Thursday, July 1, 2010

What's that sound... is it... the future?

"Dad, something's in the Bathroom!"

"What is it, son?"

"I don't know, we heard gurgling and what sound like foot steps in the tub in our bathroom!!"

"Did you see what it was?"

"No, we locked it in the bathroom."

I had the unenviable responsibility of having my three sons home alone yesterday since neither their grandma nor their community babysitter was available to watch them. Now, as the single Dad quandary goes, I could stay home but the boys convinced me they were mature and responsible enough be alone for the majority of the day while I was at work (their teen-age sister, normally in charge, is away with some of the other grandparents this week). So I took a shot. I figured at best, I am 10 minutes from home, and they are 12-10-10 respectively. Should be cool, right? Right. Then I get this somewhat unhinged phone call...

"Did you see whatever it was?" I ask my oldest son.

"No," he says "... but Antonio [younger brother] thinks we can take him!"

Now, living in Arizona, we have an array of weird and potentially dangerous wildlife that we commonly have to contend with; Scorpions, black widows, giant beetles and other insects and we are not beyond the occasional water rat or sewer roach as they try to escape the the boiling waterways of the Phoenix plumbing network while it reaches a common 111 degree average in June. Still, an insect has to be pretty big make audible sounds in a bath tub.

Sometime later when I arrive home I get an update. "Hi Dad" all three are calmly watching Nickelodeon. "Well?" I ask, having been consumed with this issue the better part of the afternoon. They just shrugged their shoulders. I storm off down the hallway to confront the desert summer terror, all three boys gingerly following me.

I look over my shoulder "I'm going in!" as I open the door and charge into the pitch-black bathroom (no windows). The boys laugh a nervous little laugh. I pop on the lights, expecting a rather ghastly, beast-like terror to snarl at me, readying myself for a battle royale with a sure-nuff hulking monstrosity. Psycho-style, I approach the closed shower curtain. I turn watching three wide-eyed boys staring in morbid fascination as Dad is clearly about to be torn asunder in a loosing death duel with the deadly dragon-beast from Rigel-9. With a giant gulp, I yank back the curtain and... well... nothing. There's nothing there. As I glanced back at the boys, their look was priceless. Like opening Al Capone's secret stash, I felt like Geraldo Rivera... nothing to show for all this build up. "Dad check the toilet!" One them shouts. I spin and throw open the newest gateway to a terrifying new dimension of pain and suffering... nothing. Again.

The gurgling, apparently, was the common throat-clearing of common pipes. It happens all the time. The rest? Was the vivid imaginations of three boys who are clearly their father's sons; watching waaay too much science-fiction and horror TV. I couldn't help but smile. "I think we're gonna be ok..." being myself mildly relieved. A good imagination can go a long way. Living in quite terror of something potentially lurking in the bathroom down the hall is something every child has wrestled with.

A vivid imagination is the good stuff of life. The forefathers needed it to envision our nation. All faith is predicated on our ability to believe in things not seen. Movies, television, web sites, newspaper, fiction writing, architecture, computer programming among hundreds of other vocations all require us to use that most powerful of soft muscles between the ears. There is hope yet for the next generation. The thought a random gurgling sound in a bathroom might be a Wampa snow beast from Hoth mysteriously able to appear through a water pipe randomly into my home in Phoenix Arizona, well I have no problem letting my smile take a up a little more facial real estate.

1 comment:

  1. heheheheh - I think it was in my bathroom last night. My cats proceeded to organize into an (armed and dangerous) posse and assault the bathroom. We humans stood aside and let the predators do their work. And we too found nothing. Maybe.... it's..... INVISIBLE!

    --- Marshall