Friday, December 21, 2007

Puppet Bike at Christkindlmarket

Last night, I met J. at the Christkindlmarket. I had wanted to go again when it wasn't so cold (this night, although warmer, proved to be worse because of the wind) and when I wasn't burdened with a backpack so I would be free to shop for a gift or two.

The timing turned out to be very bad indeed; I've had a rough time lately in many ways, I'm in the final throes of this month's PMS (just in time for vacation and travel!), and my mine and emotions are amok, so poor J. had to put up with not only a greater level of impatience, but several (embarrassing to me) outbursts of tears. They are neither controllable nor unjustified, but they have to be very unpleasant for someone subjected to them who doesn't understand them. I apologized several times. I don't know what to do because being home alone is worse, but it doesn't seem fair to make someone else suffer, especially at an event like the Christkindlmarket, which is supposed to be a fun holiday diversion.

J. had told me about many times about Puppet Bike and swears he has shown me video of it, but I could not seem to understand the concept until last night. As we were leaving the market, we encountered Puppet Bike. At first we were the only ones watching, but after we stopped to watch so did a steady stream of others. Last night it was Lefty (and partner?) dancing their hearts out on a puppet stage mounted on a bicycle. It's a brilliant idea, and it made even me smile weakly through the cold and tears. When J. and others handed them tips, the dancing pair would lovingly caress each bill, cradle it between them, and kiss each other sweetly. It was clever, cute, and refreshing. Now I understand a little better why J. gets so excited when he happens to find Puppet Bike.

J. is like a child in some ways—some bad, some good. In this case, he is nearly all child, living in the moment and charmed and enthralled to the exclusion of almost all else by a pair of dancing hand puppets with oodles of personality. It is on such occasions that I wish I could be more like him, turning off my mind, forgetting myself and the world, and simply enjoying a little pleasure. Instead, even as I did enjoy it, I found that the part of my mind that wasn't sorrowful or focused on my aching fingers and toes was thinking about practicalities, such as that the Puppet Bike person must be very cold, too. Then I began to imagine that, behind the happy, dancing, kissing puppets is a human being who has probably experienced pain, sadness, and all those things that keep us humble and slightly lost in life. So, while the holiday makers and their children around me were delighted by their discovery of Puppet Bike, I was hit again by a tsunami of sadness that had nothing to with anything around me.

I hope to see Puppet Bike again, maybe not soon, but later, when I am less sad (or in better control) and less prone to projecting my own state of mind and more open to a little transitory joy. Just a little.

It may be a while, but it cannot be soon enough.

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