Tuesday, October 21, 2014

"That's What Pirates Do"

A few of the guys were playing pirates yesterday, a game that lead them to build a "hideout" or "trap" depending on who you consulted. This wasn't an argument between two factions, but rather people of differing opinions, working together, choosing to simultaneously tolerate, if not accept, an alternative point-of-view, without seeing it as a threat to his own. It's something one doesn't see enough of in the world. I wished I'd been witness to the process by which they'd arrived at this place because it might have presented a formula for world peace. I resigned myself to the awareness that it would have to be enough just knowing it's possible.

Meanwhile, Grace was in the new playhouse, alone, "selling things" from her shop. Her merchandise consisted of a pile of lose parts she'd amassed, but that alone wasn't enough to lure customers. I only learned of her enterprise because one of our parent-teachers had earlier tried unsuccessfully to promote her venture with a little word-of-mouth advertising.

I'd taken up a seat on a stump near the playhouse, not thinking about her shop, chatting with Grace about this and that, when a marauding band of pirates stormed through. They were so wrapped up in their game, I'm quite confident they were unaware they had entered a going concern, especially since Grace was outside with me, no longer actively playing her game.

There was cry of, "We need this!" and Grace and I watched as several pairs of unclean hands grabbed hold of a set of old-syle snow tire chains to drag them away, shouting and exhorting as they went.

Grace called out, "Hey!" but it was too little too late and they were off to add this vital piece to their hideout/trap.

When they had gone I asked, "That was part of your shop, wasn't it?"

"Yes." She had a right to be upset, even if their violation had been unintentional. I saw in her face the shadows of her internal debate over how to respond. Sadness or some version of despondency would be appropriate here. Also, there was a place for righteous anger or helpless frustration. And all of that flashed through her features as she watched them recede up the concrete slide in joyful oblivion over what was transpiring in their wake.

She knew that she could have those chains back. It would have required an assertion of ownership on her part, something she's fully capable of doing, and perhaps some arguing. She knew she could assert the agreement we've made with one another, "No swiping things," and even knew that I was there to support her should she need it. I suspect all of this was also present in her deliberations. 

A lot went on in her head and heart in the seconds before she turned to me and said, "That's okay. They're pirates. That's what pirates do: they steal things."

This time, I'd witnessed it happen. One person making space for the others, even when worlds were colliding. She could have retained those chains, but instead she let them go, one might even say "cast them off." 

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1 comment:

Natashja Treveton said...

Brilliant, as usual xxxx

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