Gaming

I looked in my son’s closet – Orange County Register


So I did something the other day that I try hard to never do: I entered my son’s bedroom. The doctor has ordered me to avoid stress, so in my world that means staying as far away as possible from the interior of my adult children’s rooms.

They could have entire families living in there. I’d never know. It’s been many years, but at one time my daughter Curly Girl had a box full of tiny kittens she’d found in front of the grocery store hidden in her room, and it took me an embarrassingly long time to realize this. It was only when Buddy the Wonder Dog wouldn’t stop fussing around her door that it occurred to me to look inside. (We won’t go into the time she had a puppy secreted in the garage.)

Some of you may be judging me right now, but others will agree: The best balm for parental mental health is to simply stay out of your kids’ bedrooms, unless the noxious smells become so bad that you must don the hazmat suit and go in.

For reasons I no longer remember, I did have to enter Cheetah Boy’s bedroom recently while he was in there playing video games. There were only four plates of old, crusty dried-on food on his dresser, so I considered that an unusually healthy environment. Then, I looked over at his closet, which is one of those small enclosures that you find in cheap post-World War II tract homes like ours. Kim Kardashian wouldn’t use it to store her shoes. And it rapidly became apparent that telling my son to hang anything up in there was a complete waste of breath, second only to telling him to eat a salad.

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His closet was filled nearly up to the hanger dowel with a massive pile of fabric-like items, some of which appeared to be clothes. The rest could have been the laundry for the entire Guatemalan army, I’m not really sure. But I did immediately recognize some terrycloth items that appeared to be some of my towels that have been missing since 2009.

“Are those towels?” I asked him, forcing him to look up from his PS4 video game.

“Um, maybe,” he admitted.

“Are those the towels that I’ve been missing for over a decade?” I followed up.

“I don’t know,” he said.

Like many of you who are also parents, I could never figure out where my towels went. They just disappeared into the ozone, like smoke from a campfire.

When the kids were younger, I blamed this on swim parties, assuming that they took a towel over to swim at a friend’s house and never brought it home. But nowadays they almost never swim. At age 22, Curly Girl seems allergic to even going near the water, which is inexplicable to me, considering we live near the beach and she used to swim like a fish. When we went to Baja on vacation, she couldn’t immediately even remember whether she owned a bathing suit to wear (although some of the short-shorts she wears out in public could fill the bill).

In the fall, I even ordered a hotel industry pack of eight white bath towels and gave four each to the kids, telling them, “These are your towels now. Don’t use mine.” Well, that lasted about a day. I’m not entirely sure why my son needs three towels per shower, considering he likes to walk around virtually naked the rest of the time, but I can promise you he will never reuse any of them.

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“There’s nothing wrong with that towel, you just used it to dry your clean body,” I’ll argue with him, when I see him throw a towel used once into the laundry bin. “Hang it back up.”

But he never does, and I let it go, because, as I mentioned, I’m trying to avoid stress. And he does his own laundry, so I don’t have to wash it. The problem comes in when he’s out of towels, so he comes into my bathroom and starts to walk out with mine.

In fact, I alert like a drug-sniffing German Shepherd when he even walks past me into my bathroom. “What are you doing in there?” I demand. Occasionally, he’s just looking for an aspirin or a Band-Aid.  But often his intention is to steal my precious hoard of bath towels, and that is a capital offense in this house.

That’s why it was so exciting to discover this unexpected cache of bath towels inside the detritus of Cheetah Boy’s closet.

“You might want to clean that out,” I told him casually as I walked away. Greatly to my surprise, he actually did. And it was an archaeological dig of surprising richness. For reasons that remain unclear to me, two of my missing tablecloths even appeared. “Hey! I’ve been looking for those!” I told him. “Why are they there?” He had no idea.

Now that the towel situation has improved, maybe we can work on the missing socks, scissors and forks. But I’m not holding my breath, especially after I just found a fork in the trash.

Note: I want to remind you that my next Zoom meetup will be at 5 p.m. Friday, Feb. 26. We’ll be spending happy hour talking about travel — my favorite subject. Sign up to join here: scng.com/virtualevents. See you then!

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