I’ve got this pair of shorts with a hole in the left pocket. Few problems in life shake me to the core like a small tear on the inside of a pocket. It should be easy, to either stop wearing those shorts, or to fix it so there is no more hole. But I’ve been dealing with this all summer, nothing’s happening in terms of me remedying the situation, and it’s progressively getting worse, that small opening consuming a greater and greater percentage of pocket space every time I put these shorts on.
It must be some sort of a bug in my otherwise relatively normal human programming. For some reason, I just can’t connect the dots, come up with a way to make this problem not be a problem anymore. My inability to find a solution, I think it stems from the fact that there’s not a lot going on in my brain in terms of me thinking about my pockets. They’re something that I take for granted. All of my pants have pockets, all of my shorts, even my pajamas have pockets. Did I make a conscious decision to shop for clothing that comes with pockets? No, it’s automatic, it’s something that I’ve never had to go out of my way to even consider.
So I wake up in the morning, I put on a pair of pants or shorts, I take all of the stuff out of my pockets from yesterday and put them into my new pockets. This process repeats itself until I come across this particular pair of shorts, the one with the tiny hole in the left pocket, the hole that I notice every time I put my hands inside, to look for my wallet, to give my hands a little rest while I’m standing around idly.
And for the majority of the summer anyway, the hole was noticeable, I couldn’t help but play with it, this thing that was in my pocket but wasn’t, it’s a very minor absence of pocket, really. It was directly at the point at which the seams of my pocket came together, imagine an ice cream cone that has the slightest gap at the bottom. But I don’t usually keep ice cream in my pocket, and so there wasn’t anything melting down my leg, no urgent, “this hole is causing a problem” warning blaring in my head.
Aside from those instances in which I was physically touching that hole, I never thought about it, not at all. And so that’s part of the reason why I can’t really figure this thing out. It’s only on my mind when I’m in absolutely no position to do anything about it. As the weeks went on, the hole naturally started to grow, imperceptibly at first, but one afternoon I took a seat and felt one of my keys reach through the hole to jab me in the leg. That was sort of uncomfortable, I thought to myself, maybe I should get this hole fixed up when I get home.
But I’d get home, I’d get ready for bed, I’d throw the shorts in the laundry pile, and the hole wouldn’t register in my thoughts until I’d be wearing them sometime a week later, I’d already be out of the house, and I’d feel it again, maybe I’d feel the key. Shit, I’d remember, the hole would come rushing back to my thoughts as this unresolved dilemma, something that I’d neglected to fix.
Sometime last week I was walking down the street when I heard the sound of a coin fall to the floor. I looked down and there was a dime. Was this mine? Did this fall out of my pocket? I picked it up and put it back in, thinking surely the hole couldn’t be big enough to where actual coins were falling loose. A few blocks later I heard the same sound, but I put up a wall, tried to ignore the experience.
Later in the day I found myself spending a lot more time thinking about the hole in my pocket, time in which I’d usually spend not thinking about my pockets, about holes. I put my hand inside and fished around. Wallet: check. Keys: check. Coins … coins? No coins. In my denial I had convinced myself that while maybe, maybe I had been losing some dimes, they are the smallest after all, there was no way that I’d be dropping nickels, quarters, giant chunks of metal unable to stay in my possession.
This pocket was literally starting to cost me financially. Sure, spare change lost isn’t going to necessarily break my bank, but if I’m passing quarters, was it that out of the question to lose my keys? Could I foresee a future in which I’d be locked out of my house, on the phone contracting the services of an expensive emergency locksmith, wondering how I’d be able to prove my residence so that I’d be able to have him let me back inside?
Now I’m only thinking about my pockets, it’s like a mental tick, I’m reaching inside and moving my hands around to the point where people are starting to give me weird looks. You don’t understand, I want to tell them, I’ve got a problem, I’ve got a hole in my pocket. Only, I’m not wearing those shorts anymore. This pair of pants has no holes at all. But try telling that to my brain, to my wandering hands. I can’t tell the difference between good pockets and bad, my reaction is so involuntary at this point that I can’t even remember which pair of shorts I was talking about in the first place. I open my closet and look at my wardrobe, am I really going to have to throw everything out, to start completely over from scratch?
I came close to making an effort to getting up off of my ass and looking for a sewing kit, but I got distracted by the Internet and then next thing I knew, I was sitting at this desk writing this whole pocket lament. I know exactly what’s going to happen, the weather has been getting a lot cooler lately, I’m already finding myself wearing long pants more and more as the summer gives way to the fall. I’ll eventually put all of my shorts away and I won’t think about any of this until next April, at which point I’ll get up one day and think, wow, what a beautiful spring day! It’s the perfect weather for a short-sleeved shirt and a light pair of shorts. And I know just the pair I’ll pick, with just enough time for me to take a nice first-day-of-spring walk before going to work, arriving back at my house exactly when I need to grab my stuff and head back out the door. But what did I do with my keys? Where did all of the stuff in my pockets go?