Hiding Spot Survey Conducted
House has exactly ten hiding spots, most well-known; engineers struggle to add new hide and seek capacity
While I’m on the topic of games, I would be remiss if I did not mention the multiple daily games of hide-and-seek played in our household; in fact, it is shocking that I have not yet discussed this most important form of quarantine entertainment. Kina seldom goes more than two hours without playing hide-and-seek—which, if you saw the size of our apartment, might prompt you to ask, “but how could you find enough hiding spaces to make the game fun after a full year in the same five rooms?” Reader, I ask myself that question every single day.
There are exactly ten hiding spaces in our apartment, which I will share with you as long as you promise to keep them to yourselves. They are:
Behind the puffy coats hanging on the door in our entryway
Underneath the table in the living room
Behind the chair in the living room
Behind Kina’s bedroom door
Behind the curtain in the corner of Kina’s room
Behind our bedroom door
At the foot of our bed
Hiding under the blanket in our bed
Standing on the stepstool in front of the mirror in our bathroom
In the shower
Every member of this household has hidden in every one of these ten hiding spaces, dozens of times each over the last year. The list is so predictable that Kina has a defined “finding route” that takes her from one spot to the next. There is really no point in asking “Where could Daddy possibly be?” and yet that is exactly the sentiment Kina embodies in the few seconds after counting to ten. That she somehow continues to find some thrill of discovery in finding me curled up in a ball at the foot of my bed—rather than on my tiptoes behind my door—is one of the great mysteries and pleasures of this pandemic.
My newest tactic is to use multiple hiding spots during a game, moving furtively to a spot she’s already checked while she’s examining a different room, which definitely makes the game more interesting. There are times, however, when she is legitimately unsettled to discover me behind the coats, having only recently cleared that hiding spot; it is not readily apparent to me that she enjoys this additional level of sophistication, but I swear to god I can only pretend to be sneaky so many times. Sometimes, you must be actually sneaky.
In recent months, Kina’s preference for being the seeker has grown, which means she is seldom sought. There is no rational reason for this, since she is so much smaller than I am—our house has at least six extra hiding spots* for a person of diminished stature, which would make the game so much more interesting. When she does hide, she often takes the opportunity to build a little workspace in her hidey hole so that she can be both comfortable and concealed. I remember reading something years ago about how human beings evaluate a landscape to decide where to live; we instinctively seek out spaces where we can be hidden from view and still have an unobstructed view of others.** There are reasons, in other words, that we love caves and keyholes. True aficionados of the game of hide-and-seek can all agree that the greatest pleasure of the sport is watching the seeker wander around, perplexed, as they attempt in vain to find you; Kina has definitely taken this to the next level, routinely setting up a comfy little duck blind underneath our table, from which she can watch me wandering around like mystified toddler.
Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to own a home with enough rooms and nooks to make hide-and-seek a more substantial challenge. Could I go hours without being found? Imagine all the reading I could do! Still, I like our little ten-spot hiding landscape; there is great joy to be had in being so easily found, at finding, at leaping out at your seeker in the brief moment before she finds you, seeing her rapturous shock at being surprised, even as she knew you were there all along.
* I will not reveal the extra six spots to you, in case you someday have the opportunity to play hide-and-seek with Kina. It’s only fair you discover them on your own.
** I have now spent twenty minutes trying to find the anthropological term for this. If you know it, please remind me so that I will not shut up about it at the very first party I go to after this pandemic has run its course.