As a childless adult, I have free time my child-having counterparts lack, and free time is necessary to produce suggestions for ways that those of you who are parents might amuse yourselves.
It only seems fair that I should do so, at least on occasion, as unlike those of you with children, I will not be found guilty of criminal negligence if I decide to run away to Europe, or spend all of my money on beer, candy, and lottery tickets; and lacking those sorts of options, you might have use for some non-criminal-offense suggestions for fun. Maybe that use will just be to try to read a few sentences of this on your smartphone in the bathroom, whilst simultaneously trying to blockade the door against tiny intruders so you can have forty-five seconds alone to pee; or simply to curse the fact that I can flee alone to Europe without fear of criminal prosecution, not to mention that I get to pee in solitude on a regular basis.
A special shout-out to my cousin-in-law Julie, whose updates on the goings-on in her life raising three children who are all under the age of ten have provided me with many opportunities to produce this sort of nonsense to make her laugh when my tiny cousins are testing her patience, and whose daily efforts to guide three small, sticky, self-centered humans toward becoming taller, less sticky, more empathetic humans (and her willingness to settle down with my cousin Joe) aid in carrying my family’s DNA into the future regardless of my own failure to reproduce.
It’s back-to-school time, and for those of you with children who are all school-aged, it is also sweet-Jesus-I-might-actually-have-an-hour-of-solitude time.
This calls for a celebration.
Sure, you could return to your now-empty home and immediately dive into the hills of laundry and assorted dust mammoths that have built up over the summer while you were trying to keep your progeny safe, fed, entertained, and prevented from participating in experiments with fire, narcotics, or the violent overthrow of local government. Domestic productivity hardly seems a fitting way, though, to mark the significance, nay, the magnitude of the occasion of the very first day of school.
Instead, why not celebrate by going to the nearest drug store and just standing quietly in the feminine products aisle, pretending to compare the merits of two brands of tampons? (Unless there is another parent standing there already; rather than disturb their solitude, just amend your plan, and head over to the suppositories aisle.)
Clean, quiet, and climate-controlled, with close proximity to products that make many people feel awkward to shield you from unwanted human intrusions upon your child-free time, this location has it all, and being there doesn’t even cost you a cent.
You might tell yourself that after you drop off the kids, you will just go home and relax in the rare and magnificent quiet; but the drug store plan frees you from even having to look at any of the things you could be getting done around the house. It also has the additional benefit of the comedy of the nineteen-year-old clerk whose manager tells him to investigate your lingering presence, but who is too sweatily nervous to actually approach someone who has been staring at two boxes of butt ointment for forty-five minutes…especially if you hold one of the boxes near the seat of your pants, as if you are somehow trying the suppositories out for size.
Happy back-to-school, parents, and may the clerk linger at the end of the aisle you occupy long enough for you to trap him with eye contact, then exclaim:
“Perfect, I was just about to look for someone who could help me try a few things on!”