The best part of spring – which has definitely sprung here now – is putting the winter clothes away, and brining the summer clothes back into rotation. Not only are there always some nice surprises, jackets you’ve forgot, there’s often the added bonus of finding money in the pockets.
And that, I say, feels like winning the lottery.
This morning, I walked up from the basement, wearing a yellow leather jacket that I had completely forgotten about, and a smile.
I asked Daughter what she thought about it. After all, she’s the six-year-old who picks her own clothes each morning and runs around department stores with Wife, bringing her new clothes to try on while she’s in the fitting room. Not only does she seem to have an interest in fashion, she also has an impeccable taste.
Or so I thought.
“Whaddaya think?” I asked her, still smiling.
She didn’t say anything. She just sighed and wiggled her little hand. Now, since she didn’t have her palm down, but to the side, it looked like a royal wave so I asked her again:
“Yeah. Just as so-so as the postman’s jacket you had on earlier,” she said, referring to the dark-blue Royal Mail jacket I bought ten years ago at a second-hand store.
“Really? Do you know how nice this jacket is, though?” I told her.
“This jacket is so nice that I once almost had to wrestle for it,” I said.
Some ten years ago, I became friends with a neighbor of ours. He was a single guy, and needed a buddy, and I was a Finnish guy who needed a buddy, and we found each other. We both liked Queen (the band), and we both thought we were funny.
Every now and then, he’d invite me to his apartment to listen to music, watch him land a plane in New York in the Flight Simulator, and just hang out. And then maybe we’d go to a nearby pub afterwards.
One night, we walked down to a pub next to a subway station down the hill, on the wrong side of the tracks. Pubs close to subway stations are always a little sleazy, and this one was no exception. Anyway, my buddy quickly found new friends again, and before I knew it, he was dancing with somebody. I sat at the bar and watched him dance. Then I saw two men walk in.
Two Finnish-looking men.
They sat down next to me, and for reasons still unknown to me, I said something in Finnish to one of the guys. Maybe he bumped into me or something. Now, engaging like that with a drunk Finn was a big mistake, because now our mutual language gave him the wrong impression. He thought I wanted to be his buddy, so he started to talk to me. I tried to talk as little as possible, knowing that if I simply ignored him, he’d probably get angry.
After a couple of minutes, he had forgotten about his friend and had, instead, turned his full attention to me.
“That’s a really nice jacket,” he said.
“Thanks,” I said, and stuffed my hands deeper into the pockets.
“Really nice. Real leather?”
“Sure,” I said, trying to send telepathic signals to my buddy, still dancing out on the, well, not dance floor, it was just a floor.
“Let’s wrestle for it,” said the man.
“I don’t think so.”
“Come on, let’s wrestle. Come on.”
I turned to look at him, and he stared at me right in the eye, in a typical drunk man’s fashion. I decided it was time to go home. My neighbor saw me get up, so he came to talk to me.
“I think it’s best,” I told him, and we walked out the pub. He carried his jacket in his hand, all sweaty. I buttoned up my nice, yellow, real leather jacket. My hands were shaking a little bit.
Daughter looked up from her Pokémon cards again.
“So, obviously you won since you still have the jacket,” she said.
“No, I didn’t wrestle with him,” I told her.
“Why would I have? It was my jacket so even if I had won, which is likely, I would have just got to keep something that was already mine. That would have been stupid,” I said.
“That’s true, Dad. I’m glad you didn’t wrestle with that guy,” Daughter said then.
“Me, too,” I said, looked at myself in the mirror, and put my hands into the pockets, a part of my cool pose.
I found a twenty in the left pocket.