Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Don't Send in the Clowns

So we went for a walk after dinner tonight, taking advantage of what had been a relatively mild day but by the time we embarked on our walk had become quite chilly and not nearly as pleasant as I had envisioned.

(Well, THAT was certainly a lot of past-perfect tense in one sentence, wasn't it?)

As we passed this one house on our street that suffers the misfortune of having a large, ugly grate plunked into the front of its yard, Sean paused. "What's that?" he asked. Note that he asks this questions every time we pass the grate. The rest of the conversation is also pretty routine: "It's a grate," I answered. "What that grate do?" "It lets water from the rain drain down into the sewer."


Then he began a stream-of-consciousness monologue, none of which I remember well enough to recount here. But he concluded it with this non-sequitor: "and the man in the grate can't do that, right, Mommy?"

Man in the grate?

My thought processes went something like this: "Man in the grate? Why would he say that? There was no man in the grate. But in Stephen King's It, there was a clown in the grate that lured a boy to his death. There couldn't have been a clown in that grate, right?"

At that point, every single scary-clown image stored in the "Do Not Open" compartment of my brain flashed through my mind. Pennywise the Clown from It, the psychotic toy clown in Poltergeist, some stupid clown-villain in a Scooby Doo cartoon, and the one that launched my clown neuroses when I was 9: an evil clown in an episode of Fantasy Island.

I don't have too many irrational fears, but clowns are definitely one of them. Between the clowns and the mistreated animals, I can't imagine wanting to take my kids to a circus.

Sean made no further mention of a man in the grate. Just to be safe, though, perhaps we'll walk on the other side of the street next time.