Batchin’ it: A week of the unwifed life
Published Friday, June 22, 2012
By Bob Buckel
When I was about 10 years old, my mother and sister went to Alabama to see kinfolks. Dad couldn’t get off, so I stayed behind with him, and learned a new term.
It meant we were bachelors, although technically, he was still married. But for that week at least, we were both single men, unfettered, unsupervised and uncared for by the female in our lives.
It sounds free, doesn’t it? Just like the term “free as a bird” – when anyone who knows anything about birds knows that they spend virtually every waking hour in a frantic search for something to eat. A bug, a worm, a slow, aging grasshopper – anything.
So yes, with that definition in mind, we were indeed free as birds, hungry as wolves, wild as yard-dogs and, by the time Mom got back, docile as lambs. We were fully aware of how much we needed her, not only to feed us, but to provide a home, a center, a loving and nurturing presence.
Left to his own devices, man isn’t great at any of that.
My wife has been gone this week on a mission trip to Ecuador, leaving me and a teenage son to fend for ourselves – with the extra complication that he is only just now learning to drive, and I work 30 miles from home. Kind and available grandparents just eight miles away have provided God-sent backup transportation (and a couple of meals) and a timely visit by a housekeeper has beaten back the forces of chaos.
But adult supervision is sadly lacking.
Consequently, the TV is always on. I lean toward ballgames, and unfortunately the Rangers had three on the West Coast this week, meaning I could veg on the couch into the wee hours of the morning to see the last out of a one-run game. We watched a few NBA finals games, with all the yelling and commentary our hearts desired, and absolutely no guilt that we weren’t cleaning up the kitchen during time outs.
He likes ballgames, but he has also developed a mild and (I hope) passing addiction to “Cops.” In those sordid drug busts and sad, sorry DWI arrests, he sees America, in spite of everything I can tell him to the contrary (he’s from Africa). The portion of this country that isn’t shirtless and handcuffed is snapping off witty one-liners to fellow physicists in “Big Bang Theory.”
The house is OK. The kitchen will recover. Since she spent the last frenzied weeks packing for herself and our other son, making arrangements, hitting targets on the calendar, there’s even a peace at home now that we hadn’t seen in awhile. It’s quiet.
The hole is in our hearts. There’s a comfort in knowing Mom is there to take care of us, to remind us to floss, to hug us in the morning and kiss us good night three or four times as she thinks of something else she forgot to do and comes back through. To agree to a Scrabble game, then get up and do 15 things between turns, and beat us anyway.
We can’t wait for her to get back. This bachelor life is for the birds.