Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Tonight I had a doctor appointment where I regressed to third grade behavior which some of you may find incredibly disturbing. If you can't handle it, exit now. You have been warned.
Arriving a few minutes early, I sat alone in the small waiting room. I looked around and noticed the same Sweet Pickles Weekly Reader books I saw last visit were once again sitting on the end table nearest me. While staring at the cover image of Goof Off Goose, the old '80s TV commercial jingle of course played out in my head just as it did the last time, "Smart moms know how kids minds grow... Sweet Pickles..." Soon images of that stupid bus rolling down the street and a narrator or child exclaiming, "Here comes the Sweet Pickles bus!" followed.
Next to the books I noticed something I just had to have. A little person. An original '80s golden haired ponytail-sporting figure with exaggerated eyelashes and large smile. In kindergarten I absolutely loved Little People. Today's Little People aren't the same. I had the house and the barn and I think a school house. Today, they're larger and rounder probably built to keep three-year-old kids from swallowing them or shoving them up their nose.
I scoped out the scene and made sure I was in the clear and quickly pocketed the little gem. I don't know why I needed to have this. When I was very young, I went through a phase where I would five-finger other kid's stuff. I especially had a thing for Snoopy and Hello Kitty school supplies and stationery items. If one of the girls left a Hello Kitty eraser out on her desk, I would quickly swipe it and bring it home.
My obsession with taking things that didn't belong to me transitioned from school to the public library. My mom always brought us to our town's local library at least twice a week. There were two significant items at the library that interested me most. Yeah, not the books... The kid's library area had a glass case housing whatever the current monthly craft or display happened to be.
I especially loved Christmas time. I think there was a dollhouse decked out for Christmas with a miniature fake tree and small gift wrapped boxes carefully placed underneath. I wanted so badly to touch the gifts and play with the ornaments, but they locked the case to keep away little wandering hands. My other favorite part of the kid's library was a cardboard box filled with random items. Above the tattered box hung a LOST & FOUND sign. I would rummage through the box and grab one or two items and bring them home with me and inspect them carefully when I was alone in my room. Maybe it was a tiny plastic coin purse or perhaps a special pen with a troll sportin' neon hair attached.
It really gave me a strange feeling of euphoria. Like I had scored points in a video game or won something. I loved looking at my little treasures and wondering who owned them before me. Did the kid miss the item? Why would someone leave such great stuff behind. How come these kids weren't more careful and watchful of their items?
This was my secret and I never told my friends or my family. I once attempted to snag a handful of Hello Kitty stationery items including a small note set with tiny envelopes and stickers, some scented erasers and tiny pencils in an equally tiny plastic pencil case. My brother was in a stroller. I had the brilliant idea of sneaking the items under his blanket and nobody would notice as we wheeled him out of Dennison's Stationery in the Green Acres Mall. My plan backfired when my mom spotted them and forced me to return the items and reminded me that stealing was wrong and illegal. You can go to jail for taking things that you need to pay for.
By the time I was in fourth grade I had matured into more adult items. I remember taking AA batteries and ultra tiny bottles of Binaca from Courtesy Drugs down the block from our home. I don't know why I did that. I didn't need liquid breath drops that tasted so very potent. I can still smell the blue liquid and taste the sweet, yet strong alcohol taste that lingered in my mouth for what seemed like forever.
Eventually I outgrew this devilish phase and I never took anything of worth really. I just had this thing for random trinkets. I don't know what it was about these items. There was something about spreading them all out on my twin bed. I'd sit under the pretty princess-like blue and white gingham canopy and matching bedspread and just admire each little item as if they were nuggets of pure gold.
Tonight I left with a little trinket and I keep examining it and I know I will probably return it on my next visit. On the drive home I wondered if the doctor would notice it. What if a child asks, "Where is the little person?" I better remember to return it.