Tuesday, June 28, 2011

I just really like pocket doors, okay?

I’ve had to say that so many times in the past couple days. All because of this story… 

So I was at Christie’s last week, and since we had a lot of errands to run that day, we decided in the morning that I would use her parent’s master bathroom to shower and she would shower in the other bathroom in order to save time. 

Routine procedure. We’d done this before. However, soon everything went wrong.

You see, Christie’s parents’ bathroom is one room with a shower, Jacuzzi tub, and sink, and there’s a smaller toilet room inside with its own pocket door.

And I love pocket doors.

I think it’s cool how they can just disappear into the wall making that cool sliding noise, and have their own special hook-like locks that are different than other locks. I also like how, though the door has handles on the side, to pull it out of the wall you must push on the little hook lock and pull it with your finger to close it. My grandparents had one at their lake home, and I used to play with it all the time. Pocket doors are like little extra walls that are actually doors that appear like Inspector Gadget’s arms. 

I just really like pocket doors, okay?
So after I turned on the shower to let the water warm up, I decided to take a little wee in the tiny toilet room. And of course I closed the pocket door and locked it. After I had flushed, I went to unlatch the pocket door and it was stuck. The little knobbity-switch thing didn’t turn all the way.

It took me only a few seconds to realize the gravity of the situation.

"1. I'm trapped in a 3x5 foot toilet room.

2. I locked the door to the main bathroom.

3. The windows are closed.

4. The shower is on.

5. Christie is showering elsewhere.

6. No one else is home."

The best thing about this situation was that I still had clothes on.

I was trapped in the bathroom.

With the heat in the toilet room rising because of the now steaming shower, I began to use my escape game skills to find a way out. Unfortunately, I found no screwdrivers (escape games always have screwdrivers) or secret compartments opened with a code I found written on the side of a bookshelf. (This reference is only relevant to the ten people in the world who actually play escape games…Sorry, the rest of you.) The only tool-like things available were Christie’s mom’s jewelry, and I considered trying to use some of it to unscrew the screws on the handle, but when I imagined her mom having to call in firemen to break down her bathroom doors with axes to get me out, I was thinking that coming out with a handful of bent and broken jewelry would probably not be the best idea. So I continued thinking. 
[Only the first five seconds of this video are relevant, but for some reason I couldn't help but put it up. Call me adorable.]

And then it came to me. The wall opposite the pocket door faced the main entryway in their house. So I started knocking. And knocking and knocking until Christie’s dog started barking. I felt like Bear Grylls when he sees a boat in the distance from the deserted island he’s stranded on, which means he can board the boat, or you know, be picked up by the Discovery Channel helicopter...either way, the end credits are rolling.

After about fifteen minutes of knocking (during which Christie has admitted to taking a long shower, reading, and cleaning her room because I was taking so long in the “shower”) Christie finally came down to yell at her dog and then realized the bizarre The Tell-Tale Heart-like knocking coming from the other side of the wall.

She knocked back. I sent another knock.


BRIAN: knock knock knock knock knock


BRIAN: Christie! You’ll never guess what happened…


BRIAN: I’m trapped in the little toilet room because the pocket door’s lock is broken.

CHRISTIE: (trying and failing to open the locked bathroom door) BRIAN!! Why did you lock it?

BRIAN: I just really like pocket doors, okay?

CHRISTIE: But the other door’s locked and the windows are closed and the shower’s on.

BRIAN: Thanks, but I have already established that.

CHRISTIE: I don’t know what to do!

BRIAN: Well, are there hinges on your side?


BRIAN: Are there screws on the handle?


BRIAN: Bollocks.

While Christie was trying to unlock the door with a bobby pin, she called her mom (which made me glad I didn’t use her jewelry). Hearing one side of the conversation, I remember Christie saying, “I asked him that too…I guess he just really likes pocket doors.”

Christie’s mom then came home with a family friend/handyman who took a coat hanger and unlocked the bathroom door and then used a screwdriver to unlock the pocket door, revealing me, sweaty, red-faced, and unshowered in the doorway.

I would love to say, “And then I woke up,” but this was no dream, folks. I had been in there for an hour.

That whole time-saving thing that Christie and I had planned was kind of ruined at that point. And I still hadn’t showered.

I just really like pocket doors, okay?

Monday, June 13, 2011

The day I learned that putting up your middle finger means more than simply putting up your middle finger

I’ve started about six different posts all trying to find some funny, light-hearted way to talk about how I feel insecure about the fact that I have recently graduated college with a major in Reconciliation Studies and Art, I’m living at home in La Crosse until I find a job up in the Cities, and all the jobs I thought I wanted two years ago when I set my study program now don’t look so appealing, even though my resume makes me relatively appealing to them.

But I can’t find some funny, light-hearted way to talk about it. So I’m just saying it here to get it off my chest so I can stop planning to write about it.


Now, how about a story?

This is how I learned what the middle finger meant.

For the first eight years of my life, my family lived in a small neighborhood in Rochester, Minnesota. We had nice neighbors to the left and right: a kind Filipino woman who let us use her snowblower in the winter, and a young family of doctors who graced us with the occasional check-up when we weren’t sure of the differences between a scab and a tumor. Across the street, however, was a house that about a million people moved in and out of it on a monthly basis—a woman who collected as many exotic birds as the rooms could hold, a family with two boys who were nice but a little sketchy, and one family that will haunt my memory forever.

I assume the father worked and wasn't home much. That allowed the mother to spend the day smoking like a grill full of damp mesquite chips, yelling at the neighbor kids, and vacuuming the house. Mind you, at six years old, I was in the beginnings of my drug-resistance education, so whenever I would see her vacuuming through the window, I pictured her wading through knee-high piles of cigarette butts and ash, all the while adding to the mess with the burning one in her mouth. 

 [That's seriously what I always imagined.]

She had two kids; they may have been twins, and were probably a year or two younger than I was. I’m pretty sure the girl was born with a tramp stamp, and I am certain that the boy was a real life version of one of the South Park characters—round-headed and snarling. They were both absolutely rotten. These two kids ruined my life every time I would walk across the street and along the border of their yard and the one next to it in order to visit my friend on the other side. 

I always had to sneak and hope to God that they wouldn’t be in the yard when I crossed through. Of course I would always find them there, playing in their cat poop-filled sandbox, mouths and chins stained with Kool Aid in the most un-cute way possible. Their faces would demonically jerk up at the sound of me coming, and the little vermin would start screaming and swearing at me to get out of their yard.

Now, I came from a fairly mild-mannered household. This was SHOCKING.

I recall trying to reason with them, which just proved fruitless against these little creatures. And then the mother would come out, cigarette lodged on the right side of her face and holding a naked infant in her left arm.

THE MOTHER: What’s going on out here?

THE EVIL LITTLE KIDS: This f***ing loser is walking through our yard!

ME: I just want to get to my friend’s house on the other si—

THE MOTHER: Well, what goes around comes around. You walk in our yard, we’ll walk in yours.

ME: What? Why? What have you possibly got to accomplish in our yard? There’s just a field on the other side, and it’ll someday be a Kwik Trip, but for now it’s just a field and I can’t think of anything in there that would appeal to you unless you’re a small game hunter—

But their screen door had already been slammed.

The two little butthole kids then laughed at me and said a lot of words I didn’t recognize, so I was sure they were swear words. I screamed back things like “fart knocker!” and “butt nugget!” unfortunately with a lot less success than they had with their retorts.

Then the little boy did it. He planted both feet on the ground, leaned back and curled his torso into a C-shape, cocked his shoulder and his neck like a snake eyeing up its prey, and slowly raised the back of his hand, with all fingers lethargically curled except for one. The middle one. Dust caught in the creases of its knuckles because of unwashed popsicle juice that had been caked on there, and an untrimmed fingernail filled with the sand he had taken a break from digging in. 

He stayed in that position and nervously eyed his hand as if he had just unveiled the most evil pirate’s curse to ever be seen.

And I was all...

His sister then did the same thing, except in a more feminine way, but still with the fervor of someone who just discovered Osama Bin Laden’s porno stash.

And again I was all...

They just stood there in silence, letting The Finger take affect. Feeling like I was kind of being sneak-attacked, like maybe they were distracting me with their finger-hypnotism, I bolted up their yard and to my friend’s house, discombobulated.

I later asked my dad what it meant and he told me not to do that. That’s all I needed to hear.

And a few days later those little douche-kazoos were caught picking my mom’s tulips out of our front yard. I'll let her rant about it in the comments section.

Friday, June 3, 2011

I considered writing a blog post but when my hands learned that they would have to touch my slightly-warmer-than-the-surrounding-air laptop, they retreated into my wrists.

I think the title sums it up well.

It’s freaking hot.

Temperature: 90 degrees.
Feels like: Actual hell.

And Weather.com said, "We're gonna have rain, so don’t turn on your air conditioning because everything will be better soon!"

Well I just checked Weather.com and JUST LIKE LAST TIME, it has announced that rain actually never existed; it’s just something the Men In Black told us when they used that little memory-eraser thing on us.