Pocket Monster

This is becoming a real problem for me.

It’s been an issue for quite some time but the events of yesterday afternoon – after work – have shown me that a critical point is approaching and may well have now been passed…

… I have too much stuff in my pockets.

“Gosh, ‘being trivial yet again Ken?” You may well cry but wait. Have you considered how awful a thing it can be to have too much stuff in your pockets? It’s not the additional weight that makes it so bad, nor is it the bulky ruined lines of your clothes. None of the above. No, it’s the fact that you can never find the single bloody thing that you are looking for – that’s the killer.

Let’s just look at what I have in my pockets: Wallet, phone, keys (house), keys (car) USB thingie, loose coins, iPod with long headphone wire, data storage tape, nifty key-ring which my lovely wife gave me with no keys on it (but with a neat coin shaped piece which you can remove and use to free up your Tesco trolley) lottery tickets (unchecked), old sticking plaster (just threw that out) (yuk) and a street map of Dublin where I patently do not live anymore.

You get the idea.

All this stuff is distributed between my trousers and coat pockets and there is little-or-no pattern to where any given item might be found at any given time. Things are made worse because I have a hole in my coat pocket and keys and things can sometimes slip into the depths of the lining too.

On three separate occasions yesterday, the matinee performance which is my life was delayed while I tried to find something in my pockets. All three were bad but the last time took the biscuit. Here’s what happened:

I was leaving work. I had just returned from a meeting and was making a flying visit to the office. The car park adjoining the office allows you to go in and back out of the barriers if you are prompt – the little tickets have about ten minutes grace on them. So I ran in and ran out again… sort of. You see, I glanced at Twitter while I was in and you know how that can be. By the time I got back to the barrier I was dicing with that ten minute deadline and I knew it.

I found my ticket in my pocket (took a while) drove up to the barrier and stuck my ticket in. “Time Limit Exceeded, Please Return to Paystation.” Drat, I muttered, or words to that effect. I turned to reverse back from the barrier.

But, lo, a woman had appeared behind me in an oversized cow-killer of a vehicle and she was hemming me in. I waved at her to back up a bit so I could reverse away. She eventually went back about five and a half inches and gave me one of those sour ‘There, happy now?” looks. I wasn’t happy. I couldn’t reverse out in five and a half inches and if somebody else arrived behind her we were rightly stuck. So I waved some more at her and she backed up some more whilst sporting a face like thunder.

As I reversed back past her I buzzed down my farside window and said, “Sorry about that, my ticket wouldn’t work.” She responded by remaining silent and scowling at me as if I were a piece of dog crud on her shoe, which rather annoyed me.

“Well,” I said, “I hope you are received more kindly when it happens to you some day.” She scowled some more and I reversed back to a parking spot so that I could go and get my ticket authorised.

I realise this is going on a bit, sorry, it’s therapeutic.

I got out of my car, closed the door, and then noticed that the scowling lady was still at the barrier with another car now behind her. She didn’t seem to be able to get out. I smiled to myself and reached for my barrier ticket.

No barrier ticket.

I started the pocket search which had lately become so familiar. No ticket. I piled all the contents of my pockets on the roof of the car one by one – there was so much stuff – no ticket.

The lady was still at the barrier…

Had I left it in the car? I opened the car door to see, panicking now. I am driving a borrowed car for reasons I’d best not go in to here. The door of this car is higher than my own. As I hauled open the door, the sharpish top corner of it caught my chin and cut me there, I could feel blood welling and trickling down my neck. This snapped my temper.

The lady was still at the barrier…

I took a minute out to stomp around clutching chin and swearing the most potent and fervent swear words in my vocabulary and, when I finally calmed down a bit, I saw there was no ticket in the car either. There could now be no doubt – I had left the ticket in the barrier ticket slot when I reversed away and the reason the lady hadn’t gone through the barrier yet was because she was messing with my ticket.

I walked towards her purposefully to see if she had my ticket. She saw me in her wing mirror striding up and the look of unbridled terror on her face stopped me in my tracks. I couldn’t just go up to her having admonished her a few moments ago, I would scare her and I really didn’t want to do that. As I hesitated, the barrier lifted and she sped away, tyres squealing, into the night. Did she have my ticket with her? I will never know.

Back at the car, most of my rooftop pocket stuff had fallen into a puddle on the ground. I now had no ticket to validate and no way of getting one. In despair, I drove up to the barrier again and pressed the alarm button hoping to convince the person on the other end to please just let me go. I never actually had to say a word, perhaps they could see me on CCTV, wet, distraught and bleeding copiously from my chin. The barrier just went up and let me out.

So, today, I’m clearing out my pockets. I need to be able to find things more quickly or at least to know for sure if I’ve lost them.

I need to lighten up.


Rachel Fox said...

It's man-bag time.

hope said...

I've never understood how men can find anything in the clump of stuff in their pockets.

Now I understand. They can't. ;)

Before you admonish me, I'll save you the trouble. Unlike most women with their suitcase sized purses, I may own the world's smallest handbag. I can find anything in it, blindfolded and in the dark. No, I haven't tried it but I know what's in each pocket.

I do, however, feel for you. I often ask my husband if the reason he has back and knee problems isn't from the weight of STUFF I clean out of his trouser pockets before washing. ;)

Here's to a better week for you. Frankly, I was feared you had been kidnapped.

Dominic Rivron said...

I know the feeling. With me it's till receipts. I end up with pockets full of them, as I'm ever sure at the point of sale if I should keep them or throw them away.

I know things are bad when I can't find the fiver I'm sure I had in there somewhere and just pull out wads of... receipts...

Susan at Stony River said...

Of course it wasn't Twitter's fault, not at all. LOL

Martin has pocket issues too and drives me mad with it. I don't drive anymore so he has to drive me to the supermarket, and he being the Man, has all the money. While the till-woman swiftly scans everything and I'm frantically bagging to keep up, he's standing there slackjawed UNTIL the lady tells him the total. He looks at her a full few seconds to snap out of whatever daydream he was in, then fumbles about in his coat pockets.
His inner coat pockets.
His trousers' hip pockets.
His trousers' back pockets.
The useless pockets he never uses down by his knees.
Back up to the coat pockets.
By this time the queue is grumbling and I'm hurling pickle jars at him and screaming obscenities.

Don't even start me on doing his laundry. So see? You are NOT so bad. I'm sure you're not the worst.

Good luck sorting all this btw.

Elisabeth said...

I have never considered the agony of the contents of a man's pockets before, even though I'm married to one. He's careful with his pockets but will only wear shirts that have one pocket for his glasses, which fall out whenever he bends over.

This passage here, Ken, makes for wonderful on the edge of your seat reading however much you apologise for going on about it.

I hope it proved therapeutic in the end. All that blood and angst, seems to me you really needed it,a sort of writing catharsis that is.

Jim Murdoch said...

I used to be like that but not any more. I used to have a man-bag too packed like Batman's utility belt with every conceivable thing I might just need where I was going but I've done away with that. Most of the time these days I'll have a grubby hankie and some small change in my trouser pockets, my keys dangle from a belt loop and that's it.

In my coat I have my gloves in my left pocket, a notebook and pen in the right, my phone and a little plastic container I use for chewing gum (which currently contains a few dragees of Trebor's Extra Strong Gum and one dragee of Wrigley's Airwaves Black Mint Gum) in the top-left pocket, a plastic handle-thing Carrie brought back from the States so your carrier bags don't cut into your fingers in the top-right pocket and my wallet in the inside pocket; the wee pocket with the zip on my right arm is currently empty although I sometimes shove bus tickets in there. You'll also find a couple of grubby hankies in the secret pockets behind the main pockets where I stick my hand to keep them warm if it's not quite cold enough for gloves.

At home I usually have nothing in my pockets at all and have to search through my fleece for a hankie when I need one where there are usually three or four, all exhibiting various degrees of grubbiness.

BTW 'dragee' is a real word. It says so on the side of the packets.

ken armstrong said...

Rachel: :) Trust me, it's really not.

Hope: Sorry to not be as 'around' as I was before. This will change soon enough. Thank you for your constancy - it is always nice to see you here.

Dominic: I keep receipts religiously until I get too many and then I dump them all irreverently. :)

Susan: Oh dear, he should get in gear with the money before you're finished packing... and I'm usually on his side. :)

Elisabeth: Sounds like an ode: "When I consider the agony of a man's pockets..." :)

Jim: Dragee is just a wonderful word. Just when I needed a new one too. Thanks. :)

VetTech said...

I solved my DH's pocket angst by getting him one of those photographers' vests with a bunch of pockets...so he never runs out of pocket room, but the down side is he has to search 23 pockets now every time he loses something. But he always looks like he's going on safari so it evens out.

Reese said...

That's a bad day! I did that once on the New York Thruway...altho the abyss was my car, not my pocket. I ended up having to pay the toll for the whole thruway...which is a pretty long road.
As for the woman in the other car, she deserved to have the snot scared out of her, lol.

Laura Brown said...

You have so many great little adventures. This one even had blood. Maybe next time you could have a side of natural disaster, or a rabid animal, something like that.

I keep my pockets in my purse. I empty that out a few times a year. People often tell how heavy it is. Mostly it is coins, books and napkins which I pick up any time we go out to dinner.

Mike aka Tacoshack27 said...

I know exactly what you're going through, except all tickets and stubs and receipts end up in my wallet. One of these days it needs to get cleaned out.

Great read as always!

Kat Mortensen said...

I can never find anything in my purse, so I don't think the "man-bag" will help.
That reminds me: where did I go with MY USB thingie?

Laura Brown said...

Now I want to write a story and call it Pocket Monster. It may not be for children.

fragileheart said...

I do love me some Ken Writing. What a fascinating telling of a rather mundane, yet extremely frustrating activity. I'm glad you learnt your lesson though... see this is why it's a problem that you guys wear such loose pants...