Friday, June 27, 2008

Few people know that I've been driving around with a giant number 8 in my trunk for the last two-and-a-half years. Yep, right along side my jumper cables and emergency First Aid kit is a big number 8...just in case.

It was intended as a gift for my friend Fred, you see, but he lives all the way out in New Jersey, and so I don't see him very much. And, when I do, I always forget to give it to him.

There are very few people in this world who would relish in a heavy wooden number 8, and Fred is definitely one of them. I encountered the foot-long digit on a stroll through the clearance section of T.J. Maxx one fine afternoon, and I figured I'd have it for only a short time before I'd gift wrap and deliver it.

The thing I disliked about the numeric character initially was its gold color. Yuck. Perhaps that is why I relegated it to my trunk. And when the day came a few months ago that I finally decided to clean out my trunk, I decided that the number 8 would look its best around other numbers, and where else are there more numbers than those hanging out in a math teacher's classroom? So he sat on my chalkboard ledge from January through May, keeping close tabs on the bad kids and threatening to turn into an eternity symbol (cementing them into an endless math class) if they didn't pay attention. Sometimes scare tactics actually work. :-)

But just recently, when I started redecorating my apartment, I decided to bring the good ol' number 8 home. The prospects of it ever seeing Fred were slim now (or so I thought), so I rationalized that the gold color could be covered with a little aqua blue paint. Twelve drying hours later, he was proudly hanging on my wall, distinguishing himself as the only number among a series of fourteen fabric letters that are also residing there.

Everything was cop acetic until last night.

Fred called me out-of-the-blue, asking if he could come visit the next day (tonight). *gulp* He knew about the mysterious gift that I've been toting around in the trunk; so, I asked myself, had he finally stopped waiting for another forgetful visit from me and decided he was coming out himself to claim it?

A few nervous stammers later, I said sure, he could come visit. Then I unexpectedly spilled it all and confessed precisely what his gift item was. He was delightfully surprised. Then the begging started. Could I please keep it? It's painted to match my apartment decor now, you know. Please, Fred, oh please? [The custody battle had begun.]

In the end, I said that if he REALLY wanted to take it off my wall, he could. He offered to trade me 8 recipe cards for it (since he read in this blog that my box is rather empty). I almost asked, "Why 8?" but then I remembered.