Locked Out

I don’t change my pants daily. Per washing, their daily use usually runs somewhere between 2-3 days. The pair I had been wearing fell into the two-day pattern, on account of the slightly warmer days and the predictable sweat that follows. Additionally, the pair in question has, within the past few weeks, developed a strange stretch quality which inhibits me from passing the 3-day mark in any case. By day two, they’re about 4 times too big for my waist and exude a bagginess in the lower leg which hasn’t been fashionable since 1991. Friday morning, they were snug and wearable. Saturday morning, still doable but getting a bit lazy. Sunday morning, if not for a belt, I would’ve been pants-less.

So when I came home this morning and finished the normal coffee-read-shower routine, the pants were thrown on my bed, where they awaited the subsequent trip into the laundry basket within my closet. But while getting dressed in new pants, I was contacted by my friends and told to meet them soon in a neighboring town some 12 miles and 30 minutes away (by Sunday mall traffic standards.) Quickly, I gathered my belongings and did my best to get the hell out of my house as fast as possible. The two-day pants stayed on my unmade bed, shielding the pocket contents of keys, wallet and Burt’s Bees Lip Balm from my absent-minded, hellbent on beating Rt. 1 mall traffic mind. I shut my bedroom door, grabbed my bike in the hallway, and headed downstairs. I closed the back door behind me, locking it and walked to my car in the parking lot, reaching in my Day-1 pants to find no keys, no wallet and had I bothered checking at that point, no lip balm.

There I sat in the parking lot, stunned by the fact that it had been years since I locked myself out of anywhere, wondering what to do. No one else was home, the door was locked behind me, and I had places to be. There was a time when getting locked out at home was a much more common occurrence, but that dates back to sixth grade, when I was first awarded with the responsibility of owning a key to the house in which I lived. Since it was a new attribute to my life, and one that was entirely strange to me, I left it home almost daily. After school, I’d arrive to an empty house and no way to get inside, which was circumvented by the spoon I carried with me daily (for yogurt at lunch), and a faulty window latch in the garage. Somehow, at that point in my life, being equipped with a spoon made much more sense than being equipped with a key to my house. So almost daily, I’d wedge my spoon into the garage window, pry the latch open and climb in.

But that was twenty years ago. I’ve long since giving up carrying a spoon around with me, and the window to my bedroom is now 30 feet higher than it once was.

Luckily, I’m still slightly resourceful. There was a wheel barrow, two air conditioners and a lazy window latch a floor below my bedroom, my keys, my wallet and my lip balm. I positioned the wheel barrow against the house so that the handles were pointing upwards, wedging it in the corner and hoping that it could hold 150 or so pounds. I stepped up onto it, balancing with one foot on the edge of the handle, mimicking the crane technique seen in The Karate Kid, and reached upward for the first house-borne air conditioner. It was stable, and I pulled myself off of the wheel barrow and onto the first floor of the house, hoping the neighbors weren’t wondering what the hell was going on. I walked across the first floor roof, to the point at the second floor where yet another house-borne air conditioner was positioned. I held steadfast to the gutter over my head and pulled myself onto the top of the air conditioner, which enabled me to climb onto the second floor of the house. At this point, the only thought in my head was, “I hope that window latch is feeling lazy right about now,” as I walked around the second floor’s roof to the side of the house where the window was positioned. I pushed forward on it, feeling some resistance, then rocked it back and forth til it gave. Luckily, it did, and opened up onto the stairway which pointed upwards towards my bedroom, keys, wallet and lip balm. I crawled in the window, closed it behind me, and walked upstairs, finding my pants on the bed.

I retrieved my keys, wallet and lip balm from the pants in question, then threw them into the laundry bin in my closet. On the way out, I stopped in the kitchen, grabbed a spoon which I had stolen from Panera Bread Co. a few weeks before, and walked back outside to my car. I put the spoon in my glove compartment, and got caught in Rt. 1 mall traffic on the way to meet my friends.

The pants in question are currently in the dryer. The keys, wallet and lip balm in question are currently on a chair next to my bed. The spoon in question currently calls my glove compartment home, but serves as a reminder of the person I once was, the haphazard way in which I’ve always taken the long road around simple prospects in life, and the fact that I can still climb pretty good. Plus it just seems like I’ve always gotten more of out of spoons in life than keys.

All that from a pair of pants that get too baggy after two days….

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