Entering Public Life (and building the Batmobile)

July 17, 2009

A gentle rush of air and then it’s on like clockwork…. pppshhhhhhswish… 5:08am every morning I wake to the sound of the strata sprinkler system announcing a new day has arrived outside our ground floor condo at 19 Mile.  By this time, 5:30, the water is off – less is more – and the kettle is bubbling in the kitchen for chai while my family sleeps.  Somewhere in France the The Tour is already streaming live on the net and I pick up my pencil one more time.

My son turned 5 yesterday and on our way to pick up his Batman cake a man stopped me in the Marketplace parking lot, “Are you the guy who wrote the letter in the pique? The one about the tight ski pants?”  I paused for a moment, looked over at my wife busy loading our baby girl in the stroller, helped my son out of the truck and answered, “yes”, hoping for the best. 

“It was a good letter.” he said, and I wondered quietly to myself the rest of the day, (As much as you can with 6 or 7 cake eating five-year olds Batman’s battling over Bakugans running around the house – and if you don’t know what Bakugans are don’t ask ) ‘is this how public life begins?’

For two weeks I’ve been collecting cardboard boxes from my work and the recycle bin at home while my wife has been scouring the net and local party suppliers for Batman  paraphernalia  (better check the spelling on that one).  After the Whistler Fire Dept. practice night just ‘happened’ to roll by the big truck last year for birthday number four we knew we had our work cut out.  Planning, cutting, painting, taping…ex-play station steering wheel and gas pedal from Re-Use It Centre, more boxes, five spoke pie tins for chrome mag-wheels, orange soccer pylon siren on the back, more boxes, more black duct tape, more paint…you get the picture (and I won’t even get into the top-secret “Keep Out!” Bat-Cave Project).   The morning after (that’s today) I wonder if they even make an almost life-size  Batmobile you can buy?  Maybe in some pre-fabricated made in somewhere else plastic plant they do…but not like this one.  Just ask the 7 boys who all instictively showed up dressed as Batman or their parents at the party or the neighborhood kids who kept cruising by on their bikes all week to see what I was doing out there on the deck.  What a party…no fire truck this year, but what a party.  I don’t think the 7 kids cared, no, cared isn’t the right word…I don’t think for a second they imagined the Batmobile was anything but ‘The Batmobile’ when they had their turn behind the wheel in their homemade costumes.

Norman Maclean (in ‘A River Runs Through It) said his father, a Missoula, Montana, Presbyterian Minister, taught him that the art of writing ‘lay in thrift’…so I will get to the point.  I said to the man in the parking lot who no doubt spotted the ‘Street To Peak’ logo on my truck and crossed the parking lot to see if I was the guy with ‘the tight ski pants’, “I just hope the message sank in a little over there (at the Muni Hall).”  “I doubt it”, he replied, “but it was a good letter.”

‘the letter’ (link) http://wp.me/pHKUK-dq

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