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Charlie Hatton
Brookline, MA

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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
If you're a science and/or silliness fan, give it a gander! See you soon!

Alone Again (Condominiumally)

I would not characterize my wife as ‘forgetful’.

(Because trust me, if I did, she’d never forget that. Or let me, either.)

But I will say this, and she’d surely agree: If you were betting on who would, for instance, leave their phone accidentally at home on a workday, or forget their ID on the way to a bar, or buzz the doorbell frantically at some ungodly-early hour of the morning because they’d walked the dog without grabbing their keys — again, and sometimes twice in the same fricking week — the safe money’s on her. Every time.

Again, she doesn’t do these things often, in the grand scheme of things. I’m the oddball, actually — because I almost never have such lapses. I can think of one time I locked myself out of the house in the last dozen years, and maybe two or three days I walked out without my phone. She could do the same in a month, maybe less.

It’s shocking, I know. I wear the goofball pants in this family; if anyone should be marching out the door without keys or wallet or pants, it ought to be me. But no.

“I wear the goofball pants in this family; if anyone should be marching out the door without keys or wallet or pants, it ought to be me.”

I tell you that to tell you this: My wife is out of town this weekend. Along with, so far as I know, her keys, wallet, phone and ID. And pants. But I’m holding down the fort here until Monday night — just me and the mutt.

As I was walking said mutt this morning, I ran into one of our upstairs neighbors. We have the bottom unit in a three-story brownstone; this lady lives on the third floor. We exchanged greetings and she cheerfully offered:

Looks like you guys have the place to yourselves this weekend. The second floor’s already gone, and we’re getting out of here by noon.

Well, that’s different. It’s one thing to be missusless for a few days. But now the entire building is being vacated? What, are we fumigating the place for pests?

(Probably. I bet I’m the pest. Am I the pest? I bet I am.)

So now the persnickety pooch and I have the run of the whole structure for the next forty-eight hours or so. No one here to make any noise, or hear our noise, or run into in the entryway or down in the basement. Just me and the dog. Nobody else. All alone in the building.

You know what this means, of course.

This — this — is the weekend when I finally lock myself out of the house.

Let’s face it, it’s almost guaranteed. There’s no safety net. No wife coming home from work, or neighbors upstairs to buzz me in. If I step out the door without keys right now, I’m not getting back in until Monday night. And I could starve by then. All the nacho fixins are inside the condo.

(Come to think of it, I wouldn’t get back in the house until Tuesday sometime. Because I’m supposed to pick my wife up at the airport on Monday night — and if she has to take a cab home, I might as well sleep on the front walk, anyway. At least the porch steps won’t kick me in the back while I sleep.)

The point being, this is undoubtedly the least convenient time possible to find myself locked out of the house. Which is why it’s also the overwhelmingly most likely time to occur. That’s how life happens — when you’re not looking, and you have no backup plans. Also, possibly when you’re not wearing any pants.

So if you don’t hear from me for a few days — or you see some hungry dork in his underwear walking a dog outside your window this weekend — just know that the inevitable happened. And that there’s an entirely empty building nearby with all my stuff and no people in it.

Also, nacho fixins. Because life is cruel that way.

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