Every now and then my ADD addled brain will pass the time by contemplating pointless minutia while it’s busy doing other more mundane things like the daily commute to the office. This morning was one of those times and the minutia in question was the contents of my pockets.
Being a guy I don’t carry a purse so I rely on the various pockets in whatever clothing I happen to be wearing—primarily my pants pockets—to carry the handful of daily essentials with me. For me these essentials consist of the following items: Any money I happen to have, my wallet, my car keys, a 512MB USB Flash drive, fingernail clippers, and, most recently added to the list, my cellphone.
Pretty typical stuff and probably not at all surprising by most people’s standards, but it’s not so much what I carry that caught my brain’s attention as much as which pockets I carry them in. I’m not a particularly anal person overall, but on some things, such as which pockets I put my stuff in, I can be as as retentive as the best (worst?) of them. My wallet, for example, is always in the right hand side ass pocket of my pants and I find it very distracting to not have it there. If I pull it out for some reason and can’t easily put it back—say because I’m buying food at a drive through—I end up constantly fidgeting with it until I return it to its proper pocket because my brain keeps noticing that it’s not where it belongs and has to remind itself where the hell it put it. The thing is I realized that I don’t know why it has to be that particular pocket and, in thinking about it in detail, I can’t recall a time when I ever consciously made a decision to make that pocket the home for my wallet. Hell, I’m not even sure I can remember when I started to carry a wallet though I think it was in junior high school because that was the first time I was issued a school ID card. So why did I pick that pocket and why am I now incapable of carrying my wallet anyplace else without experiencing a lot of discomfort and nervousness? In high school I had a friend who carried his wallet in the front right side pocket of his pants and that always fascinated me. It didn’t seem like it would be comfortable at all and this was probably worsened by the fact that his wallet was overstuffed to begin with so when he put it in his pocket he looked like he had some weird thigh tumor thing going on. I can’t being to imagine why he chose that particular pocket to carry his wallet in.
I mentioned my wallet and my money as two separate things because I never carry money in my wallet. That is unless you count my debit card, in which case you could say that I never carry anything other than plastic money in my wallet. Any physical money I have on me—it’s rarely more than $20 these days due to my embrace of the debit card—is always carried in my right front pants pocket. If I have more than a couple of paper bills in there for any length of time they tend to get wadded up into impressively small near-singularities from my nervous habit of fiddling with any money I have in my pocket in an absent minded manner when I’m standing around bored. Usually it’s just a handful of change used to extract diet pops from the vending machines here at work. I’ve tried carrying money in my wallet, but I’ve never really seen the point because it’s usually not in there long enough to make it worth the effort of putting it in there in the first place (I have a similar attitude toward making my bed in the morning) and putting change in my wallet is just out of the question. So my wallet is relegated to carrying my license, plastic money, and various random membership cards (Blockbuster, CostCo, etc.).
The USB Flash drive, fingernail clippers, and my car keys all go into my left front pants pocket. Again I couldn’t tell you why other than perhaps for my car keys. I don’t put my car keys in the same pocket with my money out of fear that when I pull the keys out I’ll inadvertently pull out any bills I have in there without noticing it and they’ll end up fluttering away on the breeze. I’ve actually had that happen in the past so I long ago made a conscious decision not to mix my car keys and my money in the same pocket. I don’t put my car keys in either of my ass pockets because, well, I’d be sitting on my damned car keys and that just wouldn’t be comfortable.
My cellphone usually ends up in my shirt pocket if I happen to be wearing a shirt that has one like the t-shirt I have on today. When I don’t have a shirt pocket my cellphone ends up becoming a source of major irritation. At those times it’ll sit on a nearby table or on my desk while I’m sitting down because I’m worried that having it in any of my pants pockets runs the risk of breaking it. When I’m standing up I’ll usually put it into the pocket watch pocket of my jeans (the small pocket just above the front right side pocket). If I’m wearing cargo pants, a rarity that has become less rare lately thanks to an ill-considered purchase at WalMarts, I’ll sometimes stick the phone into one of the extra pockets on the legs of those pants, but I’m never really comfortable having it there because I can’t feel it and I end up worrying if I’ve left it behind at my desk. I’ll probably get a belt clip for it eventually, but even that’s no guarantee that I won’t damage it as I’m rotund in the belly. At this point I’ve not settled on a home for my cellphone beyond the shirt pocket when I have one.
Winter time is a bit better because I end up wearing a coat when I leave the house which affords me quite a few more pockets, but the only real change that brings is the migration of my car keys from my left front pants pocket to my left coat pocket. I also take advantage of the inside chest pocket my coat has to carry things such as my cellphone and the odd pen and scrap of paper to write stuff down with. I honestly don’t know why I carry a pen and paper in my winter coat and not in the warmer months as it’s not as though I have more occasions in the winter to write something down than I do in the summer, but I carry them anyway. As for the left side ass pocket? It’s largely unused and ignored other than occasionally becoming a temporary transport for random objects such as maps to amusement parks, fliers picked up while walking around town, or a screwdriver when my hands are full with PC components. Most of the time it’s empty.
The thing is I was suddenly aware of and fascinated by the fact that the majority of the choices I’ve made on which pockets to use for whatever objects have been largely unconscious. I couldn’t tell you why I chose the right front pocket to hold my money instead of the left or why my wallet only feels right when it’s resting on my right ass cheek or why I can’t seem to find a good home for my cellphone other than hanging off the left side of my chest. I began to wonder what other folks carry in their pockets and if they were as anal about which pockets they used for certain objects as I am or if they were even aware of making the choice to use a particular pocket at all.
OK, so it’s nothing all that Earth shaking to ponder, but it keeps the brain occupied during the morning commute.