by Will Gottlieb
Coastal Journal staff
You will be shocked to hear there’s a downside to drinking beer. The research has been done, and the results are in: It turns out that people who drink beer tend to misplace things.
For example, visitors to the Munich Oktoberfest lost all kinds of stuff. This could be attributable to the fact that they had collectively consumed seven million liters of beer – what would be called a “long weekend” at my house. And you do tend to lose things under such conditions, believe me. Der Spiegel Online reported the following items as having been reported lost: “The impressive list [includes]...a leather whip, a live rabbit, a tuba, a ship in a bottle, 1,450 items of clothing, 770 identity cards, 420 wallets, 366 keys, 330 bags, 320 pairs of glasses, 90 cameras and 90 items of jewelry and watches. A total of 37 children were also lost.”
Oh, yes, the children, don’t forget the children. Or the whip. That’ll come in handy, if we can ever find the kids, and/or the rabbit.
But the truth is I have absolutely no right to make fun of anyone for losing anything. I moved from Bath to Brunswick last weekend, and in the process seem to have lost everything I’ve ever owned. It’s all there, in a sense, in that amorphous stack of boxes in the living room, but is it?
The move was timed to coincide with the start of the Patriots/Vikings game on Sunday. The schedule was supposed to be, Friday: pack; Saturday: move; Sunday: recover. And I was very much looking forward to Sunday, really I was. I would be done with all striving, the boxes and such neatly put away and arranged for orderly access. I would get up Sunday morning, clean the apartment in short order, and return victorious. I would watch one of the early games, crack the first beer around 3 p.m., and be there for the kickoff, cozy and content in my new digs.
Almost none of that happened, or at least not in that way. Friday, I packed, so far so good. Saturday, I was assisted by a team of native bearers, who hauled my dunnage in a largish truck. But the stuff failed to come out of the truck in the orderly manner I had planned, for some reason, and I couldn’t find anything I needed that night, not a toothbrush or a change of underwear. All gone, though sitting there in my living room. Strange.
Sunday: Once more unto the breach. I got up early, found some clothes I’d never seen before, got dressed, headed out for the old apartment, and went to work. And it was a lot of work, an unreasonable amount of work. The place was not so much an apartment in transition as a pig farm in recovery. Who lives this way?
Yeah. Well, between the design and the implementation falls the glitch. I worked nonstop for six hours, only pausing long enough to answer a call from a friend, who asked me how I was doing, and whether I’d had my tea that morning. Which turned out to be a pretty bad moment for me, because I thought she was asking about a key, and that turned out to be a good question – was suddenly The Question, since it was not on my key chain and not in my pocket. I had lost the one existing key to my new house.
An unwelcome development, to be sure. But I had lost the key on a day when I desperately needed a break; on a day with a football game that I both wanted to watch and was reasonably sure Our Team could win; on a day when I had a six pack of Red Racer Pale Ale to come home to. Moreover, I had lost the key on a day when every hand tool I’d ever owned was sitting in my back seat. So I was going to get into that house, by God, and I was going to do it in time for the game, and I was going to do it even if I had to cut through the foundation with a chisel.
And so I finished cleaning the apartment at about 3:30 p.m., jumped in the car, and raced back to Brunswick. I surveyed the house from every angle, checked all the doors and windows, and then fetched a ladder from around back. I took a storm window apart, snaked a piece of sheet metal up between the window panes, unlocked the window, pulled my exhausted body through the opening – and landed on the sofa at precisely 4:15 p.m.
Ugly, I thought, but how timely! I reached for my phone to call my son and give him the good news, but it wasn’t there. I’d left my phone somewhere.
So I sighed deeply, clicked on the TV, found the correct station, and opened that first, hard-earned beer.
And I don’t think I’ve ever tasted better.