Today, on an old bookshelf, behind some boxes and things, I found my ancient Where’s Waldo books. All the childhood memories flooded back: flipping through the pages and getting sucked right into the Waldo search, eyes darting back and forth, made me feel exactly like I did back then. It wasn’t just the pure fun of the game (I think this is one of the most well-conceived children’s books) but the comfort in that familiarity, feeling at home in a book; the idea, I guess, that the way our minds work doesn’t change all that much — just the specific thoughts, the circumstances, the problems we have to unravel.
I got to the last page, the Land of Waldos, where everyone is a Waldo except the real one is missing a shoe. This was the one I don’t remember ever solving as a kid, spending what seemed like endless frustrating hours, but who knows what it was in actual time. And today I found him, stripey sock and all. I won’t say it’s instantly easy as an adult, as with most of the Waldos, it’s hard until suddenly you see him and it’s as if he’s been staring you in the face all along. And, well, he has.
There might well be a metaphor somewhere in there, finding ourselves, finding our way, who knows, write your own, I’m not that far yet. All I know is that this made my day.