Lola Rolls
Advice on Life from a Former Sideshow Fat Lady

Don’t Be Like Carol Baskin

Posted By on Tuesday, April 28th, 2020

Dear Lola,

What advice do you have from living in a circus for those of us who are now home bound following “stay at home” orders and are frustrated by the too-close-for-comfort proximity of loved ones in the same house? Our adult sons are home for the foreseeable future, and it’s a juggling act of sharing physical space (let alone Wi-Fi) and the center ring entertainment of Tiger King on Netflix is now just a side show. Where is all this laundry coming from when we aren’t even going anywhere? Can you make it disappear?

–Tempted to Run Off and Join the Circus or Feed a Family Member to a Tiger


Dear Tempted,

Not that it really affects my answer, but I used to travel with a carnival, not a circus. To tell the truth, the whole operation, including the sideshow, was pretty seedy and rundown. The quarters were close, but we, at least, had total freedom of movement.

These are unusual and challenging times. First off, you’re not Carol Baskin, so don’t feed any family members to a tiger. It does seem though that you need a break from having all these people in your space, draining your Wi-Fi. So, take one.

You can set aside a time and area in your living space when and where no one else can come in or talk to you (unless it’s to inform you that the house is on fire) and do something that doesn’t involve screens. That will give your eyes a break, and you won’t waste your period of solitude being annoyed at the internet vampires that surround you.

As for laundry, it sounds like you are washing and drying clothes for other adults as well as for yourself. You could eliminate a big chunk of work by only doing your own laundry and then whittle it down even further by wearing your clothes twice before putting them in the hamper (unless you’re a terribly sweaty person, in which case, ignore this second piece of advice.)

Perhaps you think that if you don’t do the laundry for the other people living in your house, it won’t be done correctly. You’re probably right, but who cares? As you point out, nobody’s going anywhere any way. Left to their own devices, the others will probably make a mess of the laundry space and you will find old sopping clothes in the washer, and exploded pens and lip balm that went through the drier. Thankfully, those aren’t your clothes, so just stuff them in a large plastic sack and leave them on the offender’s bed. In due time, your cohabitants will start doing a better job cleaning their own clothes. Or they won’t and they will have to wear rumpled, stained, damp, smelly garments – none of which is your problem.

I can see from your letter that you’ve got a great sense of humor in the face of adversity, so hang in there and good luck.


Barbara Boehm Miller
Fiction Writer and Creator of the Character, Lola Rolls

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