I whiled away many childhood hours in Cunningham Park seesawing with friends and working on my balance, coordination and powers of observation.
Was the heftier rider on the other end of the board preparing to make a sneaky quick exit while I was dangling in the air?
I had this bump back in time when I read about a recent public art installation, called “Impulse,” in busy Manhattan.
A dozen illuminated teeter-totters were placed on Broadway for the amusement and amazement of New Yorkers. From the description of the riders’ whooping and yelping, it seems that some of these folks had never seesawed.
Now I have one more reason to feel country mousey.
I obviously don’t recognize or appreciate “public art,” because if I saw 12 long planks with riders bouncing up and down, I would swear that it was playground equipment.
I feel a bit smug, however, that this country mouse knows how to operate a teeter-totter. New Yorkers may be able to whiz through subway turnstiles and cling to ceiling stirrups as the cars whip around, but can they scooch off a seesaw midair and land on their feet?
Other life lessons and skills, in addition to boosting balance and coordination and deciphering body language, can be gleaned from riding an old-fashioned seesaw.
For example, it’s not much fun to seesaw alone.
It’s possible to plant your feet in the middle of a seesaw like a surfer and bob up and down solo, but it’s awkward and apt to lead to bruised knees if there’s asphalt beneath. It’s better to ask the kid pushing and jumping onto the merry-go-round alone to join you.
And a seasoned seesaw rider knows that the ride is more thrilling with some give and take. Even when the other rider is the size of a Cornish game hen and can be left stuck up in the air and squawking for mercy until his mother rescues him, it’s not fun after a few minutes. For goodness’ sake, give that rider a boulder to hold and even the score.
That’s the kind of public art that I can understand.
Marti Attoun’s “Booth 186: My Secondhand Career in Vintage Corsets, Moose Heads and Other Moth-Eaten Antiques” is available as an e-book on Amazon.