October 10, 2004
What's in My Pocket?

"Could you go get some cat food for the cats and some chicken nuggets for Olivia?"

From such innocent beginnings is the first link in a chain of Unintended Consequences formed. Sometimes you leave quickly and arrive only to find lint in your pockets. Sometimes you find old receipts. Sometimes, well, sometimes you find a whole lot more.

Ok, so this weekend was in-law weekend. Our "Queen Mother" (a.k.a. Ellen's mom) visited us, what, maybe once a year for the first seven years we were together, but add a grandchild (no, no, you see, you have it wrong, she's not our child, she's my grandchild) and you can almost set the calendar by the monthly visits. 16 months, 16 visits. And counting.

Now, I'll say up front that I get along pretty well with my in-laws. They certainly go the extra mile, as demonstrated by their helping my wife rip out the "think-of-it-as-really-weird-cat-litter" carpet (excuse me... "carpet") in our bottom-floor room. I put "carpet" in quotes because after two years of neurotic incontinent cats what was on the first floor was not a covering but was instead experimental proof that cat urine can in fact dissolve artificial fiber if "treated" often enough.

But, however grateful we are to our in-laws, it does not mean they create a stress-free environment. Which is why, even though we were happy to have a first floor room that was no longer actively attempting to peel the paint off the walls of the entire house, we were still just as happy to be doing the "Beverly Hillbillies" impersonation on our driveway. "Y'all come back now, ya hear?" Only, you know, whispered, in case they turn around.

So, it was time to relax. Being a guy, and therefore a rather simple creature, I decided the very best way to relax was to, well, have a little, rrm... "fun". Now, after nearly ten years of living with this particular member of the opposite species sex, I knew the best way to have "fun" was not to just hop down the stairs naked with a tragically placed towel... "look honey! I can lift weights!" is not a real impressive entrance when the reaction is a near epileptic siezure of laughter. No, instead one must be surprising, well-timed (after Olivia is down for a nap), and well-equipped.

Which was where the pockets came in. Guy shorts are great... since we don't really care what the hell we look like in them (we like lumpy), they can be far more utilitarian than their female "must curve here, must flatten here, must shape there" variety. In other words, without much effort I was able to stash an entire kit's worth of... "aides"... in my pockets. Including the one that didn't need a pocket, ya know.

Of course, as with all carefully-contrived male plans for intimacy, this one foundered on the rocks of female reality. "I'm so glad they helped us, but I'm so glad they're gone. My head feels like it's going to unscrew from my neck." Ok, note to the guys: allergy season + a visit from the 'rents = zero action. Zero. So there I sat on the couch, pockets stuffed full of carefully garnered "assistants", and no reason to use them. Must be what it feels like to get stood up at the prom.

In truth, though, it wasn't that much of a loss. The Giants had just scored against the Cowboys, and I was secretly jonesing for a way to get back at Ron, whose dedication to "America's Team" makes bin Laden's dedication to Islam look like a mere flirtation. Sure, it would be en-absentia, but he laughed at Our Redskins after their fourth turnover, in front of Us, and that Just Will not Do. Ok, only football fans will understand the whole "mojo-by-proxy" thing, but the point is being turned down at this juncture was both understandable and acceptable. Forgettable, even. Which is where it all sort of went, well, wrong.

"Could you go get some cat food for the cats and some chicken nuggets for Olivia?"

Two hours later. Not even being all husbandly by putting up the flag mount on the side of the garage was enough to make a difference in my chances (to unmarried people: having a spouse do something for their significant other without prompting is actually considered a valid form a foreplay. Trust me, this frightens us as much as it does you.) But hey, dealing with a hundred-odd square feet of petrified-cat-piss-cum-carpeting has gotta be worth something. "No problem." I said, and meant it. Check keys, check pockets, hop in the car and off we go.

It was only as I stood in the checkout lane that I realized something... one of the "assistants" I had carefully sequestered in my pockets was a very close analog, in both weight and shape, to my wallet. Which was sitting on the kitchen counter at home. With all my money and credit cards. I'd come all that way and spent all that time only to find my pockets stuffed full of misdemeanor sexual harassment objects. Something told me pulling out a bunch of, ahem... "toys", while rooting for a wallet that probably wasn't there would not impress the checkout lady. Who, let me say, was definitely not worth getting handcuffed for.

So back went the nuggets, back went the cat food, and back went I to the homestead. Ellen, as per norm, was on the phone when I got home, so all I could do was give a sour look, flourish the wallet, and head back out. It was only on my second return that I got the classic "what the hell was that all about?" greeting.

"Go look downstairs and look at the bookshelf by the door. That's what was in my pockets when I left. That's why I forgot my wallet."

*Tromp* *Tromp* *Tromp* [pause] "BUWAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHA!"

But I had the last laugh...

"Where'd you find those?" she asked through the tears, "I've been looking for them for weeks!"

"Why???" I asked in a well-learned drawn out sing-song, as one who had not been invited on that particular Easter-egg hunt.

You see, sometimes you score by running the ball into the end-zone. Sometimes you score by surprising her with wine and candles. When you're married though, sometimes you score on your own private points system...

In a very small voice, with averted eyes and a covered mouth, "umm... no reason..."

Posted by scott at October 10, 2004 06:51 PM

eMail this entry!

Definately brings new meaning to the phrase "is that a rocket in your pocket?"


Posted by: carrie on October 11, 2004 02:02 PM

at least one of the assistants didn't accidentally 'activate'/'leak' all by itself. that would've been much more amusing...

Posted by: ron on October 11, 2004 04:53 PM

i hope mom got a chance to read this one.

Posted by: nina on October 15, 2004 12:40 AM
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