Sunday, February 24, 2008

Home at last

The Perfect Yellow Guitar

The talking plastic fake camera

Beautiful Wife has returned from Mexico City, tired, sick and maybe just a little cranky - but that's okay, she's home. BW brought some very nice things home with her for Dear Alex, some very pretty little clothing items, but the best thing of all - a yellow guitar.
I haven't written much about it, but Dear Alex loves "YELLOW" if you ask her, it's her favorite color. If you don't ask her, she'll tell you. Walking down any street in the city with her has become kind of funny, as every other car is her favorite color - "Look daddy - it's a YELLOW taxi - that's my FAVORITE color!""It's YELLOW!"
The guitar is great, it's yellow and small, made of wood and has strings of green fishing line, but it's authentically shaped - a scaled-down version of a guitar. She's already spent a lot of time strumming it, in imitation of a favorite teacher at one of her day-school-music things, and has had a super time making up songs to atonally sing while plucking away randomly. She made up a song about the wood floor in the apartment, then a song about the carpet that somehow de-volved into Dear Alex's hilarious cover of "close to you". (I think that's her favorite song, though it might have been replaced by the theme from Thomas the tank engine.) It's fascinating watching her invent and make random connections and just go with them.
I love the guitar for a lot of things that I really believe make a huge difference -
Sure, it's a cheap (really) tourist souvenir-type thing, but it's handmade. It's not injection-molded plastic. There's no branding (other than the hand-painted inscription of (" Mexico") or cartoon character tie-in (Dora... would be just right for this one, but it would be plastic and make really annoying sounds, with pre-recorded exhortations to "play" in spanish) It's just a cool thing that Dear Alex already loves. No batteries and sound chips required. I love Beautiful Wife for finding this and seeing it for what it is.

I'm ranting about this because a very nice and very well-intentioned neighbor recently gave Dear Alex some very nice things including a "Diego wildlife camera" which is of course made of plastic and doesn't take pictures. It has a sound chip that alternately exhorts you to "take pictures" and mentions things like llamas and monkeys. I'd be more specific - but I've hidden the camera, and I can't remember where. It was driving me crazy. As an antidote, yesterday I gave Dear Alex one of the many obsolete digital cameras lying around the house, and other than showing her which buttons to push, left her alone with it for a day (the camera was miraculously unharmed). I'll post some of the results when I get around to uploading the chip.
I think I'm coming down in favor of the real. The unbranded, unmerchandised experience of doing things - like playing a wooden guitar and making up her own songs.

BW is asleep as I write - ill, exhausted, and in the getting-over phase of what sounded like a tough shoot. I've been there, so I'll do all I can to make it better.
She's the best.

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