Reluctant adult packs up to run away from home
Burt's Eye View
How old is too old to run away from home?
I already slapped together peanut butter and strawberry jelly sandwiches. I stashed a few comic books in my knapsack. I pulled the blanket off my bed. I’m ready to go.
Who knew this being an adult stuff was so wearying?
OK, Mom and Dad said so. I thought they were kidding. I suspected they didn’t want us kids to know how incredibly awesome the world was for grownups in complete, total charge of their own lives.
The joke, as usual, was on me. I grew up but control scampered away.
Who knew that being a kid had been so free and easy? OK, Mom and Dad said so. I thought they were kidding.
I never ran away from home when I was a boy. I grew up on a 30-acre farm with fields and trees and a barn and sheds. I could disappear for hours without leaving the property. And I always was close enough to hear Mom holler, “Supper!”
It was a sweet deal.
But even sweeter, I thought then, would be that once I grew up, I could do anything I wanted whenever I wanted.
And I can — as long as it’s not during business hours, doesn’t interfere with Aunt Henrietta’s birthday party, waits until after laundry is folded and the oil’s changed, isn’t on a school night, the church report is finished, and it fits within our budget.
Other than that, there are no restrictions — well, except for the soffit that needs repaired, the doorknob I’ve been meaning to change, my home office that’s been a work in very little progress, and the utilities and card companies that keep sending me bills.
No wonder I want to run away. Home is where my troubles find me.
But those reasons serve only as the overwhelming icing on the proverbial cake. (Note to self: Pack cake in runaway caboodle.)
In an article published by Psychology Today, Julie J. Exline, Ph.D., said the No. 1 reason she wanted to run away from home was people: “As an introvert, I need a lot of time by myself and tend to feel drained quickly by social interactions.”
Exactly! Every time I try to do something important, like watch Bugs Bunny cartoons, people pester me for social interactions.
“I’m not a social interaction; I’m your boss,” one of those pesky interruptions claims. “Now put down the Play-Doh, go to your desk and get back to work.” (Another note to self: Also pack Play-Doh.)
“I’m not a social interaction; I’m your mother,” another bonnet buzzes. “You do remember how to use a telephone, don’t you?” (Next note to self: Leave the phone at home or the boss will find you. Call Mom from a pay phone when you reach Arizona.)
“I’m not a boss, bill collector or a social interaction,” another voice coos. “I’m your wife. You can stop hiding under the bed now.” (Note to… well, you know: Remember to take wife when you run away from home. Also, remember the box springs sit on the floor. Find another hiding place.)
The thing about being a grownup is that life keeps coming faster and faster and hitting harder and harder. No, I don’t want to come out and play, and no, I don’t want to be an adult anymore. So tell me, how old is too old to run away from home?
— Find the runaway at firstname.lastname@example.org or on the Burton W. Cole page on Facebook.