In the photo I am playing with my grandfather in his sculpture studio in Ecuador—I remember this place as a magical world of quiet imagination—the floor beneath us was made up of wooden blocks that could be removed and turned into towers, to my right was a suitcase filled with old toys, and surrounding us were my grandfather’s sculptures dangling from above—toys of their own kind, with bright colors, shapes, that could be instantly understood by a child. I spent many hours in Ecuador bored, surrounded by adults who seemed to be talking endlessly in a language I only barely understood. My grandfather, during those moments, would tell me to go drink a glass of water—he insisted that drinking water, if one really concentrated on what one was doing, cured boredom. Upstairs, where the adults gathered for lunch, it was clear that adulthood was a terribly boring thing. Then, later, in the space of his studio, it would suddenly seem that growing old did not mean losing magic. It would seem instead, like my grandfather had told me, that boredom was a choice.
Lisa Ubelaker Andrade