He stuck his fingers into the box and rustled the little bricks of plastic – the crisp shrill sounds from the displaced pieces were especially jarring to my ears.
He found the pieces he wanted, then started to produce a model of the mental picture only he could see. I watched in fascination as he focused intently on the task at hand, his actions controlled and repetitive – click, rustle, click, rustle, click.
While I enjoy building the occasional model using Lego bricks, I do it by strictly following the step-by-step instructions in the manual. I spend some time making sure the orientation of my model matches the manual at each step, checking and double-checking I have the correct piece. Watching me build a model will require tonnes of patience, time, and eye-rolling, I’m sure.
If you hand me a box full of Lego bricks with no manual or other pictures for reference and ask me to build anything, I will alternate between stupidly staring at you and the box of bricks. I am a lost cause. The part of the brain that translate mental pictures to 3-D models is missing in mine.
But the Man is different. He could visualise the 3-D image of the model he wants to build clearly and build it with whatever pieces he has. I envy the magic he can create in a matter of minutes.
It started with the Man making me a mini Christmas tree for fun last December. I liked it so much it became a centre piece at my office desk.
When Chinese New Year was round the corner, I took apart the Christmas tree and brought the pieces home. I then asked for a tree to match the festival. I received the Kumquat (Citrus sp.) plant within minutes.
The Kumquat Plant
It was long past Chinese New Year, and I started thinking of having another display. I broke up the Kumquat tree and again brought the pieces home.
“What do you want this time?” The Man sighed when he saw the Lego pieces in my outstretched hands, and the evil glint in my eyes.
“How about a cherry blossom tree?” I asked the Man dreamily, the image of pretty pink and white flower-dotted trees in my mind, the flowers swaying gently in the wind.
“Okay. Challenge accepted.” was all he said, as he rustled the Lego pieces in the box. Within minutes, he was done.
My Cherry Blossom Tree
The Man apologised that it was the best he could do, with the limited Lego pieces he raided from the kids’ stash. I stared at him in disbelief. This was the boy who built a space shuttle from scratch and got second place in a district Lego model-building competition about 3 decades ago, and he was apologising for a beautiful tree he created in a few minutes? And he was speaking to the girl who also played with Lego when young, but segregated her bricks into different colours and used them as ingredients for her make-believe cooking demonstration shows that many years ago.
This man is crazy! But I don’t care, I love it! More trees to come? *evil smile*