As an adult I have many childhood memories and, as with anyone, have memories that are both good and bad. But there are also those memories that are almost branded on your brain and still so vividly clear it is as if they happened yesterday.
One such memory for me was of when my sister and I were probably around 12 and 8 and we were playing a game of hide and seek at home one day. My sister had been ‘told’ that it was her turn to seek and it was my turn to hide and so, being the obliging sister that she was, (read:fearful of getting bopped over the head if she so much as protested), we set about the game with my particular choice of hiding spot on this day being my parent’s wardrobe. Now, I can only assume that this was a regular hideout for me as, even though I took the time and energy to bury myself well down the back amongst Mum’s long dresses and well squished in the corner under a pile of shoes, my sister took all of about 3 minutes to find me.
As anyone who has played hide and seek will no doubt agree, one of the best and most necessary parts of this game is the part where, upon being found, you make as much noise and jump out as much as possible just to, I don’t know, add to the moment or (probably more likely in my case), still gain some kind of upper hand by causing the ‘seeker’ to near on sh*t their pants in surprise. Obviously, the desired effect is really only achieved if you are quite well hidden and the ‘seeker’ is having to look that little bit harder for you. Doesn’t work quite so well for those moments when you stand behind the waving curtain with your feet poking out the bottom.
So, picture if you will, my sister opening the wardrobe door and peering in, only to then have her suspicisions confirmed that I was there by my emerging from behind a heap of clothes shouting ‘Raaar’ in my most scariest voice….which was pretty scary to an 8 year old. The consequence of this? Nope, she didn’t sh*t her pants…but, what she did do was to throw the door open so wide that it cracked onto the expensive glass reading light on the wall behind and smash it into a million smitherines all over the floor. Cue; sh*t pants!
So what did we do? Well, we did what every self respecting 12 and 8 year old do faced with a situation of such mammoth proportions of course. We headed straight to our rooms, grabbed our ‘survival kits’ of doonas and favourite stuffed animals from our beds (eat your heart out Bear Grylls) and made a beeline for the bathroom. The sanctuary with a LOCK on the door. And it was here that we decided, once safely locked in, that we may well live out the rest of our days rather than face the wrath of our parents. I think we lasted about 15 minutes before the novelty wore off, we started irritating each other and crossing over each other’s ‘lines’ of space, and smells of dinner being cooked down in the kitchen forced us to acknowledge the reality of how we were going to survive without food. I didn’t say that we had thought this through did I?
Anyway, I think it took about an hour before Dad finally came upstairs for one reason or another and called out for us, only to discover that we had migrated to our new abode. With not much cajoling he managed to talk us out of our ‘bomb shelter’** however, and further coaxed us us to confessing the reason as to why we had had to take such drastic measures…he had seen our survival kits – he knew we were in this for the long haul!! And you know what he did? He laughed and said…’It’s ok! It was just an accident and it’s just a light’! What?! Really?!
So what did I learn from this….well, firstly that a bathroom with only a doona and a stuffed toy for company is not an ideal ‘survival’ plan for anyone, and secondly….sometimes things are very often nowhere near as bad as you think they are going to be!!
*A skill reflected in the fact that I one day spent a good hour under a bed waiting to be found. Admittedly, everyone had given up on me and gone out to play another game but still…they didn’t find me did they?
** For this, be grateful as I may well still be there now if this was not the case….