Saturday, July 18, 2015

Out of The Closet

One day a couple of years ago I decided to clean out and reorganize all of the stuff which I had tossed in my walk-in closet for four years.

That's kind of like saying I decided to join the Army so I could learn a trade, and somewhere along the line ended up in Special Forces. Not that I've ever been in the Army, unless taking a wrong turn while looking for an interstate on-ramp and ending up in Fort Bliss counts.

"Deciding to clean out and reorganize" my possessions is an understatement; among the dangers and other perils awaiting me, it's something of a God-Given miracle that I'm alive and writing this, albeit with a substantial does of nervousness while recollecting the events of the evening. First of all, for some reason  a television cable had become inextricably woven around the legs of a chair, a plastic milk crate, and an old vanity light. Since these items were closest to the closet door, they'd have to be moved out of the way first.

At least, that was the hypothesis. A hypothesis which failed as unwinding the cable required tugging on it, resulting in an old floor lamp falling over and beaning me on the forehead as I continued freeing the chair from Cox Cable's wiring amidst some eyebrow-raising epithets. After enduring hand-to-leg combat with the chair, I was able to liberate the torchiere which had moments prior been a mortal enemy. Old car magazines, suitcases, cans of spray paint, and clothes hangers had conspired to create a second line of defense against anyone brave enough to step in and reach for a tee shirt.  My foot never bled despite having stepped on something which I couldn't see due to the shadows caused by metric tons of stored junk. I have a high threshold for pain. Stepping on what turned out to be a dulled hobby knife didn't phase me.

What did phase me was noticing something moving on the wall to my right. While I never saw it again that night, I took in the fine detail of the eight legs, the glossy body, and the red hour glass of a spider which to this day has successfully played a mind game with me. It didn't help that the spider was approximately six inches from my face and scuttling into a cardboard box filled with documents which suddenly became unimportant as they were tossed, immediately, into the dumpster on the other side of the building.

That may be the only time I ever sprinted with a container of old bank statements to a dumpster in my boxer shorts.

Eventually, I began to restore some semblance of order as shirts were rehung, car magazines were organized by title, painting supplies were relocated to a different closet, and my beloved Steelers memorabilia was placed in a more prominent position among my other things. It was around the time I began to wonder if all of that work would ever pay off that I noticed a few pennies clustered near the back of the closet. Initially I meant to throw them away -nine pennies can't buy anything.

On the other hand, loose change amounting to one-hundred twenty-seven dollars can.

That's the amount of loose change which I had absentmindedly tossed through the doorway whenever I returned from a Taco Bell foray. It had become a part of my routine. From my observation later, the change-taking machine at Kroger jammed up more disastrously, from the sheer volume of coins which I fed it, than the Pacific Coast highway during an 8.6 magnitude earthquake. The assistant manager was very helpful, digging the thousands of coins free with a screwdriver so the machine could tally the rough equivalent of my next payments to Verizon and Geico.

It was a hard-won victory that night. I had literally turned trash into gold. My creditors would be paid. My FICO score would rise. My possessions were finally accessible.

I was no longer ashamed of the mess in the small storage area. I had attained peace of mind.

I was finally out of the closet.


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