The sleep of reason isn’t the only thing that gives birth to monsters. Language does, too.
Last week, Adam and I were walking to the store when we passed by a big office building on Wiltshire. The building presented a big window to the street, through which one could see a very empty atrium. I’ve passed by this building hundreds of times without thinking much about it. Adam posed his standard question to me – what’s that, Daddy? I said it was an office building. He seemed a little disturbed that it looked empty, so I assured him that somebody worked there. He repeated my words. It amused me that he said somebody like it was somebody’s name.
The next day he mentioned somebody again, telling me that somebody is in his office. We were walking home. I said that somebody is in the car and somebody is in the house we passed too. Daddy. Funny daddy.
Little did I know that somebody seemed ominous to Adam. And his multiplication was a bit terrifying. Gradually, I understood, but not before somebody had assumed terrible proportions. Now when it gets dark, Adam talks about somebody being in his office. This morning, as we walked out the door and went to the left – our standard route to Adam’s school – Adam broke into a run, and kept looking backwards. I caught up with him, gave him the standard adult rap about don’t ever do that, and he told me that he’d seen somebody.
Somebody haunts us. So, actually, does Mr. Nobody, from the Goodnight Moon book. These monsters come straight out of our language, which has dreamt them up. I’m going to have to figure out how to ratchet down the fear of somebody.