06:38:51 pm on
Monday 15 Jul 2024

Bouncy-Bouncy Fun
AJ Robinson

When I was a kid, roughly a thousand years ago, my friends and I just played. Any sort of organised play date was not only unheard of, it was also downright unthinkable. The closest thing to a modern pre-arranged event was a birthday party or sleepover.

Family life is much different now.

These days, especially with COVID, the recreation of children is not merely organised, but also often handled by experts. In the case of my son Damian, he and a friend asked to go to a place called Rebounderz last weekend. It was an experience for them and me.

I heard of Rebounderz but knew nothing of it. We went to one in Orlando, a few years back, as part of a foster care party for many of the children in care. The idea is simple: a bunch of trampolines set up with gobs of padding on the walls and frames to minimize the chance of injury, along with a video arcade, climbing walls and other play areas arranged by age. The place served great pizza, too.

Last weekend Damian asked if he and his friend could go to a Rebounderz. Jo Ann was out of town visiting family, it was a cold day for Florida and we had nothing else planned. First though, I spent the morning working around the house finishing some of our trim work, the baseboards, and Damian cleaned his room.

Yeah, I know, a teenage boy voluntarily cleaning his room. Although it wasn’t cold enough for snow to fall in Hell, Florida was chilly. Maybe that was close enough to allow a miracle to take place. Anyway, once both tasks were completed, we piled into the car and drove to pick him up his friend.

Then came the big question: where was the nearest Rebounderz? Damian didn’t know. His friend didn’t know, either.

It thus fell to me to get out the old Google Map App on my phone and search. As it turned out, there was one about a mile away, and not far from our house! Talk about a major convenience.

I drove there. The place has a sliding scale of prices depending on how long you want your little monsters out of your hair. Can you guess which package I opted for?

I went with unlimited. Once the boys had their wrist bands, they were off, I decided to check the place out.

Rebounderz was nice.

I t's large, clean, and with plenty of fun activities for kids of all ages. There was even a virtual reality game area.

I was sorely tempted to try that one out myself. I elected to head home. The rules were that since the boys had my phone number and they or the staff could call when needed, I could leave.

The house was quite quiet and took care of some writing. I also watched a movie and took a nap; after the work I’d done, I needed it. It was a cold crisp day and a snack of hot chocolate, with a few Christmas cookies was most welcomed.

Then, all too soon, I got the call. It was more than three hours later, yet it seemed like three minutes. Damian sounded tired. He said his friend was so worn out he literally couldn’t bounce any more.

I asked if he’d lost his “bouncy-bounce.” Damian didn’t get the “Daria” reference, but then I didn’t expect that he would. Too obscure.

The drive over was short; I brought home the two weary boys. They had no interest in dinner, they’d bought a pizza and drinks at Rebounderz and were too spent to do anything else.

I ordered in some takeout for myself. We settled down for the night. They had a sleepover at our house and were both in bed early.

I smiled as I sat and ate my pizza. Yeah, I ordered a pizza. That was perhaps the best part of the whole event: the boys ran their little legs off and were completely exhausted. I got a day of peace. They had some fun and I had a quiet night.

We’ll be back.

A win-win all around. We’ll be going to Rebouderz, again, soon, I am sure. We’ll likely buy Damian an annual pass. Maybe one for me, too.

Combining the gimlet-eye of Philip Roth with the precisive mind of Lionel Trilling, AJ Robinson writes about what goes bump in the mind, of 21st century adults. Raised in Boston, with summers on Martha's Vineyard, AJ now lives in Florida. Working, again, as an engineeer, after years out of the field due to 2009 recession and slow recovery, Robinson finds time to write. His liberal, note the small "l," sensibilities often lead to bouts of righteous indignation, well focused and true. His teen vampire adventure novel, "Vampire Vendetta," will publish in 2020. Robinson continues to write books, screenplays and teleplays and keeps hoping for that big break.

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