Around the World to Texas

On my final afternoon as a California resident, I came up with a mild sex game that no doubt has many independent inventors throughout time. Our 1,500-square-foot townhouse was empty of furniture, and I begged my wife to do it in every room. I named it “Around the World”, sharing the title of the basketball shooting drill I absolutely dominate.

I don’t want to get too detailed out of privacy concerns, but I won’t leave you hanging with the obvious questions either. No, the rules did not require completion in every room. Even just the tip counted.

Frankly I was trying to move quickly anyway, as the transitions were hard for me. Or not hard enough if we want to push those privacy boundaries. The game played out so much better in my mind, particularly the window sill scene that sparked the idea.

I attribute my performance anxiety to multiple distractions:

  • Honestly I can’t remember for sure… but I think I was thinking about this blog post intermittently.
  • My wife declared the dining room and kitchen counted as one because they don’t have a wall between them. I felt uncomfortable with this interpretation, as the spaces have distinct functions and contents.
  • There was time pressure because my wife needed to drive an hour to the grandparents’ to feed the baby. She had told me she wanted to leave in 30 minutes, 15 minutes before we even started. A shot clock for the money shot functioned as a partial cock block.
  • The dryer in the laundry room happened to be running, which according to erotic cinema can only lead to magical, adult Disney-like outcomes. I couldn’t “rise” to the occasion for whatever reason, and this wasted opportunity haunted me the rest of the way.
  • I kept thinking about the next room and childbirth-recovery-friendly sex position, but in terms of logistics and planning rather than adventure and arousal.
  • In the final room, which actually doubled as the first one to somewhat make up for the dining room/kitchen merge, my wife felt the need to merge dirty talk with stand-up comedy. She was saying how my risk aversion turned her on, how sexy it was I avoided danger, etc. I did not appreciate the mockery while trying to concentrate.
  • Again, the deadline pressure. The reason we started 15 minutes late is because I spent too much time wrapping a computer monitor stand for transport. That got me all flustered and hurried — not to be confused with hot and bothered — and damaged my libido.

That last one is worth elaboration because it shows how I torture myself. Moving sucks for everyone, but it sucks more for me. The sturdy monitor stand was going into a car and didn’t need to wrapped at all. Done. Anyone else would have moved on.

But I felt compelled to use the bubble wrap my father-in-law had just bought because my mind fixates on no waste, squeezing the utility out of every resource from Chipotle napkin to 2007 Honda Pilot. To that end, I also wanted to use up the last bit of packing tape on a roll that anyone else would have tossed. This required cutting it with a broken dispenser attached to another roll.

I had to do this at least a dozen times to cover all surface area of the many-edged contraption. A rational actor would have recognized an extra 15 minutes of Around the World would generate far more utility than finishing the monitor stand. When I say fixate, I mean I can’t let stuff go.

My boss is fond of asking is the juice worth the squeeze when evaluating feature requests. In my personal life, I am all squeeze and a trickle of juice.

Many examples of this abounded during packing, which explains why I got only 90 minutes of sleep the night before the movers arrived. I will share one more just because it’s so bizarre.

There was a heavy bag of old statements and documents with marginally sensitive information. Maybe 5 percent of it could have been useful to an identity thief.

There were numerous little bags of ketchup packets left over from takeout orders, along with hot sauce, barbecue and soy sauce, and honey (KFC, let’s go). Maybe 5 percent of them would have survived the move to Texas and actually end up being used in the next year.

So I resolved to wedge the packets at intervals between the papers, figuring they eventually would explode in the dumpster and obscure the text. Of course as a bonus, it felt satisfying to find a use for the condiments rather than send unopened products directly to the landfill.

First I transferred the papers to two bags because I figured the current one with its thickness and handles could serve a better purpose elsewhere. Then I planted the ketchup bombs. A little weird, but not a big time commitment.

This was when things started escalating, or more accurately, spiraling downward into the abyss of my idiosyncrasies. I thought of all the condiments in the refrigerator and removed about 20 expired bottles, mostly weird Asian sauces but also a very American, ginormous bottle of mustard.

(None of them, not even one, was purchased or consumed by me. There is only one other person in the household capable of buying them, and she moonlights as a stand-up comedian during sex. I hate condiments in the refrigerator. Their primary function seems to be to take up space until the end of time and bother those who want to be minimalist and don’t need a crutch to eat meat and vegetables.)

I took the bags and bottles outside the front door, which required multiple trips. The plan was to pour the expired condiments over the papers to supplement the ketchup bombs, and I worried about leakage onto the floor inside. My hands got messy quickly from handling bottle caps.

Not even halfway through, I felt self-conscious about making too much noise with our front door five feet from our neighbor’s. Bottles were occasionally clanking as I piled some of the smaller ones into an old plastic colander to be recycled with them.

So I moved everything again to the front of our garage facing the narrow street of townhouses. Then I got self-conscious about the noise again. It was about 4 in the morning by the way, and I was slightly delirious.

I moved everything to our patio in the back, where I finished the job still self-conscious because of all the windows nearby. Yeah I was probably delirious and definitely stressed because I just wanted to get this stupid thing done and back to packing before the movers showed up in a few hours, followed by a 1,450-mile solo drive.

After waddling with the gross bags about 100 yards to the dumpster, I heard a violent rustling inside before opening the latched door. I knew instantly it was a raccoon and looked up to see another one with wild eyes perched on the wall snarling at me.

I was desperate to finish this craziness and debated whether to toss the bags over the wall. But they weren’t that throwable with all the liquid pooled at the bottom, and I didn’t know if the dumpster was full and the bags might end up overturned on the ground. Oh, and this effing raccoon was ready to pounce.

With sweat beading and my anxiety level at its peak during a really challenging month of Covid and work-from-home with kids, birthday party planning with kids, and a move across two time zones with kids, I lugged the bags back past our place and then another 150 yards down an adjacent street. That dumpster did not have raccoon guardians.

I had persevered around the block and would struggle similarly Around the World days later, but I finished both jobs in a triumphant splash of viscous liquid unique to me.
Writer’s note: If you spend any amount of your finite time reading the absurdities in this blog, we are either friends or highly compatible strangers. Thus I feel close enough to ask for your email address below. The only email you will ever get from me is one blog post per month until I die or you click Unsubscribe. You can also reply to that email, and I will reply back, thereby making us pen pals. Thank you.