Monday, January 24, 2011

All I Need?

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Frozen food belongs in the freezer, not in the trunk of your car, a fact that the cruel world threw in my face yesterday. I had just gotten back from the grocery store with loads of stuff—a week’s haul—and was anxious to put my frozen selections away. I can’t pop the trunk from the inside anymore (another broken luxury), so I put the key into the lock on the trunk and…nothing. No turn. A wave of cold fear seeped through me as my hair stood on end, my typical overreaction to dilemmas such as these. Single women always think the worst: There are a thousand splendid pints of colorful sorbet in there that are going to melt all over the inside of my car! And I spent forty bucks on those! Oh my God!

This had happened once before, not long ago, when I had returned from the dry cleaner’s with most of my pants in the trunk. That time I had a dark, foreboding sense that I would have no pants to wear for weeks on end, no access to the pants I wore every day until someone helped me rescue them from the trunk. I would have to wear shorts for the rest of the winter: shorts with long-sleeved sweaters, sandals with socks. My entire personal presentation would change at work and in the world at large because my pants were locked in my trunk, where they would stay until I could find time to see a mechanic.

A man-friend of mine happened to stop by a day after the pants vigil had begun, and when I told him about it, he went to my garage and simply leaned on the car trunk, then turned the key in the lock. Pop! “It just got stuck,” he said. “If this happens again, just press down really hard and it’ll release.”

So there I was yesterday, pressing down on my locked trunk with all my might, in my dark garage (the overhead light doesn’t work…another broken luxury). After much fruitless pressing and self-loathing regarding my lack of upper-body strength, I decided to employ a tactic I learned as a member of my high school track team: the standing broad jump. I stepped away from the car, backing into the rakes and shovels. I crouched down and started swinging my arms, suffering only minor scrapes and bruises from the tools hanging on the garage wall. Bouncing on my toes, I gathered momentum and then hurled myself into the air and onto the trunk of my car, landing on my knees. Ouch.

And even this didn’t work. I tried the key and still no turn. Frustrated beyond reason and unable to accept that my expensive and melting Amy’s Palak Paneer meals were going to waste, I decided that I didn’t care if the trunk got dented or what—I was going press that thing down until it popped like a mo-fo. I stood behind the car facing away from it, my butt just inches from the trunk, and leapt backwards onto it from a crouching position. Crouch, leap, slam; crouch, leap, slam--I did this several times before trying the key in the lock. Pop! Excellent. My body bruised and scratched, my trunk slightly dented, I hauled in my groceries and stocked the freezer first.

I often tell myself, I don’t need a man; I don’t need anything. Except my pants. My pants, my frozen dinners, my dessert, and a lamp…that’s all I need. Not one other thing. And my cats…

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  1. "Frozen food belongs in the freezer, not in the trunk of your car, a fact that the cruel world threw in my face yesterday." The cruel world can really be a pisser, don't you agree?? Love your use of words,Kate, and wish I had the gift!

  2. Had a similar experience with a stubborn (and undignified) garage door once, during a blizzard. I cried and cried and then fixed it myself.

    I no longer trust your trunk. Bad trunk. BAD trunk.


  3. That trunk lock needs to see a doctor. I question whether you'll be able to handle sitting in the drivers seat, if you have to go through another one of those butt crunch exercises. Enjoyed this post.

  4. "Broken luxury"--another coin-able Kate-ism! I feel so lucky to know about this blog! I giggle out loud every time I read your essays! Thank you for writing them--for us--for you!

  5. And this thermos...and this paddle ball game...

  6. Loved it. I can think of a few more things this single woman needs, but that's another blog for another day.

    Glad you rescued the goods!

  7. I so get it. It's those little single-woman things that tend to make me panic. The big stuff? I got it. The little stuff like that? Never feels like little stuff when it's happening. Glad you got it open.... do your back seats fold down for trunk access? Always an option if it gets stuck again.

  8. Kate, try spraying a little WD40 lubricant (available at all hardware and auto parts stores and many drugstores) onto the trunk latch on the inside, that may help. Or maybe don't; I'm sure your trunk will yield additional entertainment for us in its current state. At least you don't have a lot of junk in your trunk!

  9. Well, bruised knees are a very good excuse for eating all those lovely pints of sorbet!

  10. This is hilarious!!! Oh God, for like a year or two after I left my husband and moved to the apartment that remains my home 16 years later, I kept buying really heavy stuff (a TV, an end table roped to the top of my car)... and it was only after I got home that I thought, "Oh shit, I don't have a husband." I'd have to find a male neighbor to haul the stuff up to my place. ...I'm glad to hear you have cats. They may not be helpful in instances like these, but -- from my experience -- they will become your longest relationships. (Not that I'm wishing that on you; I'm just sayin')

  11. That was quick thinking - solving your trunk problem with your trunk. You didn't specify which one was dented, though.

    To add to Lazarus' suggestion, there are only two things your really need - duct tape and WD40. If it's supposed to stick and it doesn't, use the duct tape. If it's not supposed to stick and it does, use the WD40.