Diamonds or “diamonding” was one of their favorite and earliest experiences in pleasure, architecture and interior design. Over the summer, when sidewalks were covered in hopscotch frames and rainbow prints, loose ends of chalk could be found, usually in the cracks of the sidewalk panels, slightly diagonal and wedged.
Longer finger-nails, were developed over weeks of acrylic hardening and non-biting-goal oriented behavior. A longer fingernail with a flattened chisel shape allowed more wiggle room to slide and flick between sidewalk panels when extracting chalk, it’s also they found, easier to clean, paint and file. “Chalking the Dust” powdering it by squeezing it against the walls of the concrete slabs during extraction or by trying to dislodge it from a difficult corner, was despicable and disappointing. Colors were arranged in piles and labeled in a small rectangular zip lock bag, then placed into larger zip lock bags that held all primary and secondary colors. Marking symbols before and after the assumed (but more often guessed) “brand color” made searching through color bags a little faster, and helped to distinguish between all the very similarly named colors Ex:
Bottle Brush Blue, Bonnet Blue, Blue Blueberry, Bay Ocean Blue, Bang! Blue.
#—#Bottle Brush Blue#—#
**$Bay Ocean Blue$**
Sometimes color-coding would lead to long disputes; everyone had differing senses for hue and saturation and feel. They liked the blues and the purples and really liked finding more expensive brands that didn’t powder immediately, held together with some wax or moisture.
Over a summer they could typically collect a small garbage bag full of chalk – but it meant missing out on a lot of other opportunities. Encouraged by the slow growth of chalk diamonds, now almost reaching the bathroom of the living room, perfect and equilateral, all pointing the same direction towards the ceiling, purple sections and a fade in the corner of the room. Multi-colered dust piles would form on the floor of the living room, the majordrawback, because it quickly became their chore to clean the living room, after it was discovered by the parents that “Mango the cat” would roll and breach through the rainbow tailings, leaving rainbow paw prints all around the house, that at first were incredible and mesmerizing, but soon the magic wore off and became slightly irritating—both because of the mess and also because the parents found it defeating and unimaginative to be irritated by such a wonderfully organic and beautiful thing that was occurring on a day to day basis in their house. Having spent most of their parenting life oscillating from a constant state of shock, awe and disbelief to a deep sense of pride and wonderment – they found as their children aged they didn’t really actually do any parenting anymore which made them slightly self conscious because it had always felt like the most important thing that had happened so far. Any attempts to guide, teach and encourage seemed distracting and condescending at this point in the children’s rapidly unfolding careers. Being “auto-pilot” parents, although a bit lonely and disconnected at times, allowed them to focus on their own lives.
On march 17th 2014, after the first small section of diamonds were placed, (mostly shades bright greens harvested the few days after the St. Patricks day parades), at that point in time the diamonds were quite reachable and easy to press without any equipment. Standing facing the wall, leaning all of her weight on her entire arm, pressing with a straight elbow and little finger strains to balance her palm over the chalk and napkin, Wendel was the first of the Children to “Push Color Through.”
—“Pushing Color Through” is a sensation the children claimed was pinnacle experience one could feel.—
The parents at first delighted by the joy and ecstasy this new game brought to the house were mostly impressed with their children’s ability to live inside their imaginary worlds, which they were convinced was one of the main joys of parenting. After a period long weeks, nightly visits to the diamond wall and even a small fight over scarce chalk resources, they decided that the game had gone too far and posted a flier in the “Living Room Comments Section” permanently outlawing “Pushing Color Through.”
Day by day the stacks of letters, petitions, votes, signatures, lab reports, grant applications, business propositions, threats from the government typed on thick card stock complete with a baseball card holograms, worm and beetle sacrifices – then mounds of crickets in piles surrounding a bigger beetle on a stick, even an attempt at a rudimentary letter bomb full of pink chalk was delivered to their bedroom door, they finally ended up signing and dating a neatly typed surrender document and sliding it back under their bedroom door.
$$#(Pink Perwinkle)#$$ a common Walgreens color in the Summer of 2014 – was the best color they had found so far for “Pushing Color Through.” It had the warmest tone of the purple family and was fairly “Push-Easy”,easy to maneuver and drive once one was already pushing. Everyone had their bag of favorites usually in a top drawer or in a fanny pack organized by code and assumed name.
Certain diamonds in the living room were named after particularly memorable pushes, “Grass Cloud”, “Deep Hole”, “Everything is Going to be Alright for Everyone”, “Always Under Things,” “Other Side of my Head” “Meetings with a Moose” “Best Sandwich” “In-Love” “!!!Yes!!!” “The Peak”. Others were “DUDdiamonds” labeled with x’s and would be tried from time to time but didn’t see much action. The children had found that some of the hardest to reach diamonds near the ceiling of the living room were some of the most “Push Easy” and some elaborate steel scaffolding systems were soon erected.
When someone’s “Pushing Color” their knuckles and fingers turn white from the arm pressure, and they usually tilt their head back to stare at the ceiling. Pushes can last seconds long and Wendel’s younger sister claimed to have pushed for half a minute but none of the other children had been their to record any data, but she voraciously labeled the diamond “The Best”and attempted for the next few months to recreate her experience with a handful of rare pigmenets and dust combinations.
Wendel’s oldest sister was a “Dust Mixer,” accepting almost all “BagSheets,” the standardized order form the children developed for color mixing. She was known for mixing an initial golden yellow barrage of warm feelings, on the noise, and cheeks and eyebrows that quickly escalated to a yellow tingling and humming pattern around the temples. She was good about keeping things light, quick with a lot of upfront shapes and actions and a good background of tingle and hum. She used dental tools and digital scales, always wearing gloves when she mixed.
The family didn’t leave very often – after other children started pushing, a loose band of “Dusters” started growing their fingernails to comb over the streets. Certain colors were hot for a week or two and would fade after a “Mixer” had come up with some new combination. Blues were always popular. A series of high school students attempted to form a small union as their sophomore year project, but were unfortunately not old enough to vote and legally sign. Lines would form rapping around the block, all the neighbors, excited that that their daily routines had been shattered by something so unique and magical, helped dig a path that snaked across their front lawns and was generally referred to as the “ColorRoad.”
Wendel like her older sister had the mind for “Mixing.” Plenty of people couldn’t distinguish between an on-brand vs. off-brand #**#Apple Green#**#, and would rather trust their “push” “color” from someone who had been mixing for a few years. She mixed for herself and didn’t like to talk a lot about the extra mix that she would share with pushers.