Art and the philosophy of life

Posts tagged ‘Polly Blue’

Polly Blue, Girl Reporter…Interview 2

“Excuse me,” called Polly, for the tenth time.  “EXCUSE ME!” she finally yelled, waving her arms.

“What?” growled the man.  “I’m not supposed to talk to anyone.”

“Why not?”

“Because.”

“That’s not an answer,” said Polly, staring at him.

“What do you want?”

“I want to interview you.  My name is Polly Blue and I’m a Girl Reporter.”

“No you’re not.”

“Yes, I am,” said Polly, her hands on her hips.

“If I talk to you will you go away?”

“Yes, but you aren’t being very friendly.”

“Friendly is not part of my job description,” said the man.  “I’m the Boatman.  I take dead people across the River Styx to the other side.  There’s no time to be friendly.”

“Don’t your passengers talk to you?”

“Why would they talk to me?”

“Don’t they have questions?”

“About what?”

“About where you’re taking them?”

“I think questions are for the living.”

“Don’t you have questions?”

“Yes, I have one question,” said the man.

“What is it?”

“When are you going away?”

“I suppose that depends on how fast you tell me what I want to know.”

“Living people aren’t supposed to be here.  This is a place for the dead.”

“Here,” said Polly, handing him a rubber ball.

“What’s this?”

“It’s a ball,” said Polly, in amazement.  “You do know what a ball is, don’t you?”

The man tried to bite into the pink rubber, to no avail.

“It’s NOT food,” said Polly, pulling on his arm.  “It’s a TOY.  It’s something to play with,” she said, taking the ball out of his hand and bouncing it.  “See, you can bounce it on the floor of your boat, you can throw it into the air, or you can throw it to someone else, and have them throw it back to you.”

“Uh.”

“Uh, what?” ask Polly, giving the ball back to him.

“Dead people don’t play catch.”

“Well, maybe that’s because there wasn’t a ball around here until now.”

“What do you want to ask me?” sighed the man.

“How long have you been transporting people to the other side by boat.”

“Forever.”

“That’s a long time,” said Polly, biting on her eraser.

“You have no idea.”

“Do you ever get time off?”

“No.”

“That’s too bad.”

“Tell me about it.”

“Do you like your job?”

“It’s okay, I guess,” he grumbled.  “At least I’m on water.”

“Can’t you waterski around here?”

“No.”

“What do you do besides ferry people across the river,” said Polly, taking copious notes.

“Nothing.”

“Don’t you  have any friends?”

“No.”

“I’ll be your friend. We can play catch while we talk, if you like.”

“No, but thank you.”

“Why do the dead come here?  Where do they go after you drop them off?

“I don’t know the answer to either of those questions.”

“Not in your job description to know?”

“I guess not.”

“Are you bored?”

“Not really.”

“Is there ice cream here?”

“No.  The dead aren’t hungry.”

“Why not?”

“They have other things to think about.”

“You mean they’re thinking about being dead?”

“That’s exactly what I mean.”

“I guess I can understand that,” said Polly, tapping her pencil against her pad of paper. “Do dead people just disappear?”

“No one knows what happens to dead people.  No one.”

“But they’re everywhere, look around you.”

“So?”

“Aren’t you curious?”

“Not really.  Maybe curiosity is for the living as well.”

“When I die, I’ll be a Girl Reporter for the Dead.”

“We don’t have newspapers.”

“I’ll start one.”

“If you do, I’ll read it.”

Polly brightened.  “Thank you very much.”

“I’d like something to read now and then.”

Polly dug around in her school backpack.  “I have this book,” she said.  “It’s about a horse. Walter Farley is a good author.  He knows horses.  You can have it because I can get another one.  Aren’t there any libraries around here?”

“No libraries.”

“What’s it like being dead?”

“It’s the opposite of being alive.”

“So, it’s hard to describe, right?” asked Polly, erasing a word and using a different one.

“Exactly.”

“It looks like people are backing up on the pier.  Are they waiting for you?”

“They are.”

“Maybe I should get going then.”

“It’s probably a good idea,” said the man, kindly.  “I enjoyed our chat and thank you for the ball and the book.”

“You’re welcome,” said Polly.  “I think I have enough information for a good article.”

“Glad to be of help.”

“Have a nice day,” said Polly, jumping to the shore.

“Until we meet again,” he sighed, shaking his head.  But Polly was too far away to hear him.

 

 

Polly Blue, Girl Reporter…Interview 1

“Excuse me,” said Polly, walking up to a woman who was staring into a shop window, admiring the Halloween decorations.

“Yes?” asked the women, turning to look at her.

“My name is Polly and I’m a Girl Reporter.  I have a question and I would be ever so grateful if you would give me an answer.”

“Will it take long?”

“I’m not sure,” said Polly, truthfully.  “I don’t know how long your answer will be.”

“Good point,” said the woman, nodding. “What’s the question?”

“There are two, questions actually, but the first one is merely there to open the door to the second one.”

“Okay.  What’s your first question?”

“Do you consider yourself to be an adult?”

“Yes, I do.”

“Why?”

“Is that the second question?”

“No, it’s just a kind of sidebar.”

“I’m over 21 and I have responsibilities.  That makes me an adult, I guess.”

“This is not the second question either but what’s your name?”

“Marge.”

“Thank you, Ms Marge.  Now here’s the second question,”  said Polly, scribbling on her note pad. “How do adults forget what it’s like to be a kid?”

“What?”

“Why do adults forget what it’s like to play and have fun?  How can they forget what it’s like to be the child they once were?”

“That’s a very good question,” said Marge, thoughtfully. “First of all, children are free to be themselves all of the time. Kids don’t have to take care of others, work, pay bills,  be sure the laundry’s done, make sure there’s food to eat, the animals are cared for, there are clothes to wear, appointments to show up for….”

“Excuse me, but being an adult sounds terrible…and hard,” said Polly

“It can be both, sometimes.  Being an adult makes being free, in the way children are free, impossible.  Plus, when you’re a child, unless you live in fear and have mean and horrific parents, you don’t know about all the bad and sad things that can happen in life, all the things you can’t do anything about.”

“You mean like saving the whales?”

“Something like that,” answered Ms Marge.  “When you’re an adult you know about all kinds of things and that has a big impact on the way you see the world.  It’s about innocence. Once innocence is gone, childhood crumbles.  Kids who experience war grow up quickly, as do hungry and abused children.  Besides, I bet you can’t remember what it was like to crawl and be carried around, can you?”

Polly shook her head.  “I can’t,” she said.

“Do you wish you could eat in a highchair again? Play with the baby toys you once loved?  As you grow you put certain things aside.  It has to be that way.  You are no longer a baby, so you don’t do baby things.  I’m an adult, so I no longer do childish things.  The baby and the child I used to be no longer define me. Those stages of life simply got me to where I am right now.  I don’t need those parts of myself any longer. I mean, I’d look rather silly dragging my worn out bunny with me, don’t you agree?”

Polly laughed and nodded. “I understand what you’re saying.”

“It’s also about brain development.  Our brains change as we mature and grow up. Children can’t think the way adults do, that’s why they run in front of cars, put their hands on hot stoves and generally get into trouble.  Adults have to protect children until their brains to grow up.  Children do not have experience, everything is new to them, so they don’t know what danger is.”

“So, when people say, they want to get in touch with their inner child, what do they mean?” asked Polly.

“They mean they want to lighten up.  They want to play, have fun, try not to worry so much.  They want to relax.  They mean that they want to look outside of themselves and see the trees and flowers the way they did when they were in awe of everything they saw. It means they want to laugh more often and look at things in new, and more open ways.  It means to not let life get them down.”

“I’m going to write an article for my class and I’m thankful for your help.  Please accept this candy bar,” said Polly, pressing down the edges of the wrapper, “and this picture of an onion, that I drew by myself, as a small token of my gratitude.  You have given me a lot to think about and I’m happy you took the time to tell me your answer.  Now I know why my parents are so tired all the time.  Thank you.”

“It was a pleasure, Polly, Girl Reporter.  Thank you for the candy and the beautiful picture of the onion,” said Marge, slipping the picture carefully into her purse.  You have a good life.”

“I hope I do,” said Polly, smiling.  “You have a good life as well.”

***

To you, gentle readers, this is the first in a series of interviews, by Polly Blue, Girl Reporter.

 

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