Kids see things much differently than adults. I was reminded of this recently when I walked over a drain in a large parking lot. It took me back to this big strip mall in the neighboring town where I grew up. This was the hangout for kids on the weekends the way malls are today.
This shopping center was especially cool on Sundays because there were blue laws in New Jersey and most stores were closed. This left us an empty 20 acre flat parking lot surface to ride bicycles. Though, after a couple hours of riding we looked for other things to do.
Somehow one of us came upon the parking lot drainage system. These were large concrete pipes under the parking lot where the rain water would run off into and be carried away. This pipe line was just the right size for a kid to wander around in. Like ferrets we explored every underground avenue.
Oddly this new underground navigation skill came in handy one day when a friend’s mother dropped her keys down through the grate. I told her to wait right there and I’d be back with her keys in ten minutes. Like a river rat I navigated the pipeline in little time and retrieved her keys. She gave me a few dollars as a reward. Being a curious kid paid off for me on that day.