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note # 32: play

This morning over breakfast diala told me that she had a profound conversation with her mother over the phone about play. Her mother, who is someone i am very close to and admire a lot, had some philosophical wondering about child vs adult/play vs no-play. Being a child makes a lot of sense because there is play, but then one is an adult and the play stops. Why? And that made me change what i was planning to put into this blog today. I had planned to write about the nostalgia i am already feeling regarding the road trip. The road trip is ending in a few weeks and i am very sad and scared, scared of not being able to go on like this for ever and ever and sad for making the choice to end it with my own hands.

I love playing, i’ve always been and still am a strong advocate for play. Many beloveds have told me that i was still in so many ways like a 14 year old boy. My brother, a couple of years younger than me, has also said that to me when i repeatedly and persistently teased my father and poked at his cheeks.

I am an advocate for non systematic and non forced play, but play as a spontaneous and ongoing act of pleasure. Play for the sake of playing and not for the purpose of making use of one’s time, or timed and assigned like to a holiday, a family union, or a certain day of the week or time of the day. Play in how we dress, play in how we cut our hair, play in changing furniture around the house. I am still not sure why people get so serious about their hair, my mother always told me “if life was like hair, things would be so easy.” Mother, thank you. My hair is my most enjoyable and painful playground, it’s where i still want to prove (mostly to myself) my freedom.

I have a history of inventing games. One of my earlier games was “torture room” غرفة العذاب. A game that my cousins and brother remember horrifically but i think i will not say more on that here. I invented a similar game a few years ago “the finger game” لعبة الاصابع, which involved two players and fingers and biting and guessing the secret word. Then there is the monster game, where i turned into a monster, and the person, my prey, always laughed so hard the laughter turned into tears.

My father did hide in my grandparent’s house in Alexandria, Egypt when the electricity went off, and made ghost sounds. My mother, to make us “laugh,” flipped her eyelids. That is the definition of growing in a non traditional household.

I met a couple in Portland a few months ago, their game was hiding a “crying jesus” and sometimes it took one of them a few months to find the “crying jesus.”

Play is necessary, play needs courage, and on this road trip i played a lot. I am playing and i am proud to say it. There is no shame, i played on snow, beside lakes, i played on sand dunes, i played with the goats, and most importantly i played music. I have not played music for almost 20 years. I met a wonderful teacher, Nat Wilson, in northern New Mexico and in his own magical way, my fingers did it. Bob, with his hand-made and collected inspirational music instruments, allowed me into the rare moments of play for the sake of playing.

This is one reason why i am scared that the road trip is ending, what if i forget to play?

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