By John Addyman
Every now and then a romantic thought crashes through my head. My dear wife, Gayle, and I have been married for a couple hundred years, and some of that longevity is attributable to the occasional lovestruck notion.
So here was my idea: we would attend the Sodus Point Sunshine Parade, held the night before the Fourth of July. It’s a rolling car show with a patriotic tinge. All kinds of drivers and their neat cars and trucks come out of the woodwork for this parade. We’d have dinner beforehand in one of the restaurants on Sodus Bay, watch the parade, and maybe stay for the Ring of Fire and fireworks. Sounded like fun and maybe a little romance.
I decided to try Captain Jack’s Goodtime Tavern for dinner, and things went very smoothly.
Until I had to use the men’s room.
The night was quite warm, so I was in shorts. As I was finishing things up in the men’s room, my zipper stuck. The head of the zipper had gone all the way down and stayed there. I couldn’t grab the little handle with my fingers, and I was wrestling with the thing.
The dilemma was real: I couldn’t go back into the restaurant, which was very crowded, with a lot of gentle breezes pushing through my nether parts from a wide-open zipper.
So I struggled trying to dig the zipper out and get myself back together.
I had my back to the door of the small restroom and as luck would have it, another patron came in, and obviously could not figure out what the heck I was doing, but he decided he’d just as soon wait outside until I completed whatever it was that had me so occupied.
Trying to reclaim the zipper head, I now had my shorts half off, was doing stand-up contortions, praying that no other patron would come in and find me in that condition. I also had a flash thought of patron number one standing outside as patron number two arrived and was on his way into the restroom.
“You don’t want to go in there,” patron number one would say.
“Why not?” patron number two would ask.
“You don’t want to know,” patron number one would say. The two would look at each other for a moment, and just stand there, awkwardly.
Meanwhile, inside the restroom, I’d given up on trying to get the zipper zipped up like it belonged. I mustered my courage and checked the mirror to make sure I had my most nonchalant face on.
And out of the restroom I strode, keeping that I-couldn’t-care-less look on my face and staring straight ahead to my table.
Patron number one wasn’t buying it. He looked at me like perhaps he might have seen me on a police registration somewhere.
I got back to our table and told my wife what the problem was.
“What are you going to do?” she asked.
“You’re going to fix it,” I said.
I didn’t know whether she was thinking that I was asking her to fix my zipper at the table or if we were going to go into a restroom together.
“No,” I told her, while her head was beginning to spin, “we’re going to fix it in the car.”
“Just how do you propose to do that?” she asked.
I had a plan. We left the restaurant and walked down the sidewalk, all the while I’m praying that some kid won’t stop and point at me and yell, “Hey! XYZ Mister!” for all to hear. Or that some mom would cover the eyes of her daughters because the odd little man walking down the sidewalk had a stuck zipper in the “down” position.
We got to the car without obvious incident.
My car: it is a Miata, a small sports car, and it’s pretty tight inside. Yes, my wife could have sat in her seat and I could have sat in my seat, but she would have had to lean over and bend down to fix the zipper… we do have windows in the car and I could readily see that people would instantly get the wrong idea of what was happening inside the car.
“What’s your plan?” my wife asked, obviously thinking to herself, “This isn’t going to be good.”
“I’m going to hand you my shorts and you’re going to fix the zipper,” I told her.
“That’s not going to be easy,” she said.
When she’s right, she’s right.
I struggled to get out of the shorts, all the while hoping someone wouldn’t come up to the window and ask me why I was sitting there in my underwear — we were parked at the edge of the ballfield across the from the little park, with the back of the car toward the street, and people were walking on the sidewalk right behind us — and Sodus Point was crowded that night, so many people waiting for the parade to start. Lots of people were passing by the back of the car; in fact, some were standing right behind it, and just to the one side.
The shorts didn’t come off without a fight. I had to get the belt off first, and I got a leg cramp trying to twist and turn and gyrate to loosen the shorts and slide them off me, but finally, I handed them to my wife. She fixed the zipper in 10 seconds and handed the shorts back to me.
She had that look on her face.
“You know,” she said, “if you’re not careful, you’re going to spread the zipper and get it stuck again.”
I looked at her.
“Can we have some good news in this car tonight?” I asked.
So I was careful. I got the shorts on, but I had to get out of the car to fasten the belt, keeping my back to the people standing behind us.
All straightened out and zippered up, I asked my wife how I looked.
“Like the man I married,” she said.