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I Just Want to be Alone

I Just Want to be Alone
Erik Deckers
Laughing Stalk Syndicate
Copyright 2007

Privacy is one of those priceless commodities you can't get enough of. Like gold, vacation, or pizza. No matter how much you get, you always want more. And while I love my kids, there are times I just wish they would go bug someone else for a while.

I realize I don't see my family during the day, and I should spend as much time as I can with them. And I do. But I also want to spend some time with my wife, to talk about something other than work. To have a normal conversation about normal things. But it's a little difficult at times when everyone else is competing for my attention.

My wife: You won't believe what I heard today! Do you remember Susie from the library? Well, her husband caught her--

Son: Daddy, look at my Legos! I put them in a pile!

Me: Good job, Buddy. That's quite a big pile.

Son: Watch me put them into a new pile.

My wife: So anyway, Susie went out for drinks with --

Youngest daughter: Daddy, look at this bug I found! I put him in a jar.

Me: Wow, cool. Why don't you let him go?

Youngest daughter: But I want to keep him.

Me: I know, but bugs don't make good pets.

Youngest daughter: But I named him Herman.

Me: Why don't you take Herman outside and play with him?

My wife: So anyway, Susie was having drinks with a few women and Jeremy from work. Innocent enough. Susie's husband walks into the bar, sees them all and goes ballistic. He grabs Jeremy by the collar and --

Oldest daughter: Daddy, guess what they did on Fear Factor today.

Me: I'm guessing they ate gross stuff and let icky things crawl on them.

Oldest daughter: Did you see it too? Wasn't that cool?!

Me: No, that's just what they do every show.

My wife: Aren't you going to pay attention?

Me: I am. Tell me the story.

Youngest daughter, bursting in the door: Daddy, Herman got away!

My wife: You know what? Forget it. You're obviously not interested.

Me: But. . .

And if it's hard enough to have a conversation with three kids around, imagine trying to get some private time by yourself.

My wife often does yoga in the morning, and locks the door so the kids won't interrupt her morning meditations. One morning, as she was in the middle of Downward Dog or Ridiculously Limber Ostrich, or whatever those poses are called, there was a knock at the door.

"Moooommmmyyyyy! What are you doing in there?"

"I'm busy, kids. I'm doing my yoga."

"Mommy? Why is the door locked?"

"I'll be out in a few minutes!"

"Mommy, the door is locked. Can you open the door? Mommy? Mommy?"

"WOULD YOU KNOCK IT OFF?! I'M TRYING TO RELAX!"

Needless to say, the Downward Dog has just done his downward doots on the lawn, and that morning's relaxation has become a lost cause. It's a little hard to reach a state of quiet contemplation when two little kids are banging on the door, wondering why you're not devoting every waking moment to them.

This is typical of our day, until we can finally get the kids to bed, and steal a few moments for ourselves. Some nights, my wife and I will sneak downstairs for our weekly ritual of a DVD and a bowl of cereal. The good kind. The kind we won't let the kids have because "it's filled with sugar and preservatives." So we have to keep it a secret.

We settle down on the couch and start enjoying our snack, when we hear our oldest daughter ka-thunking down the stairs. We nearly knock each other over trying to get into the laundry room to hide our contraband.

"Mommy? What are you guys doing in there? Daddy? Why is the door locked? Mommy? Daddy? Mommy? Daddy?"

"Nothing. We're. . . uhh, we're kissing."

"No, you're not! You're eating cereal again!"

I open the door. "How do you know we're eating cereal?

"Because that's the only time you guys ever hide in the laundry room."

Some days, I wonder if I'll ever get any privacy. Will my life be filled with constant interruptions, disturbances, and invasions? Will I be forced to bear every disruption with good grace and without raising a fuss?

Probably. But I'll get my revenge when my kids grow up and I move in with them.

"Buddy! What are you doing in there? Buddy? Why is the bathroom door locked? Buddy? Buddy? Buddy?"

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