Posted on April 10, 2019
Dispatches from the rusted garbage washing machine stuck in the stream
When I was growing up we used to ride our bikes around the neighbourhood and get into wholesome mischief like daring each other to climb inside a rusty old washing machine that was dangling precariously on its side in a stream. Or forcing each other to hold onto the metal swing gate and then slamming it as hard as we could to try to cause each other to fall backwards onto the concrete. We would head home only when it was dark and parents started half-heartedly yelling to get your ass inside.
I spend a great deal of my parenting time telling my children they don’t need me to jump on the trampoline with them. I am unsure if my son would be able to make it to the mailbox and back without getting lost at an age where I once followed through on a dare that involved climbing through the window of a house on the corner that we were sure was haunted and stealing a fridge magnet to show that I did indeed step inside the witch house.
I’m not sure what all of this means because I’m hopeful my children will not break and enter at six but ideally I’d be able to work without hearing MUM MUM MUM MUM MAMA MAMA MAMA MUMMY MUMMY MAAAAM MAMA 80,000 times a day.
I made you a pebble pit. Do you know what we called a pebble pit growing up? Nothing. Because we just went outside and played in the garbage stream and we were happy when we found old Penthouse magazines stuffed in the old garbage Washing Machine.
My son wants his own YouTube channel. I spend a great deal of time explaining that YouTube is an evil corporation but he doesn’t care. He just wants to talk about bugs on his TV show All About Bugs With Eddie. He practices in his room and says “Subscribe and like” and I think about the time my neighbour and I dug a hole under the fence so that we wouldn’t have to climb it to see each other. I’m not nostalgic for the good old days – The whole purpose of the hole was so we could go under his house undetected from his parents who were overprotective and show each other our bits and plan missions to steal stuff from the dairy so I mean bugs are a wholesome choice.
I have relented and compromised because it’s important to him and he now has a small Instagram account – locked and closed. For fashion and bug facts. Small enough that I’ll still get grief for it from other parents but it means he spends the day outside collecting and housing bugs while wearing a ball gown. Relentless commentary the whole day through
Too bad the local stream has been cleaned up. Not a rusty, old, death trap washing machine in sight. He feeds the eels sausages and it still feels like an idyllic childhood. The kind I’d like and subscribe to anyway.