As I thought about what to offer for the letter Q, I reached in and searched my memory, but it was all too silly, too random. Then, I remembered those word games we played on long car journeys, which was usually as we travelled down to the caravan. We reached and searched for Q words then too.
When I was very young it was girls’ names beginning with each letter of the alphabet, and we’d take it in turns to think of one. Then boys’ names. A is for Alan, B is for Brian, C is for Curtis etc. If we took too long to think when it was our turn, we were out, but that was a very loose rule. Stock Q names were Queenie, Quinn, and that forensic doctor with the big nose from off the telly, Quincy.
The miles would drift by on the motorway and B roads down to Dorset as we thought of these names.
When I got a bit older, it was the alphabet of places, then countries, occupations, food. Q was always a struggle and occasionally we skipped it.
I didn’t really need those games, but they were fun. I preferred just looking at the landscape, lost in my own world. When I got a Sony Walkman, I even had a soundtrack, and I’d stare out of the car window in a fantasy. It was a rich world. I remember being irritated when someone tried to speak to me or engage me in a game. Presumably that was around the onset of my teens.
I used to look into the other cars on the road, at the occupants, and that fed my imagination as well. Who were those people, and where were they going?
Now on long journeys with my children, I zone out in a similar way, concentrating on my driving primarily, of course. It’s a different set of thoughts now: what next? What will happen if I make this decision, or that one? ‘Grown-up’ thoughts. My little family haven’t tackled alphabet games on journeys yet, but now that I’ve remembered them, we will.
Today, my three year old suddenly gasped in surprise as we pulled into our driveway. She said, ‘Oh my gosh, Wildstyle is climbing that tree! Quickly!’ (Wildstyle is a character from The Lego Movie.) She was lost in her fantasy world and it was wonderful for me to discover that her imagination is so much at work.