I am here on my first day of kindergarten
standing outside a car.

I am here on my first day of kindergarten standing outside a car.

Preschool Thief

When I was a child, I was sure that if I held my hand just the right way and focused just hard enough, I could make the blades of grass at the playground move just because I wanted them to, like a Jedi knight from Star Wars. The world was chaos as the 2008 financial crisis raged, but I was none the wiser. And if I had been, I’m not sure I would have cared. I could move grass with my mind, and therefore everything was right in the world, with me at its center.

The world around me was as abstract as the Star Wars universe, and I could scarcely fathom that existence continued beyond the activities of my own family. And then I entered Pre-K, and my world shattered into a billion tiny pieces. There were other people. I had teachers and classmates, and I had to learn to get along with them. I was by no stretch of the imagination a perfect child. At my preschool, the day consisted of moving between stations, so that by the end of the day, you would have visited all the different stations and done all the different activities. But I really liked the station with the toy cars and the tracks that snapped together, and so I frequently snuck away from the other stations to stay there. I loved it so much that I was also a regular thief of said toy cars. I would make sure I was at that station when school ended, and then I would just put one in my pocket and walk out. And what I lacked in subtlety, I made up for in pride when I, beaming, showed my parents what I had brought home. They made me bring them back. But even on days when I didn’t show them and thus got away with my prize, I didn’t enjoy playing with the cars as much at home as I did at school. At school, I had friends to play with and towering boxes of tracks at my disposal. I could build roads and cities and connect them to those other kids built. Slowly, I stopped stealing the cars altogether, not because I had become any less devious, but because I had come to realize that the cars meant less to me at home than at school. Gradually, but beginning at this time, I realized that I belonged in a world where I am but a small part, and not altogether close to the center. I like this great big world, because if it was all my own field of grass, it would before long become dreadfully boring. To share it with other people, the way I did with the toy cars, is what keeps it interesting and what makes each day new.

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