Sitting on the deck with my daughter, drawing pictures in crayon.
“Draw Blue.” I draw Blue.
“That’s Blue. Draw Steve.” I draw Steve. Well, really I draw an oval with hair and eyebrows. But since I am a father with magic powers, it becomes Steve as soon as I tell her it’s Steve.
“What should I draw?” My abilities are limited here. I’m drawing with a stubby, blunt purple crayon on a yellow notepad. Not to mention the fact that I haven’t really drawn anything since 1996, and have pretty much forgotten how. But I try to oblige.
“I can’t draw people, baby. People are hard.” It’s true. I’ve never been much good at people.
Okay. I draw people. Little stick figures. I draw a man walking, and another one doing sit-ups, and a person dancing the Robot.
“That’s not the robot.”
“What do you know? I’m telling you that’s the Robot.”
I draw her a little comic book. Daigoro walks around town with her Mommy. Daigoro and Mommy go to the car. They drive to school (Daigoro is excited no end about going to ‛school’, i.e. cooperative daycare, starting this week). They play Catch at school, with Daigoro’s friends.
“That’s one of your friends.”
“Draw more friends.” She wants lots of friends. One of the reasons she’s so excited about school. She has friends here, but no one her age. It frustrates her.
I draw more friends. I wish my magic powers could handle actual humans. I would summon her a million friends. And I’d vanish our downstairs neighbour - the one who called the police to get Daigoro to stop stomping around the house. I would vanish her to the Serengeti. She looks a bit peaked, I think a few days with lions in the sun would do her some good. I mean, ‛a few days lying in the sun’. I’m not evil.
No, wait, I did mean lions. Absolutely. She messes with my daughter again, I’m gonna put a whammy on her.
I’m still drawing people. People are boring. I draw a cow. It’s possible that this is because I’m still thinking about our neighbour, who also called the condo administration about Daigoro when the police told her there was nothing they could do about a two-year-old running around inside her own house. The condo people told her the same thing. After that we had a nice little shouting match. There was some swearing involved. I shoulda drawn a purple basilisk, not a cow. Cows are nice animals. Wouldn’t be any chocolate milk without cows.
“And what’s that?” I show her the cow. She looks at it for a minute, sort of squinting.
Goddamnit, I will not stand for this kind of disrespect. I look at it again. She’s right. It’s clearly a chair. Let’s try something simple. Shapes! Yeah, shapes are good. Even with a stubby purple crayon, a circle is always a circle, never a chair. And she’s been learning all her shapes. I draw an oval.
“Right.” I draw a circle.
Amazing. She knows them all. Despite my general suckitude as a parent, she is just the coolest little girl ever. I see galactic empires in her future. I try a slightly harder shape, just to see what kind of shape the empire is in. A rectangle.
“I don’t know.”
“Sure you do. What is it?”
She doesn’t know.
“It’s a rectangle.”
She gets very agitated. “It’s not red.”
“Of course not. It’s a rectangle.”
“No.” She has this big ‛no’ production, with her shaking her head and trailing out the ‛nooooooo’, like what kind of scam are you trying to pull here?
“Okay then, what is it?”
She does not hesitate.
“It’s a purple tangle!”
Of course it is. And my day just got a whole lot better.