On a drive through the neighborhood today, I noticed that two large tents had been erected in the front yard of one house.
Neat, I thought. What a great way to keep the kids entertained during the shutdown. Setting up the tents, decking them out with makeshift furnishings, imagining the tents are Indian teepees or castles — that would keep the kids occupied for hours!
Then my thoughts turned a bit darker as I imagined a different possibility. What if the tents didn’t belong to the kids but to one of the parents? What if the family togetherness just got to be too much and Mom or Dad finally decided to social distance themselves right out of the house?
I wondered…..what possible scenarios could drive a person to flee the ones they love and take up residence out by the mailbox for a few days/weeks/months? A couple came to mind:
“Mom, you know how you’re always talking about how I should take initiative? I’ve decided to start a You Tube channel featuring my sick drum skills. So I just have to set up my kit in the family room, mmmkay?”
“Honey, I have decided that now is finally the time to become a Sourdough Bread Artisan. I will just need to keep this bowl of festering goo in the fridge for the next 10 weeks. Oh, and ignore the giant stack of dirty baking pans in the sink. I will take care of those at some point in the future. Now let’s watch TV together for 16 hours while the dough rises.”
“How many squares of toilet paper did you use?”
“What? I don’t know.”
“Well, it better not have been twenty, like last time! We need to ration!”
“I am not going to ration my toilet paper. I live in an advanced civilization.”
“You won’t be saying that when you’re using rye bread to wipe your butt.”
“WE’RE IN A PANDEMIC!!”
“Hey, are you serious? You didn’t refill the water reservoir in the Keurig after your last cup of coffee??”
“Are you serious? We’re in a pandemic, and you’re keeping track of who fills the water reservoir?”
“Look at that dirt you tracked in the house.”
“We’re in a pandemic, and you’re worried about a few specks of dirt?”
“Did you wipe that box of crackers with Chlorox before you put it in the pantry?”
“Did you wipe the grocery bags?”
“Thank you for the BLT. Did you wipe the tomato with Chlorox?”
“Did you want me to wipe the tomato with Chlorox? Do you want to die?”
“Do you want me to die?”
“Do you want me to want you to die??”
WORKING FROM HOME
“So how was your online meeting?”
“Really rough. I need to relax now. Will you bring me a lemonade?”
“Oh, sure, sure. Hey, I could overhear your meeting. It’s funny, your boss sounds a lot like Gordon Ramsay.”
“Heh-heh. Yeah, okay….so? Maybe he does sound like Gordon Ramsay. What’s your point?”
“Does your boss scream at you and call you a donkey??
“Uh-huh. So which team are you on at work? The red team or the blue team?”
FAMILY GAME NIGHT
“I rolled a six. That means I get to take twenty-four of your peasants and expand my feifdom into Dad’s territory.”
“No, you can’t take his peasants unless you have a vassal card.”
“What?? I hate these European games! Where does it say that in the rule book?”
“Chapter 14, section 5.”
So if you notice tents starting to pop up around your neighborhood, consider who might be inside. If you see tricycles and bags of Skittles scattered in the grass, that’s one thing. But what about that tent littered with Terra Chips wrappers and Bartles & Jaymes empties?
And is that a little white flag poking out and waving slowly in the April breeze?