I never actively seek out adverse conditions for the sake of a good column, but sometimes that’s how it works out. Like that time we took the kids to Ruby Falls and I endured a subterranean panic attack whilst fending off a credible bathroom emergency. Writing about it a month later was good for a chuckle, but I’m not so dedicated to the craft to declare it was all worth it.
In February, the kids had winter break and lacking any other plans we were boxed in to taking them to the Great Wolf Lodge down in LaGrange, GA for a night. I readied myself for another exercise in parental torture. The featured activity is an indoor water park. Indoor!
Take all the assumptions one might have about a water park—teeming crowds, long lines, screaming kids, hyper-chlorinated pools and greasy food. Put it all indoors and this is a positively suffocating environment. My hope was that the excursion might at least be fodder enough for a funny column. Never did I expect to have a good time, but curiously, I did.
It could be that expectations were so low that when they upgraded us to a two-bedroom suite at check-in, I was pleasantly surprised. The sheer size of the Lodge was a bit of a comfort, too. Yes, we were about to spend an unnatural amount of time indoors like it was kid Vegas, but at least there was room to roam. Then I realized they sold beer at various locations throughout the complex and I gave Kristen a nod as if to say, we got this.
Elliott brought a friend and they disappeared into the fracas. Were it a sprawling, outdoor park I’d feel the need to keep eyes on them but since it was a contained area I just let it roll and joined Margo to take on the wave pool, the basketball pool and the lazy river. Kristen even joined us for the rides. Later in the evening, we rode the good vibes to pop-a-shot dominance in the arcade. And I stood corrected. It. Was. Fun.
This has been happening to me some lately. Last season, Margo’s softball games seemed to pack nine innings of boredom into a three-inning game. This season, there is honestly nothing I’d rather do on a Saturday morning than watch her play. I can’t even credibly complain about that Post Malone song that will invariably be played on Margo’s station both to and fro the softball field. It’s kind of catchy and of all the singers that sound like robots, he is pretty top notch.
But now we are facing an honest-to-goodness challenge of a lifetime with the coronavirus/ COVID-19 and a humorous angle is tough to summon. The kids’ schools have only been closed a week as of this writing and we’re doing our part to be good citizens. I give myself an A+ in social distancing and hand washing so far ,but a D- in face touching. Why, why, why, do I need to touch my face so much?
My sincere hope is that when I sit down to write next month there will at least be some silver lining to extract from this ordeal. I’ve already witnessed truly generous and humane gestures and I hope that carries us all through. I cannot wait to get back to writing about the funny and/or tedious details of whatever a particular month may bring our way. What a luxury that will be! Until then, let’s lean on each other (figuratively) and lift each other up as best we can. Hang in there, folks, and be well.
Tim Sullivan grew up in a large family in the Northeast and now lives with his small family in Oakhurst. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.