Adjusting to the structure and routine of preschool was difficult for me. I viewed our scheduled activities more as general suggestions. I zoned out during the pledge of allegiance. During the hokey pokey, I just stood awkwardly, moving random limbs at intervals. I took my macaroni art and coloring pages in edgy new directions that were never well received.
The only thing I liked at preschool was free play, when we were unleashed upon huge plastic bins of toys to do whatever we wanted. Other kids occasionally asked me to play with them, but I couldn't comprehend why anyone would willingly squander their free play time doing what some other kid wanted to do.
I had one aim during free play, and one aim alone: to find my purple unicorn. She was the only toy I played with. At the end of each free play, I tucked her safely in the very back of a bottom drawer where she would patiently await my return.
Then one day, when I reached into the drawer to retrieve my faithful companion, brimming with new imaginary adventures for us to embark upon together, something terrible, unthinkable, had happened.
Some ungrateful heathen had smeared sticky stuff across her proud, graceful torso.
I was outraged. Clearly, I could not permit such an abomination to happen again. At the end of free play, amid the commotion of kids returning their sticky, bourgeois toys to their bins, I shoved the purple unicorn in my backpack.
At the end of the day, as soon as our car was safely out of sight of the preschool, I proudly introduced Mom to the newest addition to our family. She wasn't nearly as impressed by my heroism as I anticipated.
"I couldn't just leave her there!" I said. "Those kids will ruin her. They got sticky stuff all over her, look."
I don't know if it was the bizarre logic behind my decision, or sheer exasperation, but I got to keep the purple unicorn. I brought her home and dutifully stowed her away with all my other toys, and then I never played with her again. I mean, she had sticky stuff all over her. Gross.