Happy 100 Days: 68

“Mommy, did you know shapes are everywhere?”
I am half listening as I pack up our water bottles and snacks for a trip into town. “Uh huh? Shapes?”
“Yes, shapes. Like that light is a circle.”
I see he is staring up at the ceiling. I pause. “Huh. You’re right. It is a circle.” I look around for a minute. “I see rectangles.”
I point. He smiles. “The laundry doors!”
“Can you find a diamond?” I heft our bags and remind him for the third time to put on his shoes. He looks around, sees the slats of the wine rack. “Diamonds!”
Soon, we are in the car and driving on the freeway. The dentist has squeezed me so we have no time to lose. Bug is drifting into a half-nap in the back seat. I whisper that the drive is long and that he should rest. He is almost under, but as soon as we exit into the business district, he rouses himself.
“It’s okay to sleep, kiddo. We still have a ways to go.”
“But I want to look around at everything,” he says. He is quiet for a minute. “I see rectangles and circles,” he says. “The stoplights. And that sign.”
Right now, I am trying to navigate traffic. Still, I can’t help but look.
“What about a crescent? I wonder if we can find any.”
“What’s a crescent again?”
“It’s that half moon shape, sort of like a C.”
We find the letter C on trucks and buildings, but no proper crescent. We have no luck with triangles until we spy the architectural flourish on the roof of an office building. We see a half-circle dome on another. Bug sees more diamonds (pedestrian crossing) and arrows (one way). He sees traffic cones. Octagon stop signs. Stars on the American flag. Square windows in buildings.
This neighborhood houses my office and my daily walks. Tee and I once lived in an apartment here. I cover these same blocks every day on my commute. I have never once noticed this simple fact: Shapes are everywhere.
In the back seat, Bug is making a chart of all the shapes he notices. The catalog grows to 13, then 14, then 15. We park, pay, and head across the plaza. We pass storefronts. “I smell Thai food!” Bug cries. A Thai restaurant, a Japanese restaurant, a hair salon, a gourmet grocer. On one of the doors, the brass handle catches my eye.
“Bug! Do you see what I see?”
He looks then his face lights up. “Crescents!”
Every store in the plaza has half-moon door pulls on the glass panes. “Before, when we were driving, we could see big shapes but we weren’t close enough to see the little ones,” I say. “So we didn’t see any crescents at all.”
“Now we see so many crescents, we can’t even count them all!” Bug hops over the bricks, holding my hand tight.
In the dentist’s waiting room, Bug and I spot one of those plastic shape-sorters babies use. “Isn’t that silly?” I laugh. This is what we have we been doing all day, and here is this toy, right here!”
We turn it over. No crescent. We disagree about the rhombus. Bug insists it is a half-octagon, and we argue about how many sides an octagon cut in half would have. We decide that whatever the shape, we will try to find one outside sometime. I figure this might be tough, but it’s worth a shot. I’m sure western architects abhor the rhombus as much as they, apparently, dislike the crescent.
Does vision exist at the place where classification and determination meet? Perhaps the taxonomy of experience is up to each of us. How you decide to sort will inform the gaze.
Shapes are everywhere. A lot of _________ are everywhere. Fill the blank with your abundance of choice.

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