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Chuck Hinman: IJMA. A Predicament

Chuck Hinman: A Predicament. Chuck reports on his predicament when a fellow resident inadvertently picks up his coat.
Next earlier Chuck Hinman column - A Pet Peeve About Obituaries

By Chuck Hinman

A Predicament

Webster describes a predicament as a difficult, perplexing, or trying situation.

Here was a recent predicament of mine.

Cashmere sport coat is piece de resistance

Yesterday was Sunday. I wore my cashmere sport coat to Sunday School and church. It is the piece de resistance of my fall-winter duds (a different story).

After church, I hurried back to Tallgrass for our noon meal. Upon arrival, I took off the coat and threw it over the back of a lounge chair in front of the fireplace. I feel stuffy eating a meal 'dressed up.' I am not comfortable yet with an adult bib but I am getting there.

Sunday is sing-along day at Tallgrass

Sunday is sing-along day at Tallgrass. It seems important to move along with my eating so I can complete some chores preparatory for the sing-along.

As is my custom, I leave my coat in the same chair where I left it this morning, on a chair in front of the fireplace. Bear in mind my coat also contains my wallet. I am among old friends who pose no threat to clothing items strewn casually as if at home. This IS in fact my home! Besides that not many mean wear Size 50 Chubby.

Coat missing after singing concluded

We had a particularly large turnout for the sing-along -- probably around 35 residents.

Upon conclusion and the exchanging of pleasantries, I headed back to the fireplace area to pick up my coat. Well, it wasn't there.

Chuck becomes perplexed

After spending considerable time, looking, and re-looking, I became 'perplexed,' the very word used by Webster in describing a predicament.

My afternoon was ruined. I couldn't think of anything else. The loss of my wallet seemed the most devastating -- the endless detail and nuisance of replacing wallet items. Been there -- done that.

Chuck decides to think it through

Returning to my apartment for the umpteenth time I sat down in my recliner, kicked off my shoes, and decided to 'think it through.' Good idea -- far superior to worrying.

It is elementary that since the coat is gone, some ONE is involved. The question is WHO? One thought kept crowding away the others. Since it absolutely is NOT a theft, it seems MOST likely that someone walked away with it on the assumption it was theirs. The simple question now becomes, who is that likely to be. And more importantly how do I go about getting it back without embarrassment, to both him AND me. There is no question but that it is inadvertent.

This will involve some discomfort on my part so I didn't sleep well.

A good friend has a similar coat

A good friend of mine has a sport coat very similar to mine. His was one of the motivators in my purchase a few weeks ago. He frequently removes his coat (as I do) before eating and places it on the floor -- on in an empty chair or a myriad of appropriate places. I believe I am making progress.

I had seen this friend in his customary place. I paid no attention to what he was wearing. I remembered seeing him as he walked by the organ going to his apartment. I don't believe he was wearing a coat, but I have no idea if he was carrying one.

Friend remembers a second friend picking up Chuck's coat

I reported the loss to the managers. They said they would announce it at the evening meal. While I was waiting for supper to be served I told John McCanne about my loss and my thoughts as to the solution. He buoyed my hopes considerably by saying that he remembered seeing this resident walking by the chair, picking up the coat, and leaving. He said, he remembered being momentarily concerned about 'his' picking up 'my' coat but soon disregarded his concern as his not knowing all the facts.

Even with this choice bit of help, the problem is far from solved. It is still a predicament.

The resident was not at the evening meal. He quite often is with his lady friend if he is not somewhere around Tallgrass. The problem now appears quite simple albeit 'difficult,' one of the adjectives Webster used in describing a predicament. Please, you say, what could be difficult in getting MY coat back from a fellow resident of Tallgrass Estates.

Chuck just goes to the door and asks

The darned problem of aging is the culprit! We at Tallgrass are all afflicted. We all do dumb inadvertent things. My problem was how to approach him without embarrassing him and just get my coat back?

The next morning I decided to bite the bullet and just go to his door and present the problem and ask him if he would mind looking for my coat. Well that was what I should have done when I first thought he might have picked it up thinking it was his. He was apologetic and I now have my cashmere sport coat back in my closet and I still count this gentleman one of my best friends at Tallgrass Estates.

Written by Chuck Hinman. From It's Just Me, 2005. Slightly edited by RHS.

This story was posted on 2014-02-16 02:03:07
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