If you’re like me, sequestered inside your home, chances are high that privacy is at a premium.

Our bathroom was always a popular hideout, even before the pandemic, boasting its reputation as the “only locking door on site.” But with growing suspicions around national toilet paper hoarding, no one wants to be suspect, even for a flashy half hour.

Outside is a good bet. We are lucky to have a porch— two in fact. We have a front porch and a screened-in back porch. Our cats, who typically enjoy an indoor-outdoor lifestyle, have taken over the screened-in porch now that they must live with the dog under one roof. The cats dominate the vicinity with a kitty litter stench so foul even the racoons balk.

Our own bedrooms would be ideal. Except during the quarantine, our bungalow’s foundation has shifted, rendering our door frames useless. In other words, no one can shut their doors. Bedrooms have returned to their rightful “Sleeping Only” status until further notice.

That leaves the front porch. It’s breezy and neighborly. Except everyone else has the same idea. My neighbor on the right observes everything— especially when I escape outside for a heavy sigh. And the sweet family on my left has installed (as of yesterday) a massive climbing contraption draped between two trees, replacing my view of the birdfeeders with a giant red cobweb from Costco– and a screaming child.

I am sneaky, though. Two years ago, we bought a minivan. It’s possibly the best purchase of my adult life. While everyone thinks I’m “taking a drive,” I’m merely parked around the corner enjoying some Me Time. I’ve got everything I need, actually. Twelve drink holders, leather seats, sunroof, Wi-Fi, a built-in cooler for Topo Chico and leg room for days. All of this is hermetically sealed from the outside world with automatic locks.

Be well. Stay safe. Find your happy spot.


Cate Berry is a children’s book author and mother of two based in Ausitn, Texas.

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