The cars were back. People can disappear through the cracks, not cars. Their reappearance is the least welcome sight in all of this. The lockdown was partially over but school was only back in session one day a week. So Apocalypse Daddy would have to continue the home school. And avoid cars.
“If you hear that someone is speaking ill of you, instead of trying to defend yourself you should say: ‘He obviously does not know me very well, since there are so many other faults he could have mentioned.’”
“Daddy,” Alice shouted as we cycled along the pavement, dodging traffic, waiting for gaps, working on our spatial awareness. “Can we get a camper van?”
How did children learn spatial awareness before cars? Were they just not very good at it? Or just as good as necessity demands? There is a cheetah, I don’t stand much of a chance, my spatial awareness will never be good enough to avoid those claws. There is an elephant, a giraffe, a gazelle, my chances are good, the wheel of destiny is in my court and how many square metres I have to move around doesn’t matter.
The Oval Office is 76 square metres. How much spatial awareness do we need?
I jumped off the kerb and tactfully guided Alice away from the road. “Why do you want a camper van?”
Rustic French scenery glided past. Small bistros with saucisson hanging from their quaint green awnings. Iron chairs at iron tables, Citroen 2CV’s from the 1940’s parked in dilapidated barns.
Alice said, “Where do dragons live?”
Wondering where the camper van lay in this story I said, “They live in caves, but not around here.”
I said, “Yes.”
“I want a camper van because then we can go camping and the bears and the dragons won’t come in the tent because we will be in a camper van.”
Bears and dragons.
“When your daughter asks you to be a fairy for her 5th birthday party… you better be a damned fairy.” – Tony Hawk
The Sun was unseasonably angry. Solar flares.
Some say the ice ages were caused by the the passage of the sun through dust clouds in the outer reaches of the spiral gas giants of the aorta clouds.
Even stars get tired sometimes.
We were on our way to the pump track to build some resilience. After two months of government imposed lockdown of the park and slides It was opening season and long queues were expected. I wasn’t sure how Alice was going to react to crowds, to queues, to people. I’m English, I knew how I would react to a queue: I’d get in it.
But Alice was four and French. She was unpredictable, like a solar flare.
As we cycled under trees sunbeams flashed on and off through the dense spring blossom, like a shoal of sardines in the twinkling southern ocean.
“The Sun is hiding in the trees Daddy.” Alice said, freewheeling like Bob Dylan. “But not always. There. Not there. There. Not there. There. Not there. One, two trois, quatre, cinq, six, seven.”
One to infinity.
Homeschool was on the road and we were doing a quick maths lesson on route to the main event.
She sang as she peddled. “Un, deux, trois, four, five, six.” Happy to be outside.
We got to the pump-track, an acre of smooth rubbery tarmac, undulating and curving in all directions. It was alive with children skating and cycling, screaming and laughing. Many were crying, most were bleeding, all were happy. Parents looked on, worried and anxious but mostly missing out on all the fun.
Parents often seem to be missing out on the fun.
Alice didn’t hesitate.
And she wasn’t going to miss out on any of the fun.
Even if it meant pain.