“I have a thought.”
When they were younger, these words always send my kids into a tailspin. This was the signal for them to instantly start running around in circles while asking me a million questions. They had learned that when I have a thought, this means we are about to have fun.
This was something that I started when we were bored. Because the dad in our family is a food guy who works odd hours, there are a lot of evenings when it’s just us. Everybody else is doing family stuff and the day is pretty much used up so the kids tend to be a little crabby. Thoughts started as a form of self defense and have come in a variety of forms. Once my thought was to get in the car to hit Marble Slab in our PJ’s for cones and shakes. We have also piled into my bed with stacks of books and tons of pillows for a reading frenzy. Thoughts have been popcorn and movies for dinner, or driving to the lake for evening swimming. A thought doesn’t have to mean spending a lot of money or even going somewhere, it just has to be different and unexpected.
On this particular day, my thought was standing on cars while they were traveling up a main road.
I piled the children into the van where they strapped themselves in much faster than usual. I told them that I felt like standing on a car. My son normally full of “how to” ideas was speechless. My daughter, the rule follower, attempted to kindly explain that we weren’t allowed to stand on cars because it wasn’t safe. I told here we were all going to do it. Nobody else had anything to say.
On one of our busiest streets, the University of South Carolina has built the Strom Thurmond Wellness Center. It is a huge building, very pretty, with two suspended crosswalks that are literally, bridges. This allows students to access the entrance from parking lots without putting them at risk for crossing extremely busy roads. I pulled into one of these lots and parked, telling the kids to hop out. At we approached the crosswalk, the kids immediately figured it out.
We stood right in the middle of the crosswalk and watched the traffic flow. If you focus on the cars that are almost underneath you, it feels like you are moving; standing on the roof of a car. We watched for a while, then crossed sides and watched from the other bridge. We looked at the wellness center and wondered what it was like inside (it’s for USC students and faculty only). We looked at the lovely, unused pool that seemed like a waste-we know a lot of kids that would enjoy the swimming. We ran from one end of the crosswalk to the other. We watched pigeons landing on the rails that were almost tame from the students feeding them so much. We looked at people walking by the road, and the cars going up and down. Then we piled back into the car and took the long way home; with a new perspective on something we see on a regular basis.
They absolutely love standing on cars. I encourage everyone to try it.
(Reprinted by Bluefish Magazine)