We keep seeing the picture of the lone security guard at Warwick Mall during the height of the flooding. But no where – not twitter, facebook, or on the news have I heard just who he was. What I did hear, but didn’t like, was the constant reference to him as “trapped”. That implies he got caught there unintentionally. I don’t believe that for a minute. I believe it was the simple fact that SOMEONE had to stay to guard against looters (which happens in these situations) and to keep the outside world informed of any new occurrences. And I believe one brave man stepped forward and said, “I ain’t afraid of no stinkin’ flood”. Because what I saw in that picture was a man, satisfied with himself and looking out over his domain. Hands in his pockets, feet spread, looking out over all the water, probably enjoying the solitude. I know this because I have such a man in my house – my son.

And I must say, my son was hysterical when he saw it (standing in the same position) and thoroughly agreed with my assessment of the situation.

My son can be frequently seen “assuming the position”. Outside, looking at his new truck. Standing on the deck, looking over the lawn he has just cut. In a crowd of people, alone with his thoughts.

Where he developed this “attitude” is a funny story. The kind of story mother’s love to tell. And children hate having told. But what the heck, he’s hardly likely to read my blog, or admit having done so.

I raised my children as a single parent in Ireland for many years. I was pretty much able to handle any situation. There were a few things that came up, non-kid related, that I had to call in help for. Putting down an injured animal, for example. But kid related, I was good. That is until it came to – peeing.

Like most kids, Tony started with using a potty chair. And as he got a little bigger, he would climb up onto the toilet and precariously balance on the edge in that cute way little kids do. He didn’t show any inclination to use the stool his older sister had built him, so he could stand and pee. But he was very little and it seemed no big deal to me. Until it came to travelling. I did a lot of travelling around the country for one reason or another. One day, as I was driving, Tony announced he had to pee. We were out in the countryside so I pulled over, took Tony out of the car, helped him with his zipper and said, “pee”.  He looked at me like I came from some strange planet, started to pull his pants down to squat, and I yanked him upright. Knowing me, I probably gave him a lecture about this being the ONLY time women had penis envy and he should be taking advantage of being able to stand and pee. I lost the battle of course. The pants came down and got muddy and I had a new goal. Teach the lad to pee.

I did not feel equipped for the job myself so I called my best friend Geoffrey to handle it. Geoffrey is a wonderful, fun, talented, jolly sort of chap. The sun comes out when he is around. There was much hilarity in the bathroom and I could only over hear the occasional snatch of conversation – one half sentence I caught had something to do with “surveying your domain”. But at the end of the session, Tony was all set and good with standing on his stool to pee.

The next morning I found out what “surveying your domain” meant. I’m sitting in the living room having my morning cup of tea when Tony comes toddling down the stairs wearing only his pajama top (the lad has never been fond of clothing), walks to the front door, opens it, big yawn and stretch and looking out over his seven acres of fields, he pees! Every morning until we left  Ireland, it was the same routine. He used the bathroom the rest of the day, and I found Geoffrey’s bit of mischief to be so amusing that I never tried to change it. Then we came to America… We stayed in motels while house hunting and I managed to grab the lad as he was heading to the motel door and explained that was something that had been okay at home but not for public consumption. The morning after we moved into our new home, I heard the back door slam. I raced out to see the lad on the end of our dock peeing out into his new domain – The Gulf of Mexico. Well, I dragged him inside and had a talk. And the morning pee became more traditional. But it was about that time the hands in pocket, feet spread, surveying his domain stance began. So yes, I recognized it quite easily when I saw the guard in the window!

Published by Kate Eileen Shannon

Artist, Crafter, Writer, purveyor of ephemera and bagatelle

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