Monday, October 31, 2011

Showing my box a good time

My friend, Larie, owns a handbag boutique several blocks from my day-job office, which gives me an excellent excuse to spend my lunch hour shopping and gossiping.

I was doing just that on Thursday afternoon when the owner of a neighboring shop walked in with a big cardboard box.

"Hey, Larie, do you need this for any shipments?" she asked.

"Nope, I'm good."

"I'll take it!" I announced as I reached for the box. "I need lots of these right now with all the cleaning and organizing and decluttering I have to do to get the house ready to sell."

She kindly handed over the box, and I said my farewells and headed out the door. I hadn't gone more than twenty feet when I noticed something odd – people seemed fascinated by the box. Or rather, by the sight of a reasonably well-dressed female with a nice handbag slung over one shoulder and a big cardboard box in her arms.

Several strangers stared openly. One woman gave me a quizzical look and raised her eyebrows with an unasked question.

"It's my new dressing room," I informed her. "I live in a refrigerator box, so this is the perfect size for a nice walk-in closet."

She laughed uncomfortably and crossed the street.

En route to my office, I decided to stop in an upscale jewelry shop to ask about consigning my old wedding ring. I felt weird marching in with my cardboard box, so I set it outside the door and hoped no one peed in it.

I'd been inside about five minutes when one of the owners walked in. "What's with this box outside?"

"Mine!" I shouted a little too loudly. "I didn't want to bring it in the shop, but I'll take it with me when I go."

"I had to look inside," he admitted. "I thought maybe someone dropped off a litter of kittens."

Unfortunately, there were no kittens in the box when I reclaimed it, but that did remind me of a couple things. For one, I had cat sitting duties to attend to after work. For another, I didn't have my car because Larie and I had decided in advance we'd carpool to book club that night.

So after I stored the box in the corner of my office for the afternoon, I carted it with me as I walked to my friend's apartment to take care of his cats. They had a fine time crawling in and out of the box, and I briefly considered taking them with me just so there'd be something interesting in the box. Well, something besides my unwashed Tupperware from lunch and the bottle of wine I planned to bring to book club.

As I was walking back to Larie's shop, a stranger stopped me. "I've gotta ask – what's in the box?"

"Brains," I informed him. "I just killed four zombies in my backyard and the brains will come in handy for Halloween."

"Right on."

When I arrived  back at Larie's shop, she eyed me warily. "You're still carrying that box around?"

"I'm kind of enjoying it."

She didn't seem surprised. "We're too early for book club. Want to grab a drink at the D before we head over?"

"As long as I can bring the box."

So we marched into our favorite dive bar and found a table for three. The box got its own chair, Larie ordered a vodka cranberry, and I asked for a gin and tonic.

"Nothing for the box," I told our waitress. "That's our designated driver."

"Uh-huh," she said, trying discretely to peer inside.

"Actually," I said, "would you mind taking a picture of us with the box?"

She cheerfully snapped the photo, probably hoping crazy people make better tippers. Larie and I immediately texted the picture to our friend, Lindsay, who moved away to Omaha last spring.

We wish you were the box.

An extraordinarily long amount of time passed, during which I imagined Lindsay phoning the police to inform them we'd finally gone off the deep end and required psychiatric intervention. At last, Lindsay wrote back.

I wish I was the box, too. I've always wanted to be a box. Does that make me sound like a whore?

We paid our tab and got up to leave. "You ladies have fun with your box," the waitress yelled.

"I always do," I called back, wondering if she'd meant to make a naughty joke.

I stuffed the box in the back of Larie's car and buckled it in for the drive to book club. I toyed with the idea of taking it inside, but decided the box had already had enough fun for the evening.

At the end of the night, Larie dropped me in front of my house. "After all that, you'd damn well better not forget that box in my backseat."

"I've got it, I've got it," I assured her. "Thanks for showing my box a good time."

I hesitated, balancing the box on my hip.

Larie sighed. "You're waiting for me to say 'that's what she said,' aren't you?"

"It would be nice."


Sarah W said...

I think crying with laughter and snorking diet Pepsi and coughing having to change into a new top because I mopped up with the old one is a wonderful way to start a Monday!

Thanks, Tawna!

Michelle Wolfson said...

You are so awesome. What a perfect post for a Monday morning.

Linda G. said...


Now, that is excellent use of rising tension and suspense -- I KNEW you were going to make a dirty box joke, and I just had to keep reading until I got to it. *grin*

Heather Thurmeier said...

Best post I've read anywhere in a long time! Now I want a box for Christmas just so I can take it places with me. Too funny!!

Anne Gallagher said...

Only you, Tawna, only you could pull off this post with such aplomb.

Anita Saxena said...

This was hilarious. Thanks for sharing!

Patty Blount said...

HA! I choked on my breakfast.

That's what she said jokes never get old.

Jessica Lemmon said...

If only I were that ballsy! LOL, can I live vicariously through you? ;)

Skye said...

How the hell do you think of this stuff off the cuff? I'd tell the absolute truth because I wouldn't think of a funny thing to say until an hour later. Thank god my tea wasn't ready until I'd read this post!

Awesome awesome awesome!

Sarah Allen said...

Pretty much this story made my morning. And kinda made me jealous. I need to go get me a pet box :)

Sarah Allen
(my creative writing blog)

Jamie Lee Scott said...

I've been working all morning, packing and shipping boxes of all things. I own a jewelry business. I loved this post. Pretty sure the dressing room comment made me smile the biggest.

ashelynn hetland said...

Best. Post. Ever.

Todd R. Moody said...

I wish I lived near you and could just be a fly on your wall, not in a creepy stalkerish way, just because I know it would be fun. You never fail to deliver!

Patrick Alan said...

I would be a creepy stalkerish fly, checkin' out yer box an all that...

widdershins said...

I'm kinda glad it never occurred to you to fold the box flat ... I mean, who wants their box flattened?!!!

Wonderful story.

Tawna Fenske said...

Thanks for all the awesome comments, guys! I was talking to my mom on the phone this morning and said, "you know, I wonder if people would think I made this stuff up if I didn't post pictures." Perhaps!


Lindsay said...

I'm sure you can imagine my delight right now. xo

Crystal Posey said...

Awe-some! I think this may be my favorite of your posts. Hilarious!

Delia said...

This is, indeed, a hilarious post. However, I can't get over how the tilt of your friend's head in the second picture makes her look as if she's wearing a Bud Lite party hat. Which would be awesome.