I don't know about you, but I definitely have indoor pants and outdoor pants. It's just as unlikely to find me relaxing at home in a pair of khakis as it would be to see me at work in my threadbare sweatpants with weird holes and perma-stains. This means I have a nightly ritual upon returning from work of taking my outdoor pants off, hanging them up, and hearing all my loose change fall out of my upturned pockets onto the floor below. Every night, this happens! Jon jokes that he knows I've returned from outside based on a series of sound effects: the unzip of my jeans, the clatter of coat-hangers, my change falling to the floor, and me yelling, “Dammit!”.
It's not the nickels and dimes on the floor that bother me so much as the notion that this happens nightly, without fail. It's ritual errors like these that make me think I'll never be a man. I mean, I know I'm technically more than old enough to be considered an adult in all practical and legal ways, but the continuous array of fuck-ups so routine you could set your watch to them make me realize I'm pretty far from being a grown-ass man.
Dream: Stop doing the same stupid things all the time.
Goal: Achievable. I used to attempt to carry things with one free hand while riding a bike, and I would always mess this up. I'd either drop whatever it was I was carrying, or fall off my bike, or both. In high school, I cut up and sprained my ankle really badly while trying to bike home with a Slurpee. Now I just don't ride a bike anymore. Boom! Solved.
Plan: Identify and concentrate on fixing those weird, every day mistakes that keep from being a fully functioning adult. Like:
Destroying the bed. I usually make my bed every night right before I get in it, which seems counter-intuitive, but I can't face it in the morning when I leave it tangled and sweaty, like my bed is an old prostitute I can't bear to acknowledge in the light of day. So every night I get into a well-made, turned down bed, and proceed to completely destroy it. In my sleep, I pull the sheets up from their corners, tangle everything together, wedge the pillows between the bed and the wall and wake up perpendicular to the position I was in when I went to sleep. I don't know if I dream about wrestling crocodiles, or if some asshat breaks into my house and lets raccoons loose under my covers at night, but every morning it looks like I lost a hard fought battle with some linens from Sears.
Testing the shower. I take a shower every damn day. How come I can never figure out how hot it will be once I get in there? I know enough to leave it running a few seconds to warm up, but once I get in there it's either hot as fuck or cold as shit.
“Oh hi, it's James. I guess you're not home, haha! So it's James, by the way, and I saw your message on Facebook and I thought I'd call you, if you're still at this number, but if you're not, then just ignore this message, haha! But yes, a movie tonight could work, but I can't make the 7.30 so can we do the 9.30? If that works for you, just call me back at home, this is James, by the way, so... but if it doesn't you should probably call me too. Just call me regardless, how bout? Haha. So, also, my number is ____ and if I'm not home then just leave me a message but if I am home then just talk to me, like using words and stuff. I hope we don't keep missing each other! Phone tag! Haha! You're it, haha! Anyway, let me know. This is James calling.”
Not getting weird around natural, if uncomfortable phenomena (breasts and little people). My exposure to breasts and little people is about equal, which is to say, not very much. So when dealing with either, I go overboard trying to be natural, which is the most unnatural thing in the world. There's a little person (which is the preferred term, I'm told, which is crazy as it seems so condescending. Like calling them rugrats or pipsqueaks or something.) who is an occasional customer in the store where I work. When I see him approaching my till, I remind myself sternly to just behave normally, this is just another customer, and any awkwardness on my part would surely make him self-conscious in turn. Plus, he's even kind of cute. Not cute as in darling or wee, but like a truncated Paul Rudd. He came in yesterday and all was going fine, we were enjoying an easy back and forth and I started to relax. Then he said, “Can I use debit for something this small?” He meant a small purchase, as he was buying a pack of gum or something for a dollar, but of course small triggered my awkward brain and I smiled too big and said, “Hey, whatever you want, bud!” Ugh. “Whatever you want, bud!” Who am I, the father of a five year old, all of a sudden? “Daddy, what kinda ice cream can I have?” “Whatever you want, bud! Just share with your sister!” He didn't notice, or more likely, tactfully pretended not to notice, paid however he wanted to, and left.
Later than night, the streetcar home was quite full and I ended up standing beside a sitting lady and her baby. I thought she was digging through her purse or something and I could here the child sort of whimpering, but when I looked down I saw that she was positioning her bare breast into his face, trying to get him to latch on. Well, I realize breastfeeding is the most natural thing in the world, but I about-faced so quickly that I almost hit a nun with my manpurse and she looked at me like, “Relax, dude, they're just tits.”
Its behaviour like that I wish I could correct, because it is at least annoying and at worst insulting. But I suppose some of those awkward traits stick with us forever. I know a grown woman who, every time she drives in her car and goes under a bridge, she will duck. Like that's going to help. Or the guy I worked with who, after meeting Jon and me, inquired with genuine seriousness, “So which one of you is the wife?”. Or one of my favourite stories about my Dad, who, at the end of a dinner party he was invited to, shook the hand of a guy he'd met that evening and said, “Good luck meeting you.” That kills me. Combining “good luck on whatever upcoming thing you're doing” and “nice meeting you” in your brain so that what comes out is “Good luck meeting you” is classic. You can't make that stuff up. So we all make stupid, moronic, or insulting mistakes regardless of our age that should be easily corrected (because, idiot, Jon is clearly the wife), but maybe its noticing those flaws in people that make them charming. Can you imagine if you were a person so perfect, so free of flaws and stupid habitual behaviour that everyone around would feel inferior? If you are that person, let's not hang out. I mean, for God's sake, good luck meeting you.