I'm Kyle. I used to write things here. And then for a while I didn't because I was writing things everywhere else. But today is my wife's birthday and she's been asking me to get back in here and arrange some words, and seeing as how I gave her an alarm clock for her birthday (and by 'gave her an alarm clock' I mean I threw away her working alarm clock and gave her an alarm clock app for her phone and a business card holder to prop it up next to the bed. You are free to write her personally and remind her that she can do SO much better) I thought that the least (pretty much literally) I could do was honor her request.
The truth is, I have a story that's sort of been in the way of me just doing the regular old 'The Kids Peed On Everything' blog entry. It just feels like we need to get this out before we can really move on and today feels like the day. I have a friend who does rock climbing adventure super wilderness camping kind of stuff where you need ropes and gadgetry and willingness to die between Friday and Monday in order to participate. When a simple trip goes completely off the tracks (lightning, bears, dueling banjos) he says 'it turned into an epic'. This, friends, is my epic.
Here's some things you need to know: 1) I do my writing at the University library. 2) Because you cannot park a car within 5000 miles of the University I ride my bike to and from the library. 3) It takes 25 minutes on bike to get to or from the library. 4) If you sell anything 2 for a dollar, I will buy four.
The last one is really where the trouble starts. I went to a 'food' cart and spent two dollars on four, let's just call them edible grenades, which promptly exploded upon contact with my insides. The thing is, I was already feeling a little off after the first two, but having paid for the others I felt compelled to finish them all. Having done so I started looking for a good place to die.
There's a nice big lawn in the center of the University that sits in the shadow of the clock tower. Students gather there to eat, nap, and talk about how hard it is to get up for 10am classes. I found a nice sunny spot in the middle, laid down, and tried to keep my moaning and writhing as inconspicuous as possible. Despite my efforts, I soon noticed a halo developing around me as other students edged away from the guy clutching at the grass and rolling around like housecat on acid.
The thing about these kinds of gut twisting disasters is that as you go through them you repeatedly become convinced you've found a way to cure yourself. Oh, if I just squeeze this leg up toward my shoulder the pain stops! If I PUSH out with my diaphragm while breathing IN I almost feel like I'm not dying! And the most problematic of prescriptions - This is just gas! A gas bubble. That's all. GAS! If I could just pass gas this would all end!
So look, let's not belabor it. You know where this is going. Gas is natural. It takes it's time. You can't force gas. When you force gas, bad things happen. Very bad things. Very bad things happen that suddenly leave you laying in the middle of a very large grass field on a university campus surrounded by cool and happening young people with... well, with shit in your pants.
Obviously, I knew very quickly that I'd made a mistake. But the enormity of my mistake kind of hit me stages. First was the obvious, oh my god, I just crapped in my pants. Second was the, oh my god, I just crapped in my pants in the middle of a crowded field. And third was, oh my god, I just crapped my pants in the middle of a crowded field and I'm a 25 minute BIKE RIDE from clean clothes.
So I started thinking about options. I won't go through them all, because what's important is that I settled on the idea that really I just needed to part company with my underwear and everything was going to be cool. But where do you ditch your underwear in the middle of a college campus (which, let me just point out is not a question you imagine yourself wrestling with when you wake up on a Wednesday morning)? A restroom seemed ideal, but the only ones I knew of were in the library which was more crowded and densely packed than the field, not to mention a long walk away. No, I decided that a dumpster was what was called for.
The field is surrounded by buildings and in the past I'd cut through an alleyway where I remembered seeing a dumpster. I just had to get there and I'd be home free. Now, I don't want to get specific, but let's just say that things felt delicate and precarious down there, like you probably didn't want move very far or very fast or a bad situation was going to get worse. I also wasn't super sure how things LOOKED from the outside so I didn't really just want to stand up and start walking before I had to. So what followed was about a fifteen minute series of scoots and short crab walks designed not to make it look like I was crawling around with crap in my pants, but that I was just really indecisive about where I wanted to sit and kept deciding, that, no, I think I'd be happier if I was just a LITTLE closer to the edge of this field.
Unfortunately, there's not a good way to carry your bag when you're crab walking unless you put it on your stomach, sort of like a moving table with your bag on the top. Further, there were so many people out, I couldn't just get to the edge in a straight line, I had to crab walk AROUND clumps of students. So, you know, imagine eating your lunch with your pals and discussing finals week when a man crab walks toward and around you with his laptop bag on his chest. You probably stare a little bit. He probably smiles as if to say, 'oh, don't mind me, just out for a crab walk. Just seeing what it would feel like to be a moving table.' You probably keep staring, and maybe stop talking to each other and just focus on staring and he probably starts to feel you staring and maybe smiles more and waves some and possibly says "What's up?" because that's how he imagine you young people talk. And you probably mumble and then decide to just get the hell out of there.
So yes, thusly, I reached the edge of the field. Now I just needed to cross a sidewalk, head between two buildings and then turn into the alleyway where the dumpster was going to solve all my problems. As weird as it was to crab walk the field, it felt like it was going to be doubly so on the sidewalk, so I decided that I was just going to have to bite the bullet and walk. I sort of... situated myself in a way that felt like everything would hold together long enough to get to the dumpster, stood up and hung my bag behind me, and walked as fast as I could, but NOT TOO FAST, between the buildings.
I got to the alley, found the dumpster and felt the way I imagine people must feel upon crossing the finish line in ultramarathons. There's joy and relief, but also a bit of righteous indignation directed at no one in particular. 'You thought I couldn't crab walk over to this mother f'ing dumpster? Well F you! I crab walked the shit out that field. I'm at this dumpster you sons of bitches! Take that!'
All of which faded as I began to contemplate the task now at hand. I mean, yes I was at the dumpster, but in order to part with my underwear I was going to need to completely disrobe from the waist down. In an alley. On a college campus. At noon.
At first I thought, no, that's crazy. I can't do that. It's CRAZY. But then I remembered all the work it took to get here, and how much work it would take to get anywhere else, and that my only other option was more walking followed by a LONG bike ride, and suddenly getting naked by the dumpster started to seem really reasonable.
So, here's the thing. It is an alley, but it's also a little bit of a shortcut which is why I'd been down it before. It's not frequently traveled, but it's also not UNTRAVELED. As I contemplated my next move two or three stray people came through with just enough frequency that I felt like once I committed myself I was going to have to get things done FAST to avoid a run in. My theory was, I should wait for a person to pass through, and somehow that would give me the maximum interval to work with before the next person passed through. So I waited and waited and waited, but no one came. And the entire time I was waiting I was calculating how many times I could have already gotten out of my clothes, but also probably have fashioned new ones from things in the dumpster. But every time I reached for my belt and committed to finally going NOW, I was sure someone was just around the corner and I always opted to wait it out.
Finally, a guy came by, seemed to wonder briefly why I was hanging out by the dumpster (I tried to give off a studying vibe, but it didn't seem to take) and then he was gone. So, this was it. It was now or never. I slipped off my shoes. Took a deep breath and undid my belt and then... went for it.
I yanked my pants down and had them off in a flash. And then I pulled off the underwear and... again I don't want to be any more graphic than I have to, so let's just say I was using them to... clean up.
And that's when I heard the GASP.
I turned around and sure enough, there was a very nice young woman, frozen stiff, a horrified look on her face, staring at me naked by a dumpster with my underwear in my hand.
There was a moment where we were both too shocked to say anything, but then I realized that the look on her face was a particular brand of horror. Not just, gee, that's gross, but, OH MY GOD, PERVERT! I felt compelled to explain that, no, no, I'm not a pervert, I'm just a normal adult who ate bad pizza rolls, crapped his pants in a crowded field and crab walked to a dumpster to dispose of his underwear. There's really nothing to be frightened of at all!
But I didn't get out a word before she turned and ran off in the direction she'd come. And I don't know if I've communicated the look on her face properly, but it suddenly felt like she wasn't just running to avert her eyes, but running because she thought this was a situation that demanded attention, a situation that called for pulling one of those little handles on the emergency boxes all over campus and telling the authorities about the naked deviant by the dumpster so they could haul him away and generate headlines like 'Former Lone Star Creator found bottomless by University Dumpster'.
That's when I sort of panicked. I threw the underwear in, and then inexplicably felt like, wait, no, I can't leave those here, they're covered in DNA! They'll test my underwear and they'll know it was me! So I sort of went in after them before I came to my senses and decided to just move a trashbag on top of them (they'd never think to look UNDER a trashbag!). Then I whipped on my pants and I ran as fast as a man going commando in his jeans can run. I got to my bike, unlocked it, and rode away feeling like the entire police department was closing in on me and arrived home in far less than the usual 25 minutes.
When I got out of the shower I faced questions from Amy about my early appearance at home, and was I just not writing well today, and would it help if she took the kids out for a while? And I looked at her as I imagined the helicopters circling overhead and the CSI team testing my underwear in some lab and thought what an amazing person she was and how quickly, and rightly, she would run away if she knew she was married to a man who not only crapped his pants, but would eventually give her an alarm clock APP for her birthday. I am as lucky to have her as she is unlucky to have me.
Thursday, December 16, 2010