IN my days as a parent I've never really had time to think about what life would be like if I'd never had kids.
Oh sure, I've had those parenting moments where you're driving down some beautiful mountain pass with two screaming kids in the back seat and for a couple of milliseconds you consider driving straight off a beautiful mountain cliff. That's normal. But of course that wouldn't take you back to the way things were because you'd be dead too - all that would happen then is you'd get to listen to your kids in the lineup outside heaven's gates whining about how long St. Peter is taking to check everyone in.
"Daaaddyyy, how much longer? Why can't we watch Barney? This harp music sucks."
And if you pull a stunt like that you probably won't make it past the gates yourself, yanked from your family down into the fiery pits where ironically it'll be you watching Barney - 4,000 shows a day.
Normally, though, parents are so busy cleaning up spit and secretly judging other parents - I see you, sideways-hat dad, letting your kid skateboard without a helmet - that they don't have time to reminisce about those pre-baby days.
This week I've gotten the chance to do just that. The rest of the family packed up for a spur-of-the-moment trip to Alberta to visit the in-laws, leaving me home alone. It's been. .. peaceful.
The first few days were spent dropping all of the house rules that I've been brainwashed to follow. Adios, vegetables. So long, pants. Welcome back, televised sports on all day. Great to see you, farts at the table.
It feels liberating to drop the baby-proof hysteria for a while, to be able to leave all my favourite whiskeys and crossbows just lying around. The brainwashing is strong though. I realize that right now, as I type this, the toilet seat is down. I put it there. What have I become? After un-baby proofing the house it was time to reexperience life unburdened by diapers and love. I'm not, however, some punk kid content any longer to fill my life with video games, Trailer Park Boys and pizza boxes. I knew I needed to do something constructive with my precious free time, make a mark as a grown-up man ready to finally share my talents beyond my tight little family circle.
Maybe I'd get some wood and nails and build some furniture. Maybe I'd find some homeless people and give them some snacks. Maybe I'd write a play about a socially conscious polar bear that loses the desire to kill and moves to Vancouver to become a vegan. He'd settle down with a quirky barista girlfriend and everything would go well until he has a horrible relapse one day at hot yoga.
I was going to do all of those things, but then I signed up for a one-month trial of Netflix. Everyone who already has a Netflix account is thinking two things right now.
No. 1: "What took you so long to get Netflix, you weird newspaper nerd."
No. 2: "I guarantee that you didn't write that play or feed those homeless people."
Well, you're right. The polar bear never had a chance.
He was cling-wrapped to a cold table and chopped into pieces by a mild-byday, wild-by-night crime lab analyst named Dexter. He was dissolved in a Tupperware bin full of acid by a mild-byday, wild-by night chemistry teacher named Walter White. He went for drinks with a mild-by-day, wild-by-night 1960s ad man named Donald Draper and, well, I'm sure they'll be home from the bar sometime soon.
I did manage to pry myself away from Netflix long enough to join all my friends I never see anymore at a party that was held at a Hastings Street venue that seemed to contain a lot of Hastings Street pharmaceuticals. Listening to my single friends describe, in quite a bit of detail, what girls from the various dating websites will and will not do on a first date was, I must admit, pretty interesting for a married man such as myself. I would never have guessed that this town was so full of young Russian gymnasts.
Frequent readers of my column will guess that we're getting to the part where I get all sappy and say that my short visit to bachelor town was nice, but I learned along the way what I want most in the world is to have my loving family by my side.
It is true - on the night of the big party I wished my wife was there with me. When everyone else has someone to squeeze at the end of the show it's a drag to be left with nothing to hold on to but a few last drops of warm beer. And the next morning I missed the cute singing of my little boy that normally wakes me up every day. Actually, the next morning was a little fuzzy, but I certainly missed the singing by lunchtime. Or maybe mid-afternoon. Evening at the latest. OK, tomorrow.
Yes, I miss them. But these few days have really been nice and relaxing, so here's what I propose: maybe I can have one weekend all to myself every month, just to recharge the batteries. Will that work? Anyone? Hello? Ah hell, it's not happening. Maybe in 18 years. My family is due back this weekend, so I've got precious few hours left and I need to make the most of them.
Hey Netflix, have you heard of these Trailer Park fellows? email@example.com
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