Taylor is a curious little girl with an imagination... and an invention. All she needs is a salad bowl and her mother's help to try it out! Can a first grader invent a 'Roler Reverser' machine? Taylor and her 27 year old mother are about to find out...
Suzy Jackson finished with making an early dinner. It had been a tiring day at work and she was ready to relax. Being a 27 year old single mom hadn’t been her dream-life but it was the reality she lived. She did her best to make do for their comfortable home and she was quite proud of her accomplishments.
She was also quite proud of her daughter. Always a quick leaner, she was an exceptionally curious and gifted child. That wasn’t just Suzy’s observation, but other’s as well. Her daughter, 6 year old Taylor was very interested in science. Some days she’d declare she’d be a doctor. On others it would be an astronaut. Still other days she’d say she wanted to be a scientist. Her goals were high and Suzy encouraged her.
“Taylor! Dinner’s ready” Suzy yelled.
“I’ll be right down, mommy” Taylor replied “I’m working on something!”
“Whatever it is I am sure it can wait until after you eat” her mother told her.
Taylor put down her scissors and scurried down the steps to join her mother at the dinner table.
“Soooo what is it you’re working on this time?” Suzy asked politely as she passed the casserole dish to Taylor.
“It’s a secret! I think I almost got it figured out tho! I’ll show ya when it’s ready. Then we can experiment!”
“Experiment, huh? It sounds exciting!”
“It will be, mommy! I can’t wait!”
“Well, neither can I then!”
They finished their dinner and Suzy went about cleaning the dishes. Taylor was back off to her room to finish her invention. She grew prouder and prouder of her work as it went along.
Suzy was just about to put the salad bowl away when Taylor appeared. “Mommy, can I borrow the salad bowl? I need it for my invention”
Her mother looked at her curiously for a second and then handed the bowl to her as she finished drying it. “Ok... but don’t be putting anything nasty in it! I remember that one time with my frying pan....”
“Mommy! That was an accident! I just mixed too much stuff up in it!”
“Well, be careful with this one” Suzy said with a smile.
Taylor ran back to her room. Suzy sat down, put her feet up and began reading the TV Guide. She scanned the night’s schedule looking for something interesting. Her train of thought was interrupted by Taylor’s excited voice.
“It’s ready, mommy! C’mon! Let’s try it out! It’s ready!” she said.
Her mother brushed her hair out of her face and took her daughter’s extended hand. “OK... OK.... I’m coming....” she said seeing how excited her daughter was.
Taylor’s room was a mess. Scissors, glue, paper and string everywhere! Books opened. A chair in the middle of the room. “After you’re done, you’ll need to clean this room up before you go to bed!” Suzy informed her.
“I will mommy.... I promise! Well, unless things are different and it works!” she said giggling “I think I got it all figured out! It’ll work... I just KNOW it will!”
“Well, what is it exactly” Suzy asked.
“Here, you sit here” her daughter instructed “And put this on your head” She said as she handed the salad bowl to her mother.
“The salad bowl???”
“This invention better not be a camera!” her mother replied as she put the bowl on her head. “So what’ve you invented anyway?”
“It’s a “Role Reverser”! I can be the mommy for a while and you can be the kid!”
“Oh??? I see.... That certainly is interesting” Suzy said trying not to laugh too hard. “You need to make sure we trade back before your... or I guess it’ll be MY bedtime after this... because I don’t want to miss Tom Cruise on Jay Leno tonight!”
“OK... We can trade back whenever you say. ?Sides... we gotta trade back before tomorrow because we’re gonna have a big day at school and I don’t wanna miss it!”
Suzy was trying harder and harder not to laugh. Her daughter had such an imagination. Of all things to invent... a Role Reverser! Just what the world needs she thought sarcastically but didn’t want to say anything to discourage her daughter. She’d obviously put a lot of time into it.
“You ready?” Taylor.
“Sure!” her mother replied and sat up straight in the seat “What now?”
She watched as Taylor entered the closet. “Just about ready” Taylor said as she closed the door.
“What’re you in the closet for???”
“Oh... this is the control room. It’s where all the main stuff is!” was her muffled reply from behind the door.
“Well, you’ll need to clean that closet up before bed also if you’ve made a mess in there too!”
“Yes, Let’s do it!”
Suddenly a clap of thunder was heard. The lights flickered.... and flickered again. Suzy saw her daughter’s computer begin to reboot. Another clap of thunder and the lights went totally out this time. Fortunately, they were only out a few secs and then everything flashed back to life.
Suzy removed the salad bowl from her head and got out of the chair as Taylor exited the closet.
“Darn it! It didn’t work!” Taylor said dejectedly.
“Oh... you keep trying. You’ll figure it out eventually” Her mother said encouraging her. “It’s probably for the better it didn’t work tonight. It sounds like it is going to storm and I was scared to death of storms when I was a kid. You best start cleaning up this messy room now. It’ll take you a while and it’ll be bedtime soon.”
“OK, mommy” Taylor answered and started dismantling her ?invention’. “Stupid ol thing!” she said.
Taylor cleaned her room and eventually went to bed. Suzy curled up on the couch and began watching Tom Cruise joke with Jay on the Tonight Show. The storm rumbled in the distance and seemed to grow louder and louder.
Suzy grabbed a blanket and pulled it up tightly to her chin. For some reason this storm was more frightening than any she could recently remember. It must be that the thunder is especially loud she decided. Taylor slept right through the storm without awakening.
Suzy decided to go to bed as well. She picked out a nightshirt and got ready for bed. The storm still raged outside. Flashes of lightning filled her room when she turned off the light. She stood paralyzed for a second and then turned the light back on and scanned the room. It was just a storm she told herself. Nothing to be scared of. She scanned the room one more time and shut off the light.... Then she ran as fast as she could directly to her bed and hopped in. As soon as she hit the mattress she tunneled under the covers and pulled them over her eyes. As the storm subsided she fell fast asleep.
The next morning:
Suzy awoke feeling very refreshed. She remembered how scared she had been when she’d went to bed and laughed at her silliness. It was just a storm. A little thunder and rain. She climbed out of bed and began her morning routine. She padded to the kitchen to fix Taylor’s lunch for school. She put a Pop Tart in the toaster for Taylor and decided to have one for herself.
Taylor’s alarm clock went off and she got out of bed the first time without using the snooze button. She picked out an outfit for school just as she always would and entered the bathroom. In a few moments she was dressed and ready. When she got to the kitchen her mom was still dressed in her nightshirt, nibbling on a Pop Tart and reading the comics.
“Aren’t you going to work today, mom?” Taylor asked.
“Ooooooh... I lost track of time! I better get ready!” she said hopping up from the table “Here’s your lunch... Peanut butter and jelly, a candy bar, and a Twinkie.”
“Mom?” Taylor said slowly.
“What? I gotta start getting ready. I’m gonna be late!”
“Ummm I’m sorry about making you help me with that stupid ummm invention. That was dumb. I should’ve known it wouldn’t work.. and what would anyone want a Role Reverser for anyway? Talk about a waste of time!”
“That’s ok! I thought it was cool! You’ll figure it out one of these days!”
“No, I’m finished with that. I’m thinking I need to make something more useful.”
“If you say so... I gotta get ready!” Suzy replied and headed for her room.
Taylor headed out for school.
Suzy looked through her clothes for something to wear to work. Most of it was too boring she thought. She almost picked out a T-shirt and shorts but she thought better of it. She spied a short skirt she hadn’t worn in a while. She saw a blouse that went well with it. A pair of chunky platform sandals completed the outfit. It wasn’t like what she normally wore to work... not nearly as boring she decided.
She brushed out her hair and started to wear it up like normal. That was too boring as well. She toyed with idea of a ponytail... and even pigtails... finally she decided on just wearing it long and loose.
She next put on her makeup. She had a hard time deciding how much was appropriate. She had a little trouble applying the lipstick but she finally was satisified and made her way to her car and off to work.
Taylor sat down at her desk and watched the teacher lay out the day’s materials. Taylor was looking forward to today. She sat up straight and made sure not to slouch in her seat and then neatened up her own materials. The teacher began the first lesson and Taylor was suprised at how well the teacher was explaining it. It all made sense rather easily and was simple to remember. She felt rather smart when she noticed her classmates not grasping things as quickly as her. As soon as the teacher started asking questions and reviewing the material Taylor knew it all. The other kids were growing frustrated with Taylor showing them up. “Miss Smarty Pants!” a girl behind whispered in a snarl.
Taylor wished the teacher would quit dumbing down the lesson. It was making it take too long and was only making it boring. She started looking ahead of the teacher’s place and learning on her own. Some of it she already knew anyway. Why was the teacher taking this so slow? It wasn’t her fault that the rest of the class was so slow she thought.
Suzy entered her workplace and fumbled with some papers in her arms. She was a little nervous... probably because she was five minutes late for the first time ever. That had to be it she figured. She’d never been late before.
Were people staring at her she wondered? Had she put on too much makeup? She saw Johnny... John.... staring at her. She didn’t mind because he was a cute boy... guy..... Was he staring at her differently? More than usual? She made her way to her desk and dropped her paperwork into a pile on the desk. She then plopped down in her chair.
Looking at all the papers she let out a long sigh. Where to start? She felt more eyes on her. What was their problem? Then she realized she hadn’t crossed her legs! That’s not very lady-like of me she thought and awkwardly crossed her legs. She giggled nervously and felt their eyes move away.
Suzy started reading through some of the paperwork. She’d get through a few lines and then shake her head and move onto another page trying to decide which one to start on. She began unconciously bouncing her leg and dangling her shoe. Read a little... lose her spot... grab another paper... read some more....Just trying to find one to start on. They all seemed so boring. She couldn’t stay focused on any one page very long. She fidgeted in her seat. Was work always this boring she wondered? She knew she needed to get started and actually DO something but it was all so boring and hard to follow! She absently twirled her hair around her finger and stared off into space.
Taylor was making more and more of her classmates angry. The whispers of “Know-it-all” and “Smarty Pants” were growing louder. Even Taylor’s best friend, Tami, was getting a little agitated that her friend wouldn’t keep her hand down and quit answering EVERY question. The teacher couldn’t help but let her answer. Even when someone else did try to answer they were generally wrong.
Taylor grew frustrated with their childish antics. They were just jealous and she knew it. She just wished they weren’t holding the class back so much. She wished the teacher would work at HER pace... not that of the class!
Suzy felt eyes upon her again. What was it THIS time? Her legs were crossed this time she knew. She frowned and scooted up in the seat but that didn’t seem to make any difference. What she didn’t notice was her bouncing leg and fidgeting had caused her skirt to ride up giving the men a better view of her tanned and toned legs than exactly proper. She got up and decide to get something to drink from the machines in the hall. Nervously, she accidentally knocked her ink pen to the floor. She bent over and retrieved the ink pen, again giving the men a little more to see than they were accustomed to.
Awkwardly she walked to the machines. She seemed to be having trouble walking making some of the co-workers wonder if she’d been drinking. It was hard for her to balance herself in her platform sandals. She stopped at the coffee machine but the soda machine looked more inviting. She didn’t give coffee another thought and instead got a soda. Before she returned to her desk she spied a package of gum in the snack machine. She grabbed some change from her purse and put it in the machine. She didn’t even bother to count the money and ended up putting in too much. She grabbed the gum and headed back to her seat...wobbling most of the way.
She felt Johnny staring. She wondered if he liked her? He was a cute but she wondered if he might have cooties? That’s silly she thought and she sat back down and again began thumbing through the papers and now chewing her gum. She realized that she’d forgot to cross her legs again and giggled as she crossed them.
The office was abuzz as people began wondering, and whispering, about Suzy’s strange behavior.
Taylor opened her lunch bag and checked out the contents. She wished her mother had packed so many sweets. She knew they weren’t good for her and would rather have something else. She wished they’d let the children have coffee like they allowed the teachers. Her chocolate milk didn’t seem as appealing as a cup of coffee right now.
“How come your answerin’ all the questions?” Tami asked her “Everybody’s gettin’ mad at you for showin’ off!”
“Can I help it if I know the answers?”
“Yeah... Just don’t say nothin’!”
“Tami, I would like to get a good grade on my report card!”
“Why are you bein’ so snooty!?”
“I’m not -snooty-. I’m just trying to learn. Everyone else can do the same thing!”
“You sound like my mom!”
“Well, you should listen to her!” Taylor told her friend. Her friend just shrugged and moved to another table leaving Taylor by herself.
Suzy realized all her papers were out of order. That must be why she was having so much trouble with them. She had an idea and intentionally dropped them on the floor into a pile and then sat down on her heels and began trying to sort the papers. She’d only made the mess worse. None of them looked like they belonged together. Paper after paper was strewn about the floor. She put her finger in her mouth and stared at the mess.
“Umm Ms Jackson? Is there a problem today?” a supervisor asked standing over her.
Suzy wondered if she was in trouble? Taylor wouldn’t like it if she lost her job!
“Uhhhhhh... no mam” Suzy answered meekly “It’s just I got all this stuff... and it’s mixed up... and I didn’t sleep good ?cuz it stormed last night... and I hadda get up early ......and I was late... and Taylor hadda go to school.... and now everybody is looking at me.....” Her lower lip quiverd.
“Oh you poor dear! You’re overworked! You need to organize your time better and not bite off so much work. I’ll get someone to take some of this load off you and you go home and get some rest!”
One of the other women came over and began sorting though Suzy’s papers. Soon they were back in order. “Go on... you go home and get some rest. You’re going to have a nervous breakdown if you don’t!” she said as she took the papers to her desk.
Suzy was glad the nice lady helped her. She was having trouble even figuring out what numbers went in what order but this lady was real smart and did it right away! She was glad to be going outside and home anyway. This place was so boring! Suzy smiled innocently and waved ?bye’ to the office and then fell to the ground. Embarassed, she got back up and kicked off her shoes “Dumb ol’ shoes!” she said as she realized she could walk a lot better without them. She retrieved the discarded shoes and skipped barefoot down the hall to the elevator.
School was out and Tami asked Taylor if she wanted to stop by and play on her new trampoline.
“No thank you, Tami. I have some things to take care of at home. You have fun and maybe one of the other children will be happy to play with you. I need to get on home now. You should too. Your mother will worry if you’re late”
Tami shrugged “Your loss” and took off running toward her home. Taylor decided a leisurely walk was much more appropriate. She’d never noticed how peaceful the area was until she walked the distance and took in all the scenery. Seemingly for the first time.
There was a shortcut that all the children would take through an elderly woman’s yard on their way home from school. Taylor thought about it but then realized the old woman didn’t appreciate the children beating down her grass and making a path. She stayed on the sidewalk, even if it was farther to go, rather than trespass on the woman’s lawn.
Suzy rode the elevator down and hummed a long forgotten tune. Then she rode it back up again. And then down. Someone finally joined her on the elevator and she didn’t want to be on there with a stranger and so she exited.
She skipped out of the building and across the hot asphalt... almost forgetting to look both ways. She stared at her car. Actually, she stared at a few cars car. She wasn’t sure which one was hers. She bit her lower lip and looked up and down the rows of cars. Car after car was parked in the lot. Finally, she realized that even if she could figure out which one was hers.... she didn’t know how to drive it! She giggled...It’d be fun to have a car someday she thought.