This was one of my absolute favourite things to do when I was a kid. I just loved it. All my friends did. And it didn’t matter whose house we were at, or which residential roofers did the roof, we always found a good way to divide up the property in two pretty fair halves. Sometimes, depending on the house were were at, we would even include the whole neighbourhood, and then then garage of the house would be the jail. My family had (well, still has) a great property for it. Our house is out in a forest, and there’s tons of great hiding places in behind and under trees, and you can crouch behind the deck and basically disappear from the view of those on the other side of the deck. It was great.
Of course now that I’m an adult (well, nominally), I wouldn’t crawl into half the places I crawled into when I was a kid. Not just because I’d have a hard time fitting into those places, but because, well, they’re filthy and full of bugs. Call me prissy and high-maintenance, whatever, there’s just no way you’d find me hidden under a bunch of low-hanging pine trees in the wet leaves these days. And it’s not that I didn’t dislike bugs when I was a kid. I didn’t like them at all. But for some reason, when it was dark, and I couldn’t see the bugs, and I was all riled up playing the game, it’s like they didn’t even exist.
Now, of course, all I think about when I think about wet leaves and bushes is dear ticks, and then my mind goes directly to lyme disease, so I now won’t even walk through underbrush. DO I get flack for this attitude? Yes, I do. People tell me I’m paranoid, and that I’m missing out on opportunities like hiking and camping and stuff. Well, maybe. But tough bananas. It’s not happening.
And I think about all the trees we climbed when we were playing, and all I think about are cicadas and spiders and ants all sorts of horrible beetles. And then you’re stuck up there with them. Can you imagine climbing a tree, hiding there to avoid getting caught, and then seeing a spider a foot from your face and not even being able to run away from it? Because you have to make your way carefully down the tree? No thank you. I’ll stay on the ground, where at least I can bolt if I see something nasty.
It does make me sad, to think that I’ll never be as into this game as I once was, thanks to my more mature understanding of all the nasty things that are hiding out there in nature, waiting to get me (or really, just to be seen by me, which is, as far as I’m concerned, almost as bad). But I find other ways to have fun outside with my friends, whether it’s some beer around a campfire or a walk through a local (well-groomed) park. I may not love the creepy-crawlies, but I sure do love the sunshine, and I won’t have that taken from me.