Friday, October 17, 2014

"Hanging By A Thread"

When I was working, there was a surfeit of drama in my life (hoping that “surfeit” means an overwhelming amount.)  Even so, there were times when I imagined even more. 

“What’s more than a ‘surfeit’?”

I have no idea.

Once, years ago, on a Sunday evening, I decided to walk to the ocean from my West Los Angeles apartment, along a boulevarded street called San Vicente, a walk of approximately two miles – each way – in distance.  (This may be the definition of having “a lot of time on my hands.”)

When I got to the Pacific, having no particular reason to be there, I immediately turned around and I started back home.  Only to discover, on my return journey that I had walked too far for my abilities, and I was now entirely out of gas.  And not halfway back either.  I was, like, two blocks from the ocean.  And I was barely able to proceed.

Suddenly, I found myself thrust into a drama.  A “Desert Drama”, to be exact.  I now imagined myself trudging – every step an effort – uphill in the endless Sahara – alone, lost, exhausted and entirely out of water. 

Except that I was actually walking on a sidewalk beside a busy street, and there were cars passing by.  In a way, this reality, made things even worse.  People could see me.  But they did not know what I was going through.  (Dangerously sunburned, with a mouth full of sand.)

I was not sure I could make it.  It was Sunday.  No buses on San Vicente.  And you do not hail cabs in Los Angeles.  They just hide somewhere until they’re dispatched.

The situation seemed hopeless.  (Although I did purchase an ice cream at the half-way point in my desperate journey, which I mention in parentheses, so as not to undermine the scenario.  Besides, when I continued my trek, I could still barely move.  I just had some “Pistachio” in me, that’s all.)

Spoiler Alert:  I made it.  (Which you already know because I am writing this.  So you can forget about looking for my ‘remains’ on San Vicente, which, for some reason is pronounced, “San Vicenny.”)


But first…

I do not trust… drawstring pants.  (Which, without mentioning it, includes drawstring shorts.)

For me to feel entirely secure, I need to have the strings that you pull tight and tie in a bow, plus an additional elastic waistband.  Otherwise, I have little to no faith that those drawstrings will stay up.

An unfounded paranoia? 

Not so fast.

I am entering our kitchen, wearing drawstring shorts.  Our magnificent housekeeper Connie (of more than thirty years impeccable service) is washing the dishes, her back to my arrival.  Suddenly, I let out a surprised “Oh!”

My drawstring shorts have just dropped to the floor.  (Revealing some colorful boxers beneath.)  This was no gradual, “sliding drop” situation.  The descending drawstrings zipped straight to the hardwood.

I do not know if my exclamation of surprise caused Connie to turn around.  I was too busy retrieving my drawstring shorts and returning them to their appropriate position.  It was admittedly quite a noisy “Oh!”  But when I looked back, she was still washing the dishes. 

My guess is she saw.  But, to allow things to remain comfortable, she simply turned back to the sink and pretended she didn’t.  I think, is what happened.

Anyway, the next morning, I am preparing for my Wednesday mile or so walk to Groundwork for some “Venice Blend” coffee and some accompanying exercise. 

For no reason, other than to inject some deliberate drama into my life,

I determine to wear those same drawstring shorts.  Outside.  Risking their falling down – as they once already had – but this time, in public.

I know.  I’m a daredevil.

I am determined to take all precautions.  To conscientiously lighten the load, I take a single five-dollar bill – for payment at Groundwork – instead of my entire wallet.  And instead of three keys and a keychain, I slip the house key alone off of the chain, and I insert it into my pocket.  I consider a single sheet of Kleenex in case of a sneeze, but I decide not to chance it.  Don’t want to weigh down the drawstrings.

I depart the house.  Concerned, but inwardly excited.  And justifiably so.  I am leaving with loose pants.

As I proceed, like a gunslinger practicing his fast draw, I simulate a series of lightning-quick moves towards my midsection, hoping to manually intervene at the first sign of a problem.  Lord knows what the people passing me on the street were thinking.  But I didn’t care.  I wanted to be ready.  To avoid embarrassment and a possible uncomfortable visit from an L.A.-based SVU unit, the “U”, in this case, standing for underpants.

I find myself behind a man walking his poodle.  You know how they say that animals can anticipate natural disasters, like an earthquake.  Well, this poodle kept turning around and staring at me, as if the dog were somehow prescient and it could already visualize the drawstrings around my ankles.

The poodle gives me the creeps.  So I cross to the other side of the street.

I make it to Groundwork without incident, although I did sense some worrisome “movement” from time to time, leading me to preemptively adjust my gait – slower, and with my legs pressed closer together, so, should an “accident” occur, I can clamp them together, intercepting the dropping drawstrings on their way to the ground.

The “return trip” offers a unique difficulty.  I am now holding a cup of coffee.  Leaving me but one hand at my disposal. 

I begin to experience disturbing feelings of “déjà vu.”  It was on the “return trip” that my San Vicente stroll nightmared into a Kalahari Death March.  (From a disaster standpoint, all deserts are the same.)  Perhaps, once again, the big trouble will occur on the way back home.  Still, inexplicably, I momentarily lose focus, composing elements of this blog post rather than staying ever vigilant to the telltale indicators of imminent pants droppage.

Fortunately, however,

I made it. 

I do not know why my pants “went south” in the kitchen but remained securely in place throughout my walk; I had tied the same kind of knot both times.  Not that I wanted my pants to fall down in a public area.  I am not an exhibitionist.  Other, perhaps, than a verbal one.

So why did I do it?  I guess I just needed the excitement. 

Some people turn to bullfighting.

I wear unreliable drawstrings on the street.

1 comment:

Earl Ives said...

Suspenders! Not only will you feel more secure, but you will be the picture of fashion excellence!