The other day I was explaining to my eleven year-old roommate that one day she would outgrow her stuffed animal obsession. (I just bought her a stuffed stingray for 22.99 from the Oklahoma Aquarium) She has about 4 million three hundred and seventy five thousand stuffed animals. She could have gone to Harvard had it not been for these stuffed animals. She will realize this later.
I told her, “I don’t want you to give this one away, because I like it and when you move out I’ll recoup my losses by using it as a door stop.”
“I won’t give this one away,” she said and clutched it to her chest as if I were King Harrod eyeing her child for execution.
Luckily, every year she does a charitable purge of her stuffed animals. I think most of them are purchased at the church bizarre by pet owners so that my 22.99 purchase becomes a dog toy and gets ripped to shreds by a German Shepherd with pent-up aggression issues.
To accentuate my point about outgrowing things I used anecdotal evidence. I told her the story of how my mother had the audacity one day to tell me as I rode in the back of our Buick station wagon (without a seatbelt, I had also just drunk out of the hose and rode my bike without a helmet) that I would outgrow toys. I was certain she’d gotten into my brother’s stash of marijuana and was high.
“Oh, I don’t think so,” I said in that high and mighty tone that a seven year-old uses with her less worldly parents.
“Everyone does,” she said. “It’s called growing up.”
“It’s called boring and I’m not doing it,” I retorted.
She smiled that little smile mothers have when they KNOW they’re right.
My eleven year-old roommate, still clutching the 22.99 stingray, said, “When I move out I’ll take them with me.”
I tried to imagine a studio apartment in NYC filled with her six million stuffed animals. I might have been able to help her with the rent had it not been for the stuffed animal purchases, but I couldn’t now because I had my old age to prepare for.
“You’ll out grow them. I did,” I said, imitating my high and mighty seven year-old self.
My girlfriend dug the bag of marbles I had just bought at the gift shop out of the bag. “Do you want your marbles now or do you want to wait until you get home to play with them?”
I glanced around. Was she talking to me?