Home alone

June 12, 2005

AS WE WALKED up the driveway the other day, we thought about the French philosopher John-Paul Sartre's definition of hell as "other people." Stopping short of the hubbub on the street, we fetched the newspaper off the grass and the mail from the box. The stamps we ordered from the Postal Service Web site were there -- Thank God! -- and so were our latest choices from the mail-order video rental service. There weren't too many bills because, more and more, we pay these online with our credit card. We still get a lot of junk mail for sales and such, but, really, who would want to get in the car and deal with the hassles at the mall?

Lunch was light; the pantry's running a little low. Our weekly delivery from the supermarket, though ordered on time online, was delayed by some sort of public holiday -- which one we're not sure. (They're so hard to keep track of, aren't they? Sometime we'll have to turn the cable set to the news of the world, that is if and when a game's not on.)

The phone rang, but we didn't recognize the name or number on the caller ID screen so we didn't pick it up. (We really didn't feel like talking to anyone anyway, you understand.) The doorbell rang. Oh, geez. Someone's at our door? It turned out to be a neighbor's kid, collecting for some sort of charity. We said we give at work, right from our paycheck, but then it seemed easier to just hand over $5 than stand there and talk all day.

Too much daylight to sit and watch TV or play video games, maybe in an hour or two. Wonder if we got any e-mail? Who's in the chat room? Oh no, it was the door bell again. That lamp we ordered was sitting there; no signature required. It looks just perfect in our home office; you know, the one we use early mornings, nights and on weekends. This was getting tiring, so we retreated to our favorite chair to catch up on the papers. "With home entertainment, no assembly is required," said the front-page headline in a recent Sun. Turns out attendance at movies, concerts, festivals, fairs and historic sites is down. That was interesting, but just the thought of all that was really exhausting and -- oh, gosh -- it was almost bedtime. After all, we have to get our sleep.

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