. I hope that I’ve made an interesting enough interpretation of my thoughts that readers can enjoy my spin on things.
That thought in mind- I’ve got to get back to work!