My neighbor’s autistic son, the one who a few months ago challenged me to solve a Rubik’s Cube by solving one side and then an adjacent side, which I didn’t think could be done but now I do all the time, broke his Rubik’s Cube a few months ago. I never asked how. It doesn’t matter. Boys have a way of breaking things you don’t think are breakable. That’s just how boys are. Having been a boy myself, I speak from personal experience.
Anyway, the last few months, when I’ve gone to the Community Aid in south York, which I don’t often do but will sometimes pop my head in for a look around when I go to the Weis Market over there, I’ve checked the toy shelves for a used Rubik’s Cube for him. I found a speed cube there for two dollars in the fall, which was nice, because now I have a cube I can fiddle with at home and a cube I can fiddle with at the office. But I haven’t seen one since.
Today they had one! Not only did they have one, but it’s a vintage Rubik’s Cube from the early 1980s, back when blue was opposite white and yellow was opposite green. (Today, yellow is opposite white and blue is opposite green.) I snatched it up right away.
I will be perfectly honest and say I was tempted to keep it for myself. It’s vintage! It’s exactly like the Rubik’s Cubes I grew up with and completely failed to solve save by knifing the things and ripping them apart! (I was quite good at that.) But no, a promise to myself is still a promise, and I promised myself that I would buy him a Rubik’s Cube at a secondhand shop if I found one. And so I did.
He asked me to solve it when I got home and gave it to him, which I did. It was hard as hell, not so much because the colors are “wrong” (though that threw me off a little at various point), but because the cube was very stiff and difficult to turn. It probably needs to be disassembled — or at least rotated — and some WD-40 sprayed into the mechanism. So what should have taken me about two minutes took me closer to five, not to mention my arm muscles were surprisingly flexed and tired.
Still, he now has a Rubik’s Cube, and it’s solved, and I’m sure in the morning he’ll tell me that somehow it got messed up overnight and can I solve it for him again.
Which I will, happily, because that’s what I do.