Sunday, July 16, 2006

Day 16: Looking at Cars

Standing in front of full-size replicas of the characters from the new movie “Cars,” I felt a little baffled.

Hundreds, no thousands, of parents snapped photos of their children standing proudly in front Lightning McQueen. Not really so much in front of the celebrity cars as in front of the rope keeping fans roughly 15 feet away.

Standing there, with my uninterested 2-year-old, I felt alien and disconnected. The hero of this year’s summer blockbuster is a red car, a racing car. This is the character they connect with? They want to be a sports car chugging down gas in the midst of a crisis?

And trust me, I’m not completely without knowledge of a children’s character.

For our family, it centers around Caillou, a Canadian 4-year-old who goes on vacation, plays with his friends and eats lunch. Now, as many issues as I have with this annoying little boy, and I have many, his fictional life has impacted my view of domestic life.

His parents, who we know better as mommy and daddy, walk to the store and take public transportation. His best friends live in the neighborhood. When the neighboring kid, Sara, and her parents went to China for the summer, Caillou’s mommy picked up the mail, watered the plants and fed their cat.

Sometimes at 7 a.m. when I’m watching this cartoon, I think, “Gosh, I wish I knew my next door neighbor and her kids.”

So when I see hoards of parents unloading their minivans to look at three cars with eyes painted on them, I wonder what they want life to be like. But on the bus when we sat near two families who had taken public transportation to see the celebrity cars and I thought perhaps not everyone models their life from cartoons.

Perhaps, little kids just like cars. Certainly Carolyn does, and misses our desperately, as you might be able to see from the picture.


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