Tag Archives: pocket

I’ve got a hole in my pocket

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?

Phantom phone syndrome

There’s nothing more depressing than phantom phone syndrome. Everyone experiences it to some degree, you’re walking around, maybe you’re at work, and you feel your phone vibrate in your pocket. This happens to me all the time, I’m waiting tables, I’m going over the specials or grabbing a refill on a Diet Coke and I’ll feel it, the buzz-buzz in my pocket. And this sucks because at my restaurant, like at most restaurants I’m sure, you’re not really allowed to be on your cell phone while you’re on the floor.

cell phone pocket

But what am I going to do, go seven hours without checking my phone? That’s cute. Come on, I’ve got to check my phone. Who knows what kind of emails I’m going to get, or text messages. Maybe something big, something I’ll need to respond to right away. Probably not, but maybe. With the no cell phone thing, I’m limited to a couple of options.

One, I can try to duck away into one of the store rooms, like where they keep all of the liquor in the back, or maybe by the lockers. I’ll whip out my phone and … nothing. But I was sure I felt a tingle. It wasn’t imaginary, I definitely felt something, maybe I’m going crazy, maybe the phone company sends out phantom texts every once in a while to keeps its customers’ attention focused firmly on their cell phones.

And then maybe my boss will walk in, there’s a very real likelihood that the longer I’m hanging out back here, someone’s going to pass by, they’ll see me on my phone, it’s probably someone in charge. Are they going to write me up? Is this going to be like a formal, “Rob, we’ve caught you on your phone and now you’re officially in trouble,” type of deal? Or maybe they’ll give me one of those, “Ugh, Rob, come on, haven’t we been over this? This is really annoying, you guys always on your cell phones,” more unofficial admonishments, while I’m not technically getting in trouble, I’m still getting a once-for, I have to make eye contact and say, “I’m sorry, I’m really sorry, I shouldn’t have, I just, I’m sorry,” types of apology/thank-you-for-not-writing-me-up.

Back to work, back on the floor, try to pass by all of my tables, make sure that everything’s OK, “How is everything, OK?” and three of the people at the table smile or give me a thumbs-up or something, but that fourth person is chewing, and she gives me a weird look, I can just tell she’s already planning out what she’s going to write down on Yelp, something like, “Why do these stupid waiters always wait until I’m mid-bite to come over and ask if everything’s OK? I’m eating! I’m chewing! Ugh! These people are so stupid! Leave me alone!” and then I feel my phone buzz in my pocket again. This can’t be a phantom alert, I’m pretty sure I felt two specific, distinct vibrations, the “buzz-buzz” of a text message.

But I can’t risk the supply closet again, not tonight, definitely not tonight, in fact, I probably can’t risk getting caught in the supply closet again for at least another week, I can’t become a serial offender, an established slacking-off pattern emblazoned into the consciousness of my superiors. Imagining I got off with a warning that first time, this second time, “Two times in one night?” that’s definitely going to be a write-up, “Sign here please,” making me place my signature on a piece of paper, a confession really, an admission of guilt, yes, I was on my cell phone, not once, but twice tonight. Twice.

So I’ll go to the bathroom, definitely not an ideal environment to take an informal break, but whatever, at least the door locks behind me, there’s no chance of anybody catching me in the act. But remember earlier when I wrote that there’s nothing more depressing than phantom phone syndrome? There’s actually something much more depressing. It’s taking out your phone, realizing that despite the very tactile sensation of an electronic device vibrating in your pocket, there’s nothing on the screen, no alerts, no notifications. And then you get that sudden awareness that you’re standing in the stall of a public men’s room desperately searching for messages, for some sort of communication that simply isn’t there. It doesn’t exist. Nobody’s trying to get in touch with you. And you’re hanging out in the bathroom. That’s the most depressing thing I can think of.

The night drags along. I’ll feel more phantom buzzing here and there, but I’m not going to allow myself to fall for it again. Fool me three times, shame on me, right? But my cell phone is patient. Go ahead and don’t check me, it’s whispering, I’ve got tons of phantom buzz reserves. I’ll go off regularly. How does every ten minutes sound? You think you can get through the whole night without checking to see even once if somebody might have emailed or texted you something? Anything?

Buzz. Buzz. Buzz. Buzzbuzzbuzzbuzzbuzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

All right, there are still two hours left to go, and if I go to the bathroom one more time, I’m liable to set off some alarms, “Hey Rob, you might want to go to a doctor, you’ve been going to the bathroom an awful lot tonight.” Nobody would ever say that to me, because it would be painfully obvious what I was really up to, checking my phone. And there are only so many men’s room visits I can stomach during a single shift.

Plan C is for when I’ve exhausted all other options. It’s about hiding in plain site. I try to get to a computer terminal ideally situated ten to fifteen feet away from the manager on duty. I want to be looking right at the boss, huddled over the screen, making it appear as if I’m hard at work. And that’s when I casually reach my left hand around my back to grab the phone out of my right pocket. I slip it in front of the restaurant computer and go about my business as if there is no phone at all.

But, and I can’t believe this, nothing? No messages? No texts? I definitely felt something. I open up the Twitter app. Zero notifications. Facebook. Nope. I’m looking on my scheduling app, my calendar, all the useless apps that I never open up or use. Which one of you is making my phone buzz? What’s going on?

I jerk my head up. Where’d the manager go? Shit. He’s to my left. He’s making a beeline. Did I get lost? Was I at the terminal for too long? I must have been. I must have been swiping between menu pages too aggressively. Is it too late to get my phone back in my pocket? It’s too late. He’s two steps away so I put my phone on the counter and cover it with a tip tray.

“Rob is everything OK?”

“Yeah boss, I was just checking to see if I’d entered in table twelve’s desserts.”

“That’s it? You looked pretty concerned.”

“Yeah boss, that’s it.”

And that’s when the phone buzzes underneath the tray, audibly. It’s actually louder, like the buzzing phone made the tip tray buzz a little too, and it’s vibrating, it’s actually moving slightly across the counter.

“Rob. Come on man. Again?”

And what can I say? “Boss, it’s not what it looks like. It’s a phantom buzz. It’s not really buzzing at all. Trust me, you’re brain’s playing tricks on you. Sir, we’ve got to be careful, spending too much time online, on the phone. You get that, right? Phantom phone syndrome? That’s a real thing, right? I’ll send you an article I read about it online. I’m totally serious here, it’s all in your head, for real.”