Some days don't you just wish you had worn a belt?
If you're not already laughing at the image of someone with their pants around their ankles, then you need a serious look at physical humor.
Now, belts and cars. When did cars show up, and what exactly do belts have to do with cars aside from seat belts?
First, you need to hear a little story, not about me, but that I witnessed.
I’ll set the scene. I’m twelve, in the car with my dad, driving down Nathanael Boulevard. Outside it’s autumn, so coats and maybe hats, but there’s no snow and the leaves on the trees are red and yellow.
As my dad and I were driving down the road, there was some traffic. There’s a long line of cars stopped at the light, so we were going to be there a while. I was in the passenger seat, minding my own business when my dad called me.
“John, look over there. That guy over there, are his pants falling down?”
“What?” so I looked over. Down the street from us, there was a man walking towards us. I saw him picking his grocery bags up off the ground and start walking again.
“You just missed it, his pants were down on the ground,” my dad said.
So, I kept watching him. Our car moves forward a few feet as a car at the lights takes a right turn. As this happened, the man’s pants fell down. All the way. I was shocked. I had actually seen the sight gag of pantsing, but gravity was the culprit.
Now that we were closer to him, I could make out some detail. He looked like he was in his late 50s, early 60s, so retired, I guess. He had on a big puffy winter coat and one of those hats with ear covers and the turned-up brim. He also had four bags of groceries as he walked up the hill, so he had no choice but to stop every time his pants fell. He put the bags down and pulled his pants up. They were grey, and looked like a pair of track pants from across the street. What I couldn’t understand at the time, and still have no clue about today, is why didn’t he just tie the strings on them? Every pair of track pants has an adjustable string. Or, why didn’t he just wear a belt?
My dad thinks it was laundry day, and the man needed groceries but didn’t have any clean pants. I though he was just weird and had walked from his house to the store holding them up, got there and was like, “Damn, my pants aren’t working today.”
You all know how memory works. You forget a lot of things as you grow up; they just become distant events that you wonder about. Did that actually happen? But that one stuck with me. It was maybe a minute or two of time that I was sitting in a car watching him, but that one always stayed with me.
Now then, onto cars.
This happened to me when I was sixteen. I had recently gotten my G1 drivers license, in November. Now it was summer, and a Saturday. I played basketball in house league in the afternoon, but my dad woke me up that morning.
“Let’s go downtown for some lunch,” he said. Being the naïve little brat I was, I agreed instantly, packed my basketball shoes, grabbed my ball and almost jumped into the car.
“You’re driving,” he said.
“How do we get downtown? I can’t take the highway,” I replied, hoping to get out of it.
“We’ll take the airport parkway.”
So I drove downtown and my dad made me park in one of the parking garages, the ones with four levels. We had lunch and walked around. As time went on, I was getting irate because it was getting closer to game time.
As it turns out, my dad was playing spartan. Even though I had my G1, I wasn’t driving a lot and my dad wanted to give me a kick in the ass by making me drive as quickly as I could all the way to my game that day.
So, there I was, a new nervous driver, almost late and stuck in the middle of downtown where traffic sucks. But I also had to leave the parking garage.
We paid for our ticket and drove down to the exit. There’s a machine where you feed the ticket in, then the automated arm lifts up and lets you out. Naturally as I approached there was a line at one of them. But there were two machines, so I went to the other one.
The problem was the second machine was for swipe cards. There’s a yearly fee that you can pay and reserve a spot in the garage everyday, and you get a swipe card. After I figured that out, I had to circle the lowest level of the garage.
The line was longer, and guess what? A lot of people had the same idea I did, and now the line of cars that had to circle around the garage had grown so much that it blocked the actual exit.
Meanwhile, I’m getting antsy because I’m getting later and later for my game. I finally got to the machine, and a guy pulls out in front of me and blocks the way. My dad reached over and honked the horn at him and stuck his head out of the window to yell at him.
But it was fine. I could handle that. I’d seen him do that before. But what I didn’t see coming was the next car. Grey Mini Cooper, Quebec plates, black roof, not the removable kind.
After the guy blocking us drove passed, I stuck the ticket in the machine and moved to drive out the gate. But in the second I turned away to feed the ticket, that grey mini cooper had peeled out, cut me off and drove out under the arm.
Luckily I was quick enough to stomp on the breaks and didn’t hit the Mini Cooper. But in that moment, I just stopped. My dad leapt out of the car and disappeared down the street. I later learned that, had he caught up with the Mini Cooper, he intended to kick in his lights and windows. He did not catch the car.
But I was still sitting in that spot, with no idea what to do or where to go. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity to me at the time, my dad knocked on my window and had me drive back into a parking spot. He took a few minutes to talk with the service personnel, explaining what happened and that we couldn’t get out without a ticket.
Thankfully the person believed him and, after he took the wheel to drive back, she opened the gate manually for us to leave. This was when I asked and found out what my dad was planning on doing to the Mini Cooper. It was a bit scary, as he was livid and driving quite fast at the time.
On our way back, we drove up Nathanael Boulevard. As I always do when I pass that way, I recalled the old guy without his belt. Thinking about how he must have felt having his pants fall down all the time, especially the first time it happened that day, I likened it to my Mini Cooper incident. That was the moment I got a pantsing, lost twenty bucks and was late to my game…but gravity wasn’t the culprit. It was some asshole Quebec driver.
And some people say they’re good drivers.
Nick is a second-year student in Algonquin College’s Professional Writing program. He is an avid reader and writer, and can usually be found hiding in a book. He likes rock music and fantasy books, and one day hopes to publish his own.