My family just got back from vacation. Or most of us did. My oldest son actually elected not to go this year. That's okay. He's 19, and he had other things he wanted to do. Like staying connected to the Internet because his girlfriend is in Florida, right now, so going off for a week during which he would have no contact with her at all was rather more than he could deal with.
Him staying home was actually convenient for us, too, because he was able to take care of the cat and water the garden, which is now sporting a baby pumpkin.
The night we got back, I asked him, "So how was it?" You know, how was his first stay at home alone. Not only was this his first extended stay at home; this was his first just overnight stay at home alone. Yeah, we don't get out much.
I used to get left alone like that a lot, I suppose. Well, not for anything extended, because my parents didn't ever go off, either, but they would sometimes go down to my grandparents' overnight, and I would stay home. Once I was in high school, I was always busy, so, unless my mom let me know at least a week in advance, I already had something I was doing on Friday afternoon when she would say, "Hey, we're going down to the farm; do you want to come?" That was actually rather frustrating, because I liked my grandparents and the farm.
They went away for an extended trip when I was 17; I don't remember why. It was during the school year, though, so I couldn't go. My mom was worried that I would be scared and made arrangements for me to stay with someone if I got too scared to stay alone at home. Because, yeah, it would have made my mom scared, so she couldn't imagine any way that I could make it for the four or five days they would be gone without hiding in a corner from fear of the boogeyman. Or something. When they got back, she couldn't believe that I had not called my emergency backup number and gone to stay there.
The closest my son has come to being left alone, though, is that sometimes when he gets up in the morning everyone else is already gone. Usually, he doesn't even bother to eat in those situations because, you know, self-feeding and all of that. Honestly, despite buying him some easy to prepare foods (i.e. microwavable), we were a little worried we'd get home to find out that he hadn't eaten for a week. Surprisingly, all of the food was gone.
But, anyway, I asked him, "How was it?"
He said it was fine. He said it was fine except that it was a little dark.
He said the first couple of nights he kept thinking, "It's so dark in here," and he couldn't figure out why. Granted, it's pretty bright outside until, like, 9:00, so it took him a while to notice that it was dark, and that's around the time he generally goes off to his bed with his laptop, anyway, so it wasn't exactly inconveniencing him. But he didn't know why it was dark, not until the third night when he realized...
He hadn't turned on any lights!
He said it was because he's never had to turn on the lights. Meaning, they are always already on, and he's not the guy who turns the lights on, so it took a while for him to realize that they were off.
We had to laugh.
It is, however, a good illustration of how we might not think about things that we don't generally deal with, even common things. Things like turning on the lights. Or using a microwave oven. Or, like me today, trying to download songs onto my daughter's iPod, which I had never done before and couldn't figure out at first. Seriously, I thought those things were supposed to be intuitive or something. I think I should just be able to set the iPod on top of the CD and have the iPod do it.
So that first night that my son finally figured out that he needed to turn the lights on? Well, he went to bed and closed the door to his bedroom, because the boys do that to keep the cat out. The cat likes Lego. To eat. Their room is like a big buffet, so they have to keep the door closed all the time. Anyway, my son went to bed and, while he was lying there, he realized there was light coming in under the door, and he couldn't figure out why there was light because no one else was home, and he started wondering who could have turned on the lights...
Do you see where I'm going with this? He also never turns off the lights, so he hadn't done that, and it took him a moment to realize that he was the one who left the lights on. heh
Really, he's a smart kid. Mostly A's and all of that.
But we still laughed. Again.