I am a man that enjoys a little solitude from time to time. A cup of coffee on a quiet porch. A book under the shade of a tree. A lock on the bathroom door. Before my wife and I embarked on the journey of creating a family I often found myself fishing alone, journaling, or reading. I liked being alone left to my own thoughts and feelings. It’s not that I didn’t like the company of other people; obviously, I fell in love and got married and a strong social life has always been important to me. Still, solitude was something in which I found a lot of comfort and clarity.
And then came the kids. Early on nap time was a welcomed break, but that soon evolved into getting everything done that couldn’t be accomplished when the little one was awake which was virtually everything. This conundrum only got worse as we added child number two and then child number three. My days were filled with people constantly at my feet, on my back, and in the bathroom. They would fight with each other over toys, fight me for supremacy, and fight for the day old cracker on the floor needing me to stand a constant watch to ensure everyone’s life and liberty. Solitude became an idea from my youthful past like innocence and gas free Mexican food.
Now that my youngest is five, I find I can step out of the room for a few minutes without the fear of Family War XXILXILXIXLX starting. But, I can’t just go anywhere. The kitchen leaves me open to the requests from the living room to bring someone a snack. Out of the library door come the calls to fix the internet. My own bedroom is somehow the family movie theater with my bathroom as the common room for everyone. I have only one room in my house that no one, and I mean no one, will enter. The laundry room.
I have made the laundry room my new man cave. I know that other men adorn their rooms with guns and dead animals and beer cans but I chose the fresh scents of Downey because, and this is the only reason, no one will enter my space. I can spend as much time as I like in my new cave and while people may call for me, no one will come and get me. Why? Because I am armed with a basket full of clean clothes and, hey, while your down here, why don’t you go put these away. Nobody in my house wants to hear that and so everyone stays away.
I suppose until my children eventually move out I will be the one doing the laundry. Laundry suits my solitary nature. Sorting, washing, and folding has its own rhythm and regularity. Maybe eventually I can sneak in an ipad and wine fridge and kick my feet up on the dirty pile of laundry. Then I will have all that I could want at least for a couple of hours.