"Excuse me? Do you like polar bears?" he asked as I walked past him on the sidewalk.
"No, thank you," I said. I was in a rush.
"Awwww," the stranger called after me.
OF COURSE I like polar bears! They're so cute even though they will eat me. And I'm concerned about polar bears and the whole endangered Arctic which just pretty much melted, not a good sign for anyone.
I felt so guilty for saying I didn't like polar bears that I texted Jane, who works for the environment - that's right, THE CLIMATE SIGNS HER CHECKS - and confessed. I was expecting a snappy lecture but she was distracted by her appendicitis so I was off the hook. She was either in the hospital or on her way when I told her I'd dissed polar bears and the Arctic which illustrates my point: sometimes personal matters trump overall earthly survival. I'm not saying they should, they just do.
For me, I had shopping to do. And then I had to be somewhere. Haha, no really.
I made a resolution not to over pack this summer and I did a fine job. Unfortunately I didn't also make a resolution to do laundry on a regular basis so there a came a day, three weeks after leaving Cincinnati, when I had a situation. I had already done some handwashing. I'd hung my panties to dry in the shower and had even handwashed a pair of Levi's but there's only so many times you can wear the same three pairs of blue jeans and white cutoffs before they're walking themselves to work. They are dir-tay. And that's not even getting into the argument over whether white cutoffs should ever be worn, much less be made a cornerstone of a wardrobe.
I kept saying, "I really need to round out my wardrobe with a pair of black pants." Which is an obnoxious thing to say. ROUND OUT MY WARDROBE. What is this? An episode of What Not To Wear? Has the Idol management team arranged to have Stacy and Clinton ambush me in the loading dock? (They should).
I looked for black pants in Portland and was in the Diesel store trying on some sale items. I had one leg in when I knew, suddenly, that I'd left my phone on a street bench. I tore off the pants and ripped through my tote bag in search of my phone. In the process I also ripped open a bag of ranch-flavored soy chips, scattering them around the fitting room. At this point the salesman knocked on my door.
"Are you doing okay in there?"
"No!" I shrieked as I ran past him. "I left my phone in the street!"
I'm freaking out because this would be the fourth phone I've been through in less than a year. When I'm not leaving them in public spaces, I'm throwing them onto hard surfaces to see how long it takes for the top to fall off. As I'm running back to Whole Foods, an old woman on the street tries to ask me something.
"Hang on," I say, "I lost my phone!"
At the guest services desk in Whole Foods, I ask if anyone turned it in and instead of answering me, the employee asks me a question.
"Are you Aaron Spears' friend?"
"Yes!" I say and clap my hands. Aaron is the drummer in the Idol band and the first person in my phone book. I pass the test and get my phone back.
Back on the sidewalk, I see the old woman I rudely blew off and say, "I'm sorry, what were you asking me?"
She asks for money and I give her a dollar and apologize for running away. She asks me if I found my phone and when I tell her yes she says, "Oh GOOD. God bless you."
Yes, I thought. And the polar bears.