Monday, July 27, 2015

What’s In The Box?

Kid gets amazing gift for birthday.  Amazing birthday gift comes in large box.  Large box becomes sole focus of kid’s reaction.  It’s a tale as old as time (like Beauty & the Beast, but with less singing inanimate objects).

To be clear, it’s not remotely weird when the kid in question is 30.

I mean... look at it!

Nor is it weird when a 30 year old woman spends a week of her life worried that a fantastic box isn’t being used, as it should be, for a giant cubby house.

What I will concede… might tip the scales toward… concerning – when said 30 year old woman then becomes determined that the giant box finds a good home.

Now guys, I don’t want to alarm or shock you, but – plot twist – the 30 year old woman in question is me.  You didn’t see that coming, I know.  Take a moment, let it settle in.  Sit with it if you like.  If you’re sitting in a lair made of a giant box*… well, we get each other, so the rest of this will make perfect sense.

My wonderful friends gifted me with a chair, and that chair came in a ginormous box.  Not just any box – the kind of box childish dreams are made of.  The type of palace an MP would get shit for owning as an investment property.  To put it in casual terms, if Richard III had seen this box, he wouldn’t have been offering his kingdom for some random horse… because, in case I'm being unclear, he'd want the box.  Yep.  It was the Shakespearean Historical Play of boxes.  Most people don’t even realise that’s a niche of box that needs filling, but it is.

When my pals offered to discard the offending cardboard I casually told them to leave it with me, I’d take care of it.

It was a glorious thing, a mansion of packaging that could comfortably fit a lounging adult.  I looked at it and saw the inventive, wild, unrestrained dreams of my childhood.  The innocent, imaginatively formed craft my younger self had dreamed of sailing, and driving, and living in.  I confess, I tested its confines… any it was luxuriously spacious.

I don’t know why or how, but this giant box somehow came to personify the very act of aging – letting it go to waste was sacrilegious to everything the remnants of my youth still clinged to.

And yet I sensed my housemates, weren’t as impressed.  They gave it side eye, and hovered casually with pairs of scissors.

So I did the only logical thing.  I went next door and knocked on the home of a couple of the more rampant pre-teen members of the local Little Rascals Club we commonly call the Street Gang.  I was going to nobly offer the ginormous cardboard box up to them in the knowledge it would be suitably treasured.

A 12 year old girl answered.

ME: Hi, I’m from next door, are your parents home?
ME: Right.  Am I incorrect in believing that 2 little boys live in this house?
GIRL: Um, yeah, my brothers.
ME: Right, well, I have a giant box, and I wondered if they might want to play in it.
GIRL: Um… (girl looks perplexed)
ME: (frantically ‘selling’) It’s huge.  They could both fit inside my box, easily.
ME: It’s a cardboard box.  Obviously.
GIRL: Maybe?
ME: If you want to mention it to them, they’re welcome to come around to check how big it is.

They did not come around to check out my box.  I also suspect that when the girl retold the story of our exchange to her parents, those kids got a refresher on the family stranger danger policy.  Who knows, maybe Richard III got a mention somewhere in that conversation too.

With no one staking a claim on the Overlord of Boxes, it lingered on in the lounge room.  Then one night I heard a weird noise downstairs.  I crept out to investigate, searching the usual nooks and crannies with the tactical precision of a SWAT team (the kind that does its best work armed with a shaky softball bat).

I was ready to call the scene “clear!” when I clocked that fateful box.  And suddenly the fact that it could comfortably conceal an adult was much less alluring.  I heard the eulogy as I stood there: “We always knew it was her love of boxes that would do her in…” (before the opening chords of Bohemian Rhapsody rang out and my friends arose to begrudgingly perform the song required by my last will and testament).

Though the giant box turned out to be empty, that moment was the final staple in its cardboard.  It went out in the trash the next day.

Now it’s gone, it’s a little hard to know what to do with myself.  Or more importantly where to sit.  I guess I can sit in the chair that came in the box, like an old person.

Until the next box comes along.

Painefull Out

P.S.  I turned 30 this year.  That happened, but be cool about it.  I know I’m being cool (see the above for absolute evidence of that fact).

* = According to statistical evidence, 1 of the 3 people who will ever read this will be sitting in a box.