Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Trees and such things........

There comes a point when you find that adult life doesn't stretch much farther than childhood. Playing NES as a child, you might remember games such as the Legend of Zelda that spanned for hours, days, and (terribly enough) weeks on end. Before the existence of memory cards, there were codes that would become unlocked once you successfully completed the next stage. I remember the times that either my brother or I would shout across the house in an excited frenzy when one of us would succeed in completing a level, gaining a weapon, or unlocking a new territory. Notebooks were filled with countless lines of 8 digit letter/number scribbles.

Today, I ate at the popular, yet not-all-that authentic American food chain, El Torito in the maniacal shopping district of Shinjuku, Tokyo. This was the last meal, last beer, last duration of quality time I was to spend with my good friend, Leonie, in Japan. For she has boarded her plane back to New Zealand with no immediate intentions on coming back to visit. Of course, I will surely plan a trip to that crazy sheepy country before traveling back to America, and in return, she plans on joining me on a cross-country trip across the United States. However, today's lunch was quite sad.

We shared an appetizer order of guacamole and chips, which of course had me criticizing the Japanese for their inability to authentically copy a realistic rendition of another country's cuisine.

On my journey back through an unfamiliar train route home (Shinjuku-Kozu-Odawara-Atami-Shimada), I thought about how my video game brain had unlocked the Avocado.
During my 7th summer on this earth, or what I might call my Avocado year, I shared a bunkbed with my 5 year old brother. We lived with my father, his wife and new child in a 2 bedroom house with a large avocado tree in the backyard. The warm weather of the Southern California city of Alhambra provided the perfect environment for a thriving avocado tree.

This tree was perfect for children to climb upon, due to its 3 foot, T-shaped stump that sprouted large 45 degree angle branches that led a path up onto the roof. I was significantly better at climbing trees than my brother, due to my stronger arms and unrelenting fearlessness of danger. He had quickly become prohibited to climb the tree soon after the time that my father had to pull the truck into the backyard in order to pluck him from a dangerous branch. We ate quacamole with every meal.

Summer was the pinnacle of the time we spent in that house because of the fact that we were left alone to play until my father and his wife returned home from work. We soon discovered another gang of kids, a bit older than us who lived down the next street. Isaac and Aaron were brothers, and Paul was their Chinese neighbor.

Isaac, Aaron, Paul, Ricky and I would meet with our bikes at the tree every morning at 10am. Every day would sprout a new adventure of riding our bikes down into the sewers, playing Avocado-tree freeze tag up in the branches, listening to scary tapes inside of Aaron's dad's tool shed, or playing games of truth or dare in our adult-free living room.

I recall that despite being the 3rd oldest, which in childhood means you are at the allegiance of superior's orders, I was the leader and plan-maker of each day's activities.

Upon unlocking the Avocado memories, I remembered the 5 of us eating the plums we had stolen from the witch's garden who lived across the street. She was a mean old woman who constantly complained about keeping our little kid feet off of her front lawn.

Isaac had climbed the fence, and filled the shopping bag full of the sweet, ripened fruit as we watched from the toppermost branch of the avocado tree. He ran back excitedly, carrying the accomplishment from his arm, joining us on the roof.

It was at this time, with the plum boneyard connecting us all, that I told them that we must celebrate this occasion. And it was there, above the cars, housewives and caged-in pets of the immediate suburbs, that all of us took turns kissing each other. In the age of innocence, nothing about this seemed wrong at all.

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