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LJ Idol Week 1 - Saying Goodbye

Native speakers of the English language (myself included) think of saying goodbye as a bad thing-- someone dies, you have to move away, your computer gets run over by a car the day after its warranty is up...

In other languages, goodbye is not the mournful sorrow. Goodbye is coupled with hello.. after all, you can't say goodbye to one thing without saying hello to something else. Hebrew expresses this perfectly with the word "shalom," and in Hawaii, they say "aloha." Beautiful words that express the significance of saying goodbye. It's an end of a chapter, a beginning of a new one.

I'm writing this at 11:05 a.m. on the day that our entries are due. My procrastination days ended a long time ago, and those who have me on their friends list will know I don't have a problem with writing about... pretty much anything. My problem was, specifically, what to write about.

Do I conjure a story from my past? Saying goodbye to my grandparents, and beginning a life without them? Saying goodbye to Gainesville, Florida to move back to my hometown of Tallahassee? Should I say goodbye to my optimism? My naivete? My bleeding heart liberal views that get more and more crushed every day?

None of the above. I don't feel like being deep.
---

I was a god of roly polies. During the summer of '92 I had all the power over their domain. I decided whether they were picked up and held, hoping that their little feet would move across my hand, or whether I wanted to scare them and have them roll up into their little black shell of armor so I could bounce them around from hand to hand. Their fate was quite literally in my hands as I decided which action to take next. Of course I didn't intend on murder, but at 7 years old, I hope no one does.

When my mother refused the idea of a hamster and I wasn't allowed to get the sickly-looking goldfish at the fair, I, the Queen of Roly Polies, realized that I too could have pets. And cages! Why else would my mother keep egg cartons around? I lined my pets' new cage with dirt and grass, poked a few holes in the top, set my new pets on my desk and went to bed.

In the morning my fateful subjects were not moving, and had turned white. "Well, that's odd." The next day I did the same thing, making sure to poke more holes, put in more grass and dirt, and leaving the egg carton on my desk overnight.

In the morning I had little white balls in a mound of dirt in that egg carton. So that day, I did it again. And the next morning, again. I'm not sure exactly how many times I captured my new pets, but it was way up there, I'm sure. And I'd have so many at a time, so they'd have friends. And yet every morning, they were listlessly dead.

One day there were no more roly polies in my yard. Not in my best friend's yard, who had so bravely helped me, even if she didn't like the tickle of their feet as I had. There were no roly polies at the park, either. It settled into me that I had killed them all, and little white balls were all that were left.

At the time, I didn't think about things like roly poly season being over, and he next summer I had moved on to bigger things, like Totally Hair Barbie.

Many years later, I mentioned quite innocently that I had killed all the roly polies, hoping someone would say that they had seen one recently. Hoping that they had moved on to a different part of the country. They were allowed to hate me, but I would feel better knowing that my realm of roly polies were okay. No one mentioned seeing roly polies that day, or any subsequent day.

I still haven't seen a roly poly since that summer. I like to rationalize my behavior and think that the food chain still works, so it can't have been THAT bad. Or sometimes I pretend that roly polies still exist, and that my eyesight is too poor, or I am now standing taller above the ground and can't see them. Maybe roly polies are imaginary characters that you can't see after the age of seven. Or maybe I really did make their population extinct.

Comments

( 28 comments — Leave a comment )
tevarin
Sep. 26th, 2008 03:39 pm (UTC)
Kalina was playing with roly-polies this summer, and I saw them:) Maybe you have to be seven or younger to summon them.
thisgirliknow
Sep. 26th, 2008 03:40 pm (UTC)
She may have taken over my godliness. I don't believe you, though.
tevarin
Sep. 26th, 2008 03:53 pm (UTC)
pfft. Come on up to Maryland next summer, she can show them to you.

Or hang around with Cohen or Taylor, maybe.
spydielives
Sep. 26th, 2008 04:12 pm (UTC)
What summer was this? *smiling*
thisgirliknow
Sep. 27th, 2008 02:23 pm (UTC)
1992, I was seven. :)
spydielives
Sep. 27th, 2008 02:33 pm (UTC)
I have seen them since then. You are ok.

[scared me for a second]

You are only a couple years old than my eldest son. *sigh*
brownstudies
Sep. 26th, 2008 04:13 pm (UTC)
...I have never seen one in England since I was young, either. What's going on?

I procrastinated for much the same reason. Love the idea you went with!
thisgirliknow
Sep. 27th, 2008 02:23 pm (UTC)
See? I made them extinct :( All over, apparently! Thanks!!! :)
jkrissw
Sep. 26th, 2008 04:20 pm (UTC)
What on earth are "roly poly"s?
tevarin
Sep. 27th, 2008 02:04 am (UTC)
Also called pillbugs or sowbugs. About the size of a pea, and fun for kids because they're slow-moving and don't bite.

http://www.pbase.com/image/49178757

The article says they have to keep their gills moist. Melissa, I wonder if yours dried out from indoor air conditioning?
jkrissw
Sep. 27th, 2008 04:16 am (UTC)
Oh! Ok. I know them as sowbugs, and had heard them referred to as pillbugs, but "roly poly" was a new one for me. Regional?
pandora48sch
Sep. 26th, 2008 07:05 pm (UTC)
I see Roly Polies all the time, so I don't think you killed them all.

I guess Roly Polies is just one of those animals that doesn't take well to captivity.
walkertxkitty
Sep. 27th, 2008 12:50 am (UTC)
Someone else who had roly polys as pets! I managed to keep mine alive for quite a while but the parents really didn't want me having them. I ended up with a poor substitute, egg cartons decorated like roly polys or with long rolls of butcher paper in which I re-created roly poly cities and gave them all lives.

Thanks for the memories!
thisgirliknow
Sep. 27th, 2008 02:27 pm (UTC)
How did you keep them alive??? Apparently I was miserable about it, and had no problem murdering them over and over again.
walkertxkitty
Sep. 28th, 2008 01:45 am (UTC)
I have no idea, because I didn't even do what you did. They were in a glass jar on top of the soil with grass clippings in them.
jenandbronze
Sep. 27th, 2008 05:12 am (UTC)
I have to ask a dumb question: What in the world are rolly pollies? I have never heard of them before? Please educate me?

Great story though... I've voted you!
negativeneve
Sep. 27th, 2008 06:17 am (UTC)
negativeneve
Sep. 27th, 2008 06:17 am (UTC)
Damn me and my lack of html skills!
jenandbronze
Sep. 27th, 2008 03:32 pm (UTC)
Looks like it was a video and I can't load that here, dial-uip, but I did read the other poster who sent me a wikipedia picture (which loaded faster), they look like nasty insects... well, to my own bad eyes anyways.
thisgirliknow
Sep. 27th, 2008 02:26 pm (UTC)
jenandbronze
Sep. 27th, 2008 03:31 pm (UTC)
Whoa, they look ike insects to me! Then again, that's the way my bad eyes see the pictures.
marjory
Sep. 27th, 2008 12:26 pm (UTC)
Fear not, for we have a tonne!

This was very sweet.
thisgirliknow
Sep. 27th, 2008 02:25 pm (UTC)
thanks :)
baxaphobia
Sep. 27th, 2008 01:27 pm (UTC)
Smile! I used to play with little potato bugs when i was a kid. This is really fun!
thisgirliknow
Sep. 27th, 2008 02:25 pm (UTC)
At this point, I probably wouldn't have picked up a random bug and started playing with it. Children are so brave!
java_fiend
Sep. 27th, 2008 03:29 pm (UTC)
Wow... a roly poly genocide. At seven years old??? I'd hate to see what you're stuffing into egg cartons these days! ;-)

Highly amusing post. Really well done.
roina_arwen
Sep. 28th, 2008 01:13 am (UTC)
I think maybe the roly polies learned to stay away from you, quite frankly! A fun entry to read - thanks!
minikin
Sep. 28th, 2008 05:56 am (UTC)
Oh, that story is so precious!

I clearly remember the summer I caught hermit crabs at the beach and my Pappaw made me release them. I guess he knew I wouldn't be able to keep them alive. :)
( 28 comments — Leave a comment )

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thisgirliknow
Much like pineapples, I am hardcore.

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