“Can you please put this in HP’s room?” my wife said.
“Excuse me? Did you add on a wing while I was sleeping?”
“Whatever. You know what I mean. The front room.”
Oh, I know what she meant, all right. She meant MY room. Fine, the study, the den, the spare bedroom, the office. It goes by many acceptable names, but HP’s room was not one of them. Uh uh. Not on my watch, sister. She is sharing a room with Bub, doesn’t she know this? Who needs a room and a half all to themselves? I mean, other than me?
My desk is still in there, a sad, dusty effigy to the hanging chads of a campaign lost. The only time I could possibly use it now is when she’s sleeping. In the swing, which is in the room. Right. It’s like one of those Cracker Barrel logic puzzles that you have to just break to figure out.
Not to mention that she spends approximately 15 hours a day in that thing right now like an absolute hog. More than 50%, the majority. But it’s not just that she won this imaginary seat in the house; it’s that her unscrupulous political practices have actually rendered it so unappealing I don’t even want it anymore. Well played, daughter. Nice usurping.
But this whole episode has given me pause to wonder: What is it about men that we feel like we need somewhere extra to go? A special place, a refuge. I really dislike the term man cave; what I’m talking about is a sanctuary. This started well before kids; parenthood just magnified it. I grew up sharing a room with my brother, so it doesn’t stem from that. Maybe I’m just territorial, maybe I’M the hog. This is what I’m trying to figure out.
We have some couple friends who live in the suburbs, just had a beautiful baby girl (their first) around the time HP came to be. We went out to exchange oohs and ahhs. And while the baby was awesome, what I really walked away gushing about was their finished basement, completely untouched by kid-dom. No toys, burp rags or rattles or board books; nary a milk stain. It was like walking through a ravaged section of the rain forest upstairs, trees falling, chinchillas weeping, only to happen upon the untouched serenity of this little subterranean Zen garden.
My wife doesn’t seem to have this craving for space the way I do. I guess that’s good; if we were both trying to stake out the same territory, there would be tensions, border disputes. She’s very supportive of my problem, in fact; when we moved in here three years ago, she pretty much designated the front room to be “mine.” Thanks, baby. It was fun while it lasted. Now it’s time to find a bigger place.