Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Quest for the Ring

Here's a little story about love, loss, and other smelly things.

Two weeks ago today, I went to play basketball in the morning at the church. (There's a group of us that play a couple of times a week at 5:45 AM.) I used to always wear my wedding ring when I played, up until the time a couple of months ago when it flew off of my finger while going for a loose ball. (I've lost a bit of weight, and the ring isn't fitting as snug as it used to.) So, I took my ring off, put it by my cell phone, then played some basketball. (How well did I play? Well, my nickname is "The Liability," and it's not because I work in insurance.) As we finished up, I grabbed my ring, keys, and cell phone and headed back home.

My One True Ring.

Thirteen hours later, I had just finished eating my lunch at work. I went back down to my truck and I saw that my wedding ring was not on my finger. I had not noticed or given one thought to my wedding ring from the time I left basketball until the time I discovered it was missing. So, basically, I could have lost it anytime between morning basketball and lunch at work. But, I figured it was more likely that I had lost it recently, because I probably would have noticed earlier had it not been there all day.

I immediately knew that the first place I needed to look was in the garbage of the trucker's cave at work. A word of explanation: I work at a large frozen foods manufacturing plant. I drive truck. My job is to put all of the trailers that need to be loaded or unloaded into the dock doors, then pull those trailers out when the workers are finished with them. There are a lot of trucks and truck drivers in the yard on any day, and much more than usual on this particular day. To get their paperwork, each driver has to go to the office. The office is on the second floor, up a long flight of 35 stairs. There is no elevator. Truck drivers are not known for their physical fitness, and sometimes it's comical to see the drivers huffing and puffing at the top of the stairs. Other times, it's not comical; one of these days an out of shape driver is going to actually have a heart attack.

Anyway, at the top of the stairs, along with the office, is the restroom. The trucker's cave. It is a small five-foot by five-foot room with cinder block walls. There is a toilet and a sink. There is no hot water. And there is NOT a fan! At the best of times, truck drivers are not known for their fragrant bouquet. The trucker's cave manages to collect and magnify all of your favorite truck driver smells, including, but not limited to, body odor, cigarette smoke, and, of course, poop.

A while back my wedding ring came off while I was drying my hands with paper towels at the end of a visit to the trucker's cave. So, when I lost my ring this time, the first place I thought to look was in the trucker's cave garbage can. It was pretty full, but it was mostly discarded paper towels. I love my wife, and I wanted my wedding ring, so I started digging. I pulled wads and wads of paper towels, at various levels of moistness, out of the garbage can. Occasionally, there would be a glop of tobacco spit or some other foreign substance. And then, I hit the mother lode. My ring? No, I would not be that lucky. What I found was a pair of underwear. And this underwear was full of POOP!!! (You gotta love truck drivers!) [Note: sarcasm is my friend.]

The sad thing is, this was not the first time I had found poopy underwear in the trucker's cave garbage. A year or so ago, I saw a truck driver walking to his truck with what I thought were some odd looking shorts. On closer examination, I could see that this driver was wearing a sweatshirt as pants, one leg through the head hole, and another leg through one of the sleeves. (The other sleeve hole was acting as some kind of vent system.) I didn't think too much of it until an hour or so later when I went upstairs and opened the door to the trucker's cave, only to be overwhelmed by the smell of the driver's underwear, pants, and poop. (Looking back, the sweatshirt-as-pants was actually pretty ingenious.)

So, when I was searching for my ring and instead found a truck driver's discarded dirty underwear, I was not exactly thrilled. I worked around the underwear as best as I could, but my quest was fruitless. I then looked every other place that I thought my ring might be. No luck. Futile. My ring is gone.

I was very disappointed, and I wondered what The Wife would say when I told her I had lost my ring. Luckily, The Wife does not get too hung up on "stuff" and "things." She was sad for me, but she wasn't upset. Oh, but she was very, very worried about all the ladies hitting on me because they now think I'm single because I'm not wearing a ring. (Especially if I'm walking around in my styling new sweatshirt pants.)

[UPDATE: I actually found the ring a month or two later. We were cleaning the living room and I moved the couch to vacuum under it. The ring was under the couch. I have no idea how it got there, but I'm glad I didn't have to dig through more truck driver poop to find it!]

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