Day 4. School doors barred. We remain trapped. The natives are restless, and I am tired of their primitive ways.
Three days ago, the voice of Rico Chavez called to announce that schools were closed. I was so naïve. A day off? That sounds great! Why, I’ll take a break from my usual routine and join my natives! Sure, it crossed my mind that being confined could lead to trouble, but I dismissed the thought! It’ll be fun! It’s only a day.
My natives reacted to the news with predictable glee. They shouted and stomped, giggled and sang, whooped and hollered. And why not? Let them play indoors! It’s much too cold out, and even big tykes need to bleed off excess steam. What’s the harm? For a few minutes, I smiled at their tribal merriment.
But it didn’t stop. Their loud, grating celebrating continued until my forced smile could no longer hold. When their antics reached deafening heights, I calmed them with Lilo and Stitch, Monopoly and “food.”
Day 2. Rico called again. I furrowed my brow and approached my natives with caution: “Dangerous roads. No school today,” I said, quickly adding, “You have work! Social studies projects! Math definition books! A philosophy paper.” The natives were not impressed. They sneered at me and sulked off to their rooms, where they grumbled at work. My anxiety levels were increasing: the natives would not be easily distracted for long. Soon, their work would be finished and then what?
Day 3. Rico called to report that busses were unable to start due to extreme temperatures. I shouted at his voice and slammed the phone against the receiver. Twice. Then I called matriarchs of neighboring clans; we shared our frustrations in raw terms (“This blows!). Rumors were starting to surface, tales of mothers running from their homes with good shoes but bad hair, screaming in the streets (“Make them go away!”), pounding on the school doors (“Let them in!”).
We considered moving our natives to a central location and ourselves to a separate location, far away and well stocked with wine. But we wanted a break from our natives, not dead natives, and since they could not be trusted, it could not be done. I faced the day heavy of heart but renewed in spirit.
Day 4. Rico knew better than to call. He left an e-mail message, the sneaky bastard. “State-wide emergency . . . gas shortage . . . no school.” How many hours of Pokemon Monopoly must I endure? How many rounds of, “‘Shut up!’ ‘No, you shut up!’” can I stand?
Cereal bowls and toast crumbs share the breakfast table with the game board, fake money and a Pikachu token; disheveled throws, chip bags and multi-colored plastic cups litter the living room. What have I been doing? I can vaguely recall the days before confinement when I accomplished things. But what? My natives have sucked my brain through my ears and out of my head. Aaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh!