Saturday, November 07, 2009

By Request: Polar Bear Play Date

I received emails (!!!) and a couple of them contained post topics that I pounced upon as my sleepy attempts at drafting anything this week are unlikely to see the 'publish post' button clicked.

The polar bear posts - for those of you who haven't read or have forgotten them - were my cutesy attempt at telling a sensitive work story without being blatantly obvious (just fairly obvious) about details. Yet I enjoyed writing them and, looking back, think they are a bit adorable. So I'll try another one since there was a bit of a play date in the polar bear pen last week.

Since moving to my new habitat, I feel like I have the big blue ball. And it's pretty awesome. It's very bouncy and I can bat it around with my paws. It has sparkles and I'm drawn to it - sometimes when I should be sleeping - because playing is just so much fun. I keep it in my corner, but carry it often to show it to other people. When I forget it, I describe it to the other animals so they can be suitably impressed by my good fortune. The other bears in my habitat have toys of their own, also happy to show them off when I trot around the corner with my pretty blue ball.

It happened our toys had not escaped the attention of the other animals since we show them off so often. It was suggested that we have a play date and invite the most important of our friends to learn more about what made my blue ball (and the other toys) so special. Since I am the fondest of my possession, I was assigned the process and happily set about devising the best way to impress people. I selected the time and waited impatiently for everyone to arrive as I sat on one side of the habitat, blue ball clutched protectively in my furry arms against my white belly. I glanced down to see Pretty Hair straightening her floppy pink bow and Best rubbing his paw against a small stain on his bright green bucket. Sibling walked in with her own ball, a smaller one in cheerful red, held carefully between her paws. We waited in a row, most prized possessions ready for their upcoming display, and smiled when a small herd of caribou pranced inside, bowed their antlered heads in greeting and found an area to graze.

The wolves arrived next, leaving only the alpha male to represent the pack after a quick trot around our pen. A strong presence, he quickly glanced at our toys, saying nothing but remaining sharp and aware until the walrus lumbered in, taking a seat on the most comfortable of our boulders and regarding us with serious eyes. I was directly across from him and he stared at me for a moment, peering at the ball held against my tummy and I smiled at him before holding it between my paws so it was more clearly visible. He nodded at me in approval before directing his attention to Adam and nodding. We were to begin.

"Welcome to our play date," Adam said, voice commanding attention as the caribou and wolf followed the walrus's lead to focus on us bears. "We've worked to clean our habitat and appreciate you taking the time to visit. We'd like to tell you about our toys - let you ask questions and offer suggestions on how we might have the most fun with them - and Katie will start with her big blue ball."

Taking a moment to glance down, I took a breath and started to speak, waving my paw for emphasis even as I clutched the ball tightly against my body with one arm. I have worked for this ball - discarding others that were not bouncy enough or an unpleasant color. I sacrifice a lot to make sure my ball is as perfect as possible and was pleased to answer questions and argue points as people treated me and my beloved toy with proper respect.

"What do you think?" The walrus asked a caribou just after an owl fluttered in to take the spot next to her. When I turned to smile at the owl, I noticed a weasel sitting at the table and wondered when he'd found a tunnel to sneak in.

"Walrus," she replied thoughtfully, "I like the way the bounces when Katie chases it. That's interesting to watch, especially when it goes in the water and she splashes after it. But I think the color is a bit odd."

"Yes," agreed another caribou, looking at my toy with an oddly disapproving expression. "It's not the best color."

I growled before I could help myself, for I had considered and discarded various shades of blue before selecting the one which I prized and held before me. Glaring at the caribou, I paused when their new leader said he was rather fond of the color.

"Thank you," I said, holding the ball out for him to see more closely and he took it carefully, before smiling at me and handing it back.

"I think we should all have bells," the weasel chirped without being asked. "People like bells. I think bells are nice." When everyone turned to look at him with various degrees of hostility and bewilderment. "They make noise," he said, happy to have all the attention. "That ball doesn't make any sounds at all."

"That weasel is stupid," I said before I could help myself and the wolf bared his teeth in a quick but genuine grin before saying he thought my ball was mostly wonderful.

"It's totally wonderful," I insisted and the walrus took a moment to nod at me before asking Best to describe his bucket.

"If you put it in the pool, you can carry water around with you," he explained, settling the toy so everyone could see it. "But I also think Katie's ball is very nice."

"Could you put a bell on it?" the weasel asked curiously, leaning closer to look at the handle before Best yanked it away.

"What? No," he replied. "No bells,"

"People like bells," the weasel reminded us. "They ring."

"Could we think about a bell?" Walrus asked and I turned to regard him with horror. "Not at the expense of the ball or bucket or bow," he tried to soothe. "But maybe a bell would be nice."

"Bells have been done!" I said. "The bears down the street have all sorts of bells and whistles and while I know they make noise," I said before the weasel could interrupt me, "they are no substitute for toys that bounce and carry water around!" I motioned a paw toward Best's bucket, accidentally hitting Adam on the leg. "Sorry," I mumbled, patting him to make sure my claws hadn't scratched him.

"This was interesting," Walrus said when we were finished. "I'd like to spend more time on this soon - the toys are very important to all of us."

"Excellent work," the leader of the caribou said kindly and I took a moment to admire his antlers.

"I'd like to pick a theme for the toys," the wolf said, eyes predatory as he glanced over our items. Adam moved forward to protect them and said we could have a discussion about themes. But our toys were unlikely to change. The wolf nodded before sitting regally once again, biding his time.

"Bells?" asked the weasel before the walrus dismissed us with orders to continue to play hard.

"They're good toys," Adam said after everyone departed and the habitat was ours once again. "And you're good bears." I nodded thoughtfully before tossing my ball to watch it bounce happily toward the water, glancing at Adam to make sure were were finished before scampering off to chase it once again.


Digger said...

:D I liked this a lot. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

=D yay! Thank You! your e-mail was recieved with many smiles

Amanda@Lady Scientist said...

I had almost forgotten about the polar bears. This was very nice and made me smile. :)

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