20 February 2007

"a season with the borrowers."

Today, looking for some sundry credit or other to assuage a concerned reader, I was referred to an old issue of Brick, dating Summer 2004.
Perched atop the table of contents was a reproduction of a sticky note with the handwriting of an 11 year old on it, and the following text: Dear Borrower, I have not seen you, but I want to meet you. if I do I will not tell anyone without your permission. Agreed or not agreed. Love, Sara
I was, (surprising ABSOLUTELY no one) Intrigued. I turned to the relevant section of the magazine, and was promptly and completely abducted into reading an interview between Ira Glass, Lawrence Weschler, and his seventeen-year old daughter, who wrote the note when she was eleven.
At the age of eleven, Sara was convinced that there exist a race of tiny people called the Borrowers (based on the books, of course), that "borrow" things around the house, trinkets and such. It seems that when her father (Lawrence Weschler) read stories to her at night, they would have imaginary conversations with the illustrations in the book, (father and daughter) and somehow, Sara got the idea that she might write the Borrowers a note as well.
This she did, on a postie left in a small corner of the house.
She waited expectantly for WEEKS, getting more and more devastated that there was no answer to her letter.
Finally, her father, seeing all of this and having NO idea what to do to remedy the situation, turned the postie over and wrote a reply.
The enthusiastic response was Unprecedented, and over the next couple of months turned into a Rampant correspondence, between this little girl and the imaginary "Borrowers". When she discovered they were moving house, both daughter and (as a result) father were traumatized. What was to be done? The only solution was to move the Borrowers along with them. Father carefully placed all the trinkets collected over the last couple of months, left for the Borrowers, at strategic places along the route to their new home, pointing out that since the Borrowers were so very tiny, it would take them several days to make the transition. Daughter thought this most rational, and approved wholeheartedly.
The situation snowballed, in a word, and then one day, completely unwarranted, Sara confronted her dad and asked: "Did you write those letters?!?" He was just mortified, had no idea what to do, said the answer wasn't that simple, to which Sara said, "Yes, the answer is that simple, did you write those letters?"
"Yes" he said, and both of them burst into tears.
There was a moment where no one knew how the problem would resolve itself.
Then Sara said "Daddy, don't you realize? You ruined everything! Because there are Borrowers, and you were taking the letters before they were able to get them!"

I am very very very lucky to work in a place where the occasional spontaneous tear of joy and overwhelmement is not greeted with horror and a letter terminating my employment.

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