Kevin Frisch: One thing leads to another ... then another

Kevin Frisch

I needed some paper towels.

That's how it started: I needed some paper towels. And some Windex.

I had looked at the window in the dining room and was suddenly struck by the numerous splotches on the outside, where the rain had splashed through the screen. I opened the window, then the screen, and reached around to test the grimy marks. They'd come clean pretty easily, I decided. I just needed to hunt up some paper towels and Windex.

Windex seemed like an under-the-kitchen-counter-type of product so that's where I headed. The glass cleaner in question wasn't immediately evident, but I noticed some black shoe polish. Perfect. My shoes had been needing a shine but I never seemed to get around to it. I set out the polish and headed off to get the shoes. Upon opening the bedroom closet, though, I was struck by a mild yet noticeable bouquet. Laundry. It had been a muggy few days and my jogging apparel — socks, T-shirts, that sort of thing — having been perspired in, then thrown into a ball on the closet floor, was beginning to ripen. I figured I'd better do a load of wash.

I was separating the various whites and coloreds when I heard a jingling sound. There was some change in one of the pants pockets — and a folded piece of paper. Ugh! It was a note I had written myself reminding me to call my nephew for his birthday. Which was three days earlier. A quick phone call was in order.

The timing couldn't have been worse. Just as I laid my hand on the receiver, the phone rang. Startled, I instinctively answered. "No," I told the voice on the other end, "my basement is not damp as a result of recent rains. ... No, I'm not interested in having a basement specialist who will just happen to be in my neighborhood next week drop by. ... No, I don't know of any friends or neighbors who are experiencing subterranean moisture problems."

Hmmm, the basement. I hadn't emptied the humidifier all day. I'd better do that while I'm thinking of it or it will overflow and I'll have to flag down that basement specialist when he's in my neighborhood next week.

At the top of the basement stairs, I hit the light switch. A quick, bright flash is followed by darkness. I flicked the switch a few more times, evidently thinking I might become the first person in history to repair a light bulb in this manner. No such luck. Now, where are the light bulbs? The linen closet? Yeah, must be.

While scouting around for the bulbs I knocked from the shelf a shoe box filled with scores of old, unfiled photos. Hey ... the trip to Scotland ... that weekend of Mets games in New York ... the "Come As Your Favorite Nude Pilgrim" Thanksgiving party ... I was still riffling through these memories 15 minutes later when the doorbell rang.

"I was just walking by," said a pleasant-looking gentleman who evidently was just walking by, "when I noticed your car there has a flat. I didn't know if you knew."

"No," I said, eying a left rear tire that was almost as deflated as I was. "I didn't."

I thanked this bearer of bad news and returned inside to grab the car keys. But wait. I would also need my toolbox. That was in the basement. But I'd also need a light bulb. That was in the linen closet, near the pile of spilled photos.

A crack of thunder heralded the latest in a series of surprise cloudbursts. Great. Nothing like changing a tire in a storm. I better stop at the hall closet and grab a raincoat.

Passing through the dining room on the way to the hall, I was struck by the sight of rain streaming down the walls courtesy of the dirty window I had left open.

I needed some paper towels.

Kevin Frisch is managing editor of the Daily Messenger in Canandaigua, N.Y. Contact him at (585) 394-0770, Ext. 257, or via e-mail at kfrisch@MPNewspapers.com.