Bent Words

Bent Words

April 11, 2022

"When I have kids, I won't treat them like prisoners!" she screamed from a moment's pause of a slammed bedroom door.

"You're right, you won't, because you'll be the prisoner! In your own house, no less!" I screamed back.

Kids are just like cruise ship-sized boat anchors with greedy mouths that suck the lifeforce from your soul and, once fully engaged, leave you feeling stagnant and stoic (and broke). You can kind of move around in a little circle but you're hopeless to actually get anywhere.

Last weekend was a best friend's birthday party. This weekend is a family gathering guised in a holiday for people who believe that crap where only the women work, producing food as well as free childcare, while the men... well I don't know what they do but they do it sitting and you never see them in more than one room at a time unless they need to use the bathroom. Next weekend we're watching our two nephews in conjunction with our own overnight. I shall call this Hell Compounded. I doubt I'll make it past that to see what the last weekend of April brings but probably nothing anymore promising than the former ones.

Kids sure have a busy social calendar these days.

I remember when I was babysat by the fish and frogs in the lake. If my folks were gone for a whole weekend, they'd drop me off at this old woman's house who ate supper in the afternoon and dinner at night while still enjoying the foils of lunch and breakfast followed by a lovely mid-day rest. During these times, I burned dry grass in the metal barrels she had out back, lured ants to the sweet corn I put on the driveway (and burned them with a magnifying glass but that's okay because there are a lot of ants in the world) and sometimes got lost in the corn. I was always guided back by her screams of frustration and impatience but she didn't seem to understand that I didn't need her to watch me. I was perfectly fine on my own with my fortifying little satchel of Milk Bones crackers. She refused to turn the TV on for me during the day so I traded in Sesame Street for Simon and Simon and, if I pretended not to breathe, MacGyver.

But if I coughed or giggled, the gig was up and I was sent to bed.

I waited impatiently for the glow of headlights of my parental unit's car to make the round on the wall in the spare bedroom which smelled like dust and felt like old-ass corduroy. Then the chihuahua's yipping. FREEDOM!

I couldn't wait to get cut loose.

Those walls didn't protect me, they confined me. As all walls do.

I thought of this while driving back home today, driving past the Hartford cornfields, feeling the sunshine upon my face, belting out another Kenny Chesney/Lumineers/Matt Nathanson/Eric Church/CCR song. I was finally free so why was I going back? Why not make this an endless commute and get lost in the nearest bar and spend my twenty on Coors Light and pull tabs? Just kidding!! There wouldn't be enough beer if I spent part of it on pull tabs. One must be wise with their meager means.

But I don't get to do what I want, when I want. I'm the only one in this house, besides the dog, whose time outdoors is relegated to an afternoon walk or a quick jaunt to the mailbox.

I'll probably regret it. I'll probably suffer the consequences of a severe hangover or the early rise of several toddler-type entities controlling the fortress with high-pitched howls emanating from snot-nosed, tear-stained faces demanding food or comfort but there's a going away party at the Ash on the 23rd for a friend and I might just try to make it.

DAMN this week's commute!!! It gives me too much time to think. And I think I'm in trouble...

Written at 6:44 p.m.