Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Sunny Side of Childishness


In therapy over the past year or two we have talked about how I tend to revert back to childhood when faced with anxiety. I think of it as becoming a seven-year-old because I let myself believe that I'm powerless to events around me. It's a tendency that I'm learning to overcome. That kind of childishness doesn't do me much of any good.

However, there is a different type of childishness that I am not only happy to allow but which I try to cultivate and encourage. It is that type of childishness that I experienced this afternoon and am still in the midst of tonight. It is a bit of a misnomer to call it childishness. Perhaps I should call it "being childlike" or simply "naivete." Whatever the name, it is the time when I open myself up to the world as though I were a young child and revel in happy things.

A week and a half ago, after over six months of debate and decision making, I ordered a new cell phone. This one. Today it was delivered. I spent most of the day at work, staring at the UPS homepage to see if somehow it would give me more information than "Out for Delivery" then came home and waited for the truck. It didn't come until six in the evening and I was very much like a child who could not yet open his present, mostly because I was a child who could not yet open his present.

Tech stuff wows me and has for a long time. The world of technology is a toy store. I can linger there for years at a time. I hear about new stuff like Google Glass and I feel the excitement in me, a physical sensation. It's just so cool that we have the ability to do this stuff. I mean, the phone I ordered is more powerful than supercomputers were when we went to the moon. And with it connected to the Internet, it "contains" more information than the largest libraries ever imagined. How could that not be cool?

Add to all that the fact that right now I'm playing a high quality video of a Radiohead concert on that phone as I type words on my laptop that will soon be published to the rest of the world (all from the comfort of my bed) and there's no way I can help but smile.

So I got this phone and ran into the house, cutting open the package with my keys because I couldn't wait to get a knife. I got inside it and picked up the new phone. I started giggling then, out loud, by myself in the kitchen because the thing seemed so exquisite. And cool.

Though I hadn't had dinner and was pretty well starving I jumped in the car and drove to the AT&T store so that they could hook me up with a micro SIM card compatible with the phone. Without it, the thing was simply a wi-fi device, which is nice, but I bought it so that it would be a full phone and was too excited to wait even a minute more to make that happen.

Soon as it was installed, I called home, called my brother, sent a couple texts, and played music on it. Arriving home, I tried YouTube, Gmail, Google+, Twitter, even Facebook, and mucked around with all the settings. All the while I kep having moments of giggles and couldn't stop smiling, mostly because I didn't want to.

I think about this child-like behavior and treasure it. I see it in my two daughters, the ways in which they differ from some of their friends who seem anxious to grow and become jaded. I see it in my desire for toys that electrify my imagination. I see it in my wife when she tells the dog that it's time for a walk and then giggles at the fool animal jumping around like a maniac in her excitement. There is wonder in the world and we might as well appreciate it. Who better to enjoy it than the child we were and can remember?

So I got a cool new, neat-o, keen phone and if you could see me right now, you'd know that I'm still feeling as excited about it as I was years ago when I opened the tremendous box under the Christmas tree to find the Fisher Price airport. I'm happy to hang onto that part of my childishness and enlarge upon it however I can.

Write on.