Alternatively, I could have called this finding a passionate salesclerk.
My niece’s upcoming birthday afforded me the opportunity to browse the toy store. Yes, I could have bought her clothes, but those years aren’t upon us yet. She is still very much interested in toys and picture books. Besides, I want to be the cool uncle.
The best and worst thing about the toy store is that there is so much to look at. I wonder which toy she’ll enjoy most, while also keeping in mind that I’ve got the birthdays of two young nephews on the not so distance horizon. I wonder which toys will make her eyes light up. I also wonder how much I should spend because sibling and cousin parity is rather important.
I’ve been pretty lucky in the past. Most of my gifts have been winners, and I certainly don’t want the streak to end. I spent much more time browsing that I would have done for anyone else I bought for. I even went so far as to ask one of the clerks.
And that’s when it happened. I found a clerk in a store who was passionate about his job. He had lots of recommendations. He asked about my budget and showed me things that I had not seen. While finding an interested store clerk can be miraculous, that wasn’t the Perfect Moment.
It was when he started to wax lyrical about the “classic toys” that I could see things brighten up.
“Now everything is electronic and has to have noise,” he said. “When I was a kid, I made my own noises.” He stopped to examine the Fisher Price pull along telephone. “Look at this one. It hasn’t changed in fifty years. They designed it right the first time and didn’t need to change it.”
I have written about passionate people before (the Woman Who Loved Chopin comes to mind), but mostly they were confined to art spaces. This was a person working at a toy store; A big heartless chain toy store , in fact. His enthusiasm was quite infectious. Unless you’ve come into contact with people who like what they do, you may never experience this phenomenon.
That encounter made shopping a lot easier and allowed nostalgia to make an appearance. I checked out the latest version of Risk. I thought about buying a new version of Trivial Pursuit. I craved a new scrabble board with real tile holders. I spied an awesome chemistry set. I lusted after a Lego train set. For a few moments at least, I was a little boy in a toy store.