Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Share And Share Alike

"Share and Share Alike." I think that's the McQueen family motto.

They share nearly everything. This is quite different coming from a family where objects usually had clear ownership. My clothes are my clothes. Jack's clothes are Jack's clothes. But here, Wendy's clothes are Jane's clothes are Robin's clothes. (But then, it's not uncommon for girls to share clothes.)

Growing up, there was a cup kept in the washroom that was for anyone and everyone in the McKay family to drink from. (I don't know why, but water from the bathroom sink is always better than from the kitchen sink. I've heard this from other people. Does anyone else find that to be the case?) At a certain age I became one of those people who got paranoid about sharing drinks, cutlery, etc. for fear of getting a communicable disease. So I stopped drinking out of the family cup in the washroom.

The McKays stopped sharing cups and bottles, etc. many many years ago. Drinking out of a public milk carton is pretty unthinkable in my family. But the McQueens don't seem to mind at all. Actually, we get our milk in bags, so drinking out of the bag is more difficult than getting a new cup out of the cupbaord and using that. But occasionally there is a Soy Milk carton, and two or three drink from that, and I've seen them skip the glass part, and go straight from the carton.

The McQueens share everything, including (at the rist of sounding like a bad commercial) germs.

In the fall of '04, Jane got sick. It seemed to be some kind of mouth infection or something. It was pretty bad. We were all wondering where she got it from. Then eventually Pastor Jack said "I had something like that recently, but not that bad. She must have used my toothbrush, or I must have used hers." I heard that and I was shocked. Sharing toothbrushes! Gross!! When I registered my disgust with the family Pastor Jack informed me of the origins of their familiarity. "It's a camping thing. When you're out there you just take a toothbrush. You don't worry about it." (Camping, for the uninitiated, is not going to a government run camp-ground, renting a site and pitching a tent where hundreds have already done so. That's called 'car-camping'. Not 'camping'. Camping is going out to the middle of nowhere with a canoe, paddling around for a week getting as far away from civilization as possible, and pitching a tent somewhere where no one else may have ever been.) I'm still not sure how this works though. Without proper facilities adequate washing becomes a problem. And if someone does become sick, they're pretty far from medical facilities. You're pretty much up the creek (no pun intended).

Imagine a scenario where Robin contacts a viral infection the day before leaving. The flu can stay in incubation for a day or two. So Robin feels great the day they leave. Perhaps for two days. Then on the third day symptoms start showing.


By now she's shared cups, forks, spoons, and a toothbrush with the whole family. The whole family is infected. The flu will put you out for upwards of a week. Two days into the trip she's not feeling good. Two days after that she's still feeling pretty bad, and the rest of the family is sick.

But I guess that's the point of these camping trips; living on the edge, getting closer as a family, sharing things you normally wouldn't share at home.

But then, I've been more of a car-camping kind of guy. Although I did go camping with a hard-core camper one time and he said I did a good job of it even though I did bring my own toothbrush.

One time Pastor Jack and I were alone at home. The rest of the family, and Craig, went into the city and we stayed home. (He because he had work to do. I because I had work to do, and I didn't feel like supersaturating a car with people.) Pastor Jack and I went to a local Italian restaurant and for dinner. I had the veal. I didn't finish it, so I got it to go. I took the carton, wrote my name on it and stuck it in the fridge. (Not that I thought I needed to put my name on it. Who's gonna open a "doggie bag" from a restaurant that they didn't go to? And furthermore, once they see it's veal, who's gonna eat it?)

I was informed the next night that I almost lost the veal. One of the McQueens had opened it, and was about to chow-down when Pastor Jack saw them and told them it was my left-overs.

Although, having written this post, I must say that the McQueens are pretty good at keeping the sharing within the family. So guests (and borders) don't have to worry too much. They know and understand that they're close with each other, but not everyone wants to be that close. And, McQueens, if you're reading this: It's much appreciated.

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