MISSIVES FROM THE METROPOLIS: What Do Digging in the Dirt and Christian Louboutin Heels Have in Common?

It's Saturday morning.  I've already been to the gym and am walking home from Starbucks with my Venti Iced Coffee with two inches of soy. (I swear I've tried to get more complicated so I can be one of those 1/2 caf, 1/2 decaf, triple pump sugar free caramel iced skinny soy latte people, but I'm a simple woman with simple tastes.)

As I near my building I sight two wanna be supermodels hailing a cab, staggering on their Friday night four inch Christian Louboutin heels -- the lipstick red undersides wink at me as they fall into their cab.  It's only 8am after all and perhaps they were early risers needing their daily dose of caffeine but the fact that they were not wearing leggings, Uggs and see-through sloppy sweatshirts was a dead give away.  It is amazing how much the TV show Gossip Girl has impacted fashion over the last five years - much like Sex in the City a decade ago.  Yes I do take private (now public) pleasure in watching Gossip Girl and reading Marie Claire. Sometimes I even do both in one day.

Across the street some neighbors are hard at work planting what looks to be a community garden.  It's a bit chilly but there they are in their floppy hats and gardening shoes. One woman is obviously in charge because she is wearing an orange safety vest just in case an errant squirrel steps on a rack and squashes someone in the nose.  I suppose she probably has band aids in one of her pockets.

Digging in the dirt and planting looked like fun.  For a brief moment I was transported back to childhood.  Remember the days you would just walk up to a group of kids playing and say: "Can I play?"  99% of the time the kids would welcome you.

As adults we never walk up to a group of strangers and ask if we can play.  That would be weird, wouldn't it? But why?  Is it not "appropriate"?  Is it because we were told later in life not to talk strangers?   Are we simply too busy and our lives too structured leaving us little time to be spontaneous and take advantage of these types of moments? 

Or is it because one too many times when we asked if we could play, we were told "no," so we started being more cautious and careful, sussing out the situation like two wrestlers circling each other and then only warily testing the waters after the threat seemed manageable. Do the words: "Can I play?" never even occur to us to utter because we've already made up our minds that we can't?

What is the adult version of "Can I play?"  And when and how could/would we utter those words?  What would open up for each of us if we saw all of life as an opportunity to play, contribute and be creative? What if the whole world was our playground?

The truth is, it already is.