Play-Doh: A Tale of Adulthood

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I don’t remember why my mother and I were at the mall.architecture, blur, building

I was in my early 20s, home from college for the weekend. My parents’ marriage was in the early stages of shambles, although I may not have realized it at the time. We’d probably left the house to get away from my dad, but why the mall? Neither my mom nor I were big shoppers, except at thrift stores, so the mall seems like a strange choice for us, but there we were.

The one redeeming quality of this small-town mall was a dollar store. This store wasn’t Family Dollar or Dollar General or one of those tricky “dollar” stores. This store sold every item in it for one single U.S. dollar. It was almost as good as a thrift store.

I don’t remember all the stores we visited that day. I don’t remember what we bought, save for one purchase from the dollar store: a can of Play-Doh.

Perhaps I was trying to reclaim my so recently left behind childhood. Perhaps I was planning for a night of psychedelic fun. I do remember being really into toys in those days. I could no longer play with the same abandon I’d enjoyed as a kid, but I kept toys around in the hope they’d provide some relief from a life of exams, ex-boyfriends, and money woes.

The Play-Doh was vivid purple. When I opened the can, I saw it was smooth and unsullied. It exuded that particular Play-Doh odor of chemicals and innocence. It was soft and cool under my fingers as I kneaded and rolled it. I’d never been much of a sculptor, but I’d always enjoyed the tactile sensation of Play-Doh in my hands.

As long as I could remember, I’d wondered what it would be like to sink my teeth into a mound of the modeling compound. I’d never been a glue eater or a paper chewer or a consumer of ChapStick like the girl in my sister’s kindergarten class who ate half the contents of a tube in the morning and the other half in the afternoon. It wasn’t that I wanted to eat the Play-Doh so much as know what it would feel like between my teeth. This chunk looked so clean and inviting.

I told my mom I’d always wanted to bite into a thick chunk of the stuff. As I raised the Play-Doh to my mouth, she used my first and middle names, a sure indication she had on her bossy pants. Don’t you dare!  she commanded.

She was going to forbid me? Game on! I was a grown woman! I made my own decisions! She could no longer tell me what to do!

I brought the purple Play-Doh up to my mouth while my mother looked at me with horror and amazement. Yep, I was really going to defy her. Yep, I was really going to bite into the Play-Doh.

I don’t remember how it felt when my teeth sank into that purple loveliness. I do remember it tasted awful. Luckily we were sitting in the still-parked car, so I was able to open my door and spit the contents of my mouth onto the asphalt. It was so gross, so very, very gross. I spit a few more times to remove all residue.

I’m sure my mother was trying to decide if she should embrace the anger she felt at my willful disobedience or laugh as I suffered my comeuppance. It wouldn’t be the last time I experienced adult independence as something less than delicious.

Photo courtesy of https://www.pexels.com/photo/architecture-blur-building-business-449559/.

About Blaize Sun

My name is Blaize Sun. Maybe that's the name my family gave me; maybe it's not. In any case, that's the name I'm using here and now. I've been a rubber tramp for nearly a decade.I like to see places I've never seen before, and I like to visit the places I love again and again. For most of my years on the road, my primary residence was my van. For almost half of the time I was a van dweller, I was going it alone. Now my (male) partner and I (a woman) have a travel trailer we can pull with our truck. We have a little piece of property, and when we're not traveling, we park our little camper there. I was a work camper in a remote National Forest recreation area on a mountain for four seasons. I was a camp host and parking lot attendant for two seasons and wrote a book about my experiences called Confessions of a Work Camper: Tales from the Woods. During the last two seasons as a work camper on that mountain, I was a clerk in a campground store. I'm also a house and pet sitter, and I pick up odd jobs when I can. I'm primarily a writer, but I also create beautiful little collages; hand make hemp jewelry and warm, colorful winter hats; and use my creative and artistic skills to decorate my life and brighten the lives of others. My goal (for my writing and my life) is to be real. I don't like fake, and I don't want to share fake. I want to share my authentic thoughts and feelings. I want to give others space and permission to share their authentic selves. Sometimes I think the best way to support others is to leave them alone and allow them to be. I am more than just a rubber tramp artist. I'm fat. I'm funny. I'm flawed. I try to be kind. I'm often grouchy. I am awed by the stars in the dark desert night. I hope my writing moves people. If my writing makes someone laugh or cry or feel angry or happy or troubled or comforted, I have done my job. If my writing makes someone think and question and try a little harder, I've done my job. If my writing opens a door for someone, changes a life, I have done my job well. I hope you enjoy my blog posts, my word and pictures, the work I've done to express myself in a way others will understand. I hope you appreciate the time and energy I put into each post. I hope you will click the like button each time you like what you have read. I hope you will share posts with the people in your life. I hope you'll leave a comment and share your authentic self with me and this blog's other readers. Thank you for reading.  A writer without readers is very sad indeed.

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