Wednesday, 22 December 2004

Just a big kid

  A man came to my block of units to mow the lawn the other day and his young son, who'd be about 6 years old, was with him. I guess mum was busy and couldn't watch the kid.
  Earlier in the morning I'd been out the back cleaning and caring for my leather kote gauntlets for Kendo, shoes, and sandals. It was the day before we were to go to Great Keppel: I wanted in particular to waterproof my sandals, and while I was about it I might as well do my other leather goods.
  So it was while I was inside and my kote were drying outside that I heard an exasperated "Hey, put those down; they're not yours!" over the droning buzz of a whipper snipper. I looked outside to see the curly-haired kid beating up the neighbour's boxing bag with my kote. I walked out to pick up the kote that had been hurriedly dropped to the ground, smiling at the little boy. His dad, satisfied our property wasn't in any immediate danger, carried on mowing.
  "Are these yours?" the boy asked curiously and I squatted in front of him to talk face-to-face.
  "Yep, they're my kote - for kendo." He looked blank. "Do you know what kendo is?"
  The boy shook his head.
  "It's Japanese sword-fighting - you know, like samurai?" I said, pretending to chop something. The boy nodded his understanding.
  "What does it look like?"
  "The sword?" I asked. "Wait here, I'll show you!" and I ducked back inside to bring out my wooden bokken.
  "This is what a katana - a Japanese sword - looks like." I was smiling amiably, happy to share some of my hobby with this young lad.
  "Are they all like that?" the boy asked, his head tipped to one side quizzically and his eyes screwed up in confusion.
  "Yes, pretty much all katana are like this... oh wait!" - realisation - "No, they're not wooden. This is just for practice, so no-one gets hurt."
  I pulled one kote onto my hand and offered him the bokken. "See, you can hit me without it hurting," and he whacked my hand hard with the wrong side of the blade, but I nodded encouragingly and he grinned in satisfaction. He waved the sword around for a bit and posed dramatically over an imaginary fallen foe, before giving the sword back to me.
  "Are you a man?" he asked.
  I blinked, trying to process the question.
  "I beg your pardon?"
  "Are you a man?"
  "Am I a man?" I repeated slowly, to make sure I understoood the question. Do I look like a woman, I thought to myself?
  "Yeah, are you a man or a boy?" the short fellow patiently clarified for me.
  "Oh!" I said in my hearty, manly voice, "Of course I'm a man!"
  "No you're not," he said giggling.
  "Er... I'm not?" For a postgrad, I was not maintaining a good grasp on this conversation.
  "Men don't play with toys like this," the boy explained knowledgeably. "They go to work and earn money and stuff!" His dad, who obviously qualified as a real man, was wiping the sweat off his brow and emptying the grass catcher into his trailer full of clippings.
  "Ah, right. I guess I'm a big kid then."
  "Yeah," agreed the boy. "Do you want a whale sticker?" he asked, producing from his pocket a sheet of paper with four little whale stickers left on it, two yellow and two pink.
  "Sure," I said, pleased that I was apparently accepted. "Can I have a yellow whale? I like yellow, and anyway, pink is only for girls."
  The boy nodded sagely and peeled off a yellow whale for me.
  "Thanks... what's your name?" I asked.
  "Timothy," he replied, and "Timothy!" his dad called, starting the car.
  "I'm Nick. Nice to me meet you Timothy!"
  Timothy laughed and ran off to his dad waiting in the car. "Nice to meet you too, dunder-head!" he said over his shoulder.
  Damn kids...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Id much prefer to be a boy then a man anyday... boys can have cool figurines and play computer games :D

I think ill stay a boy for a few more years yet :)