I believe I was around eight years old in Kuwait City. My brothers, cousins, and myself had new bicycles and whenever the chance arose we met and rode around the playground. But most of the time I had my bike parked against a wall and got busy finding any object that could be used to build roads: water hoses, pipes, mop sticks, brooms, bricks, chairs, and lots of chalk. By the time I used to be done setting up the roads on massive areas, two or three hours had passed and I didn’t get to ride my bike and play enough. After we left (or made to leave by adults), someone would pick up all the sticks and bricks, and wash up the chalk on the cement ground. It was definitely frustrating, but didn’t stop me from starting all over again. If I remember correctly, I enjoyed building the roads more than biking.
By the time I was 11 in Amman, I had set up a show on the playground that belonged to the apartment complex I lived in. I remember clearly spending so much time convincing neighbors, younger brother, and cousins to be part of this show. I spent several days organizing the show. I assigned those kids for different tasks: buying fireworks, making a 100 paper planes, getting different tools like hand lights, getting a small stereo with a microphone, and so on. I planned out the entire event and sent invitations to all our neighbors to come attend the show (which I called ‘party’) on the 27th of Ramadan around 7:00 PM. We had a Taekwondo fight scene, Quran recital, singing and dancing to American hip-hop and pop music, and of course the fireworks and paper planes dropped from the building roofs. The execution and organization were superb, very few adults showed up (namely, my parents and my uncle and aunt) while all the residents of the 24 apartments in the complex refused to show up, but ended up watching us from their windows once they heard the music.
At age six, in Kuwait City, I penciled and colored huge, carton white-boards, creating an entire city, with streets that fit the size of Micro-Machines’ car miniatures (see picture). I used to spend hours building Micro-Machines’ type cities.
I’m not saying there was anything special about me. There are millions of kids around the world who had similar interests, making movies, drawing comic books, designing 3D objects, building Lego cities, and so on. But what I’m saying is that there are two types of kids: those who enjoy building stuff, and those who enjoy using what has been built. I refer to these two categories of people as builders and bikers.