I recently discovered that the ConductMom felt that I suffered, somehow, from an amusement deficit as a child because I had no siblings. She was wrong about that, but perhaps growing up as an only child did enhance my ability to amuse myself.
Such as … when I am walking around in the city, either with Milo or by myself, I sometimes like to play a game I call “‘Law & Order’ Intro.” You know how every episode of L&O opens with someone discovering a body? A couple of joggers are stretching when one of them notices a body by the side of the path. A woman walking her dog thinks that he’s pulling the leash to go after a squirrel, but it turns out that behind that tree is — a dead body. A busy executive talking on a cell phone during a noontime power walk goes to a dumpster to dispose of a plastic water bottle only to find — right.
So this is the game I play. Ooh, what is that in the reeds by the Charles? Tucked behind the dumpster at Chang Sho? Underneath a Harvard footbridge? It’s a mental game, I hasten to explain. I don’t do anything, I only try to imagine what kind of person I am, what my goal is, how I will react. Maybe I am a professor of criminology who has never actually seen a corpse. Maybe I am a stay-at-home MILF whose plans for a yoga-and-coffee date just got radically disrupted. Maybe I am a former junkie trying to stay clean and terrified of encountering law enforcement again in any context.
It’s a nice way to enliven a dog walk or an errand run. Thanks, ConductMom and father of blessed memory, for not having any other kids to disturb my imaginary games. Thanks for being big fans of crime dramas, too.