Paul, a guy in his twenties, real macho. He paces his room, perhaps in front of a mirror, contemplating what to say to his housemate, Genie.
Genie, I have a confession to make. No, sit down, I want you to listen to the whole thing before you say anything.
No, no, that sounds too dramatic.
We’ve been housemates for a while, and, there’s something I’ve been meaning to tell you. No.
Sweetheart, no, too demeaning, Baby, no, if only…hmm…
I need to get something off my chest. It’s no big deal…just…I think you should listen to this. Yeah. (getting started) I think you should listen to this. It started a few days, well, weeks…okay it started a few months ago. You had gone to work and it was my turn to clean house. Your room was a mess. Barbies everywhere. Barbies! I thought to myself, why would any good-looking adult girl be so interested in Barbies? I mean, they’re kids toys, for crying out loud! I know, I know, you’re a “collector,” but really…they’re spread out on your floor, clothes and accessories everywhere…I’m sorry but that just looks suspicious. Like you were…playing with them? Yeah. Well. So I was going to clean your room. But these Barbies, I mean they were naked! Shouldn’t I put some clothes on them? I thought. So like I did. Yeah. And…that’s not all. I started wondering what you saw in all this…dressing the Barbies, fixing their hair…playing with them… So I started dressing them up and I thought, you know, I should go with a theme here, like say they’re going to a fashion show or something. And that Japanese one you’v e got—she’s kinda cute—I spent like ten minutes getting her dressed in this weird combination of clothing…then I…I started playing with them. Playing with them! I mean, why not, I thought. I was just trying to understand you better. (getting into it) So they all went to this fashion show, right? Ten of them were models, and they were just about to go onstage when the lights went out! In comes this commando-style feminist Barbie with machine guns and demands that these fashion model Barbies quit sucking up to the male population by dressing to please them and showing off their bodies. “But we like our job!” Cho (that’s the Japanese one) said. “We’re not sucking up, we enjoy fashion! It’s our art.” And the feminist commando points the gun at her and says, “You’ve been brainwashed by the male majority! You need to lose your conditioning or else you and your kind need to admit that you are really males and kill yourselves along with the sniveling buncha males that corrupted you!” So then Cho busts out this martial arts move that knocks the feminist lady’s feet out from under her and then she grabs the machine gun and says “No lady, you’re the one oppressin’ us females. If I wanna run a fashion show, then I wanna run a fashion show. And my manager’s a LADY thank you much!” Then she runs the feminist gal off and starts the lights back up and the show goes on. (Suddenly he realizes where he is.) Right. So. Umm…yeah. Well, that’s not all…
A few days after that, I was at the store and…I bought a Barbie. Well, two. And some outfits. So they’d have a nice wardrobe…everyone knows Barbie can’t live without her wardrobe, right? So, yeah. That started it. (embarrassed) I’ve bought more. I mean, every Barbie needs a Ken right? And her little sisters Skipper, Stacy and Kelly…and the outfits. I even started making outfits. I learned to sew, Genie! Well, kind of… And I got this magazine…and there’s all these people—some of them are even guys—and they all say they’re Barbie collectors but I know it’s a ruse…they really just love to play with Barbies and now I know why and, Genie? I wanted to ask you something. I’ve wanted to ask you this for a long time, but I’ve been too scared…will you play Barbies with me?
(hears a noise offstage) Oh, Genie! Hi! (a sickening realization dawns on him) How long have you been standing there?
The oddity of gob-stoppers:
tonguing each detail
of the surface—porcelain,
licking, rolling it, recapturing
the grain and silk of nipple;
rainbows glimpsed only in mirrors.
~ Carole Satyamurti, “Mouthfuls”
I was seven years old. I was visiting my best friends, Melissa and her sister Christie. I stood on the porch of their old Victorian house and peered in through the antique patterned glass windows to see where Melissa was. I didn’t see Melissa anywhere, but all over the floor and the room I saw rainbows. There were rainbows on the carpet, rainbows on the stairs, rainbows on the walls, rainbows everywhere. My eyes lit up and I pounded excitedly on the door to get someone’s attention. Melissa came running to the door, long brown braids streaming behind her. “Look!” I squealed, “It’s Rainbow World!”
Melissa glanced around herself and started flapping her arms and swaying back and forth, which is what she always did when she was excited. “Oh boy oh boy! It must be magic there’s rainbows everywhere! Chriiiiiiiiistie! Come here! Oh boy oh boy oh boy! Let’s be princesses we have to protect our country!”
Christie, a bright-eyed three-year-old, toddled into the room, sat down in a rainbow and giggled at the colored pattern it made on her shirt. “Wheeee! Wainbows!” she exclaimed.
We were all so excited! We danced and cavorted amidst the prism-formed rainbows all over their foyer. We became princesses of another world, using our weapons of love to fight the evil fairies. We became heroines, champions of good, warriors of Rainbow World. Slowly, the sun sank lower in the sky and the rainbows disappeared one by one. Then time began to change and the years poured forwards like water gushing out of a faucet. Our bodies grew taller and stranger. We lost each other in a swirl of teenage mist. We lost our rainbows in the twilight of childhood. I lost my friends and gained new ones, then lost them too. I cascaded through high school and splashed suddenly into college.
Here I am in college, seeking once again the rainbows that colored my childhood. Sadly it seems more difficult to find friends who will share their rainbows with me. It seems that most students are too caught up in their studies and grades to appreciate the magic of a simple bit of colored light reflecting onto the ground. Unfortunately, I am no exception. Right now I am holding down two jobs as well as going to college full time and trying to save time for family and friends. Often it seems I am too busy to enjoy life as it comes. For example one gorgeous spring day I was walking from class to my first job. I noticed the blooming life and fragrant energy, which was totally surrounding me, but I didn’t take the time to stop and absorb it. Still the spring air seemed to be calling to me, begging me to just breathe and exist within its fragrant limits. When I got to work I started thinking about what is important and what is necessary. I decided that my jobs and schooling are necessary, but what is truly important is enjoying the spring air and sharing it with my friends. The next day I was walking to work as usual, but I stopped and sat down on a brick wall next to the bushes and simply breathed in the spring air. I closed my eyes and absorbed the energy that surrounded me. I was late to work, but the rest of my day was better for it. I think life would be a lot better if people stopped their monotony at least once a day to simply enjoy the rainbows that each day gives you. It is true, studies and work and family are important, and worthy of spending time on, but not at the expense of imagination and dreams.You have to find the balance between childhood and adulthood. You have to find the place where you don’t forget your responsibilities, but you are still free enough to make time for dancing in the rainbows. Joseph Campbell says everyone needs to have a sacred place where they can be totally themselves. He says that it is within those sacred places that creativity blossoms. I agree with him. Melissa, Christie, and I found such a sacred place in the rainbows scattered along the floor of their foyer. Then the rainbows disappeared and I thought our sanctuary was gone forever. I was wrong. I have discovered that my sacred place is not held within a rainbow, or a room, or even the spring air. My sacred place is actually held within my imagination, and I carry it with me wherever I go. I believe everyone has a sacred place within themselves, and if they will only let themselves experience it, they could rediscover the joys of childhood dreams.