I'm not bragging when I say I know a thing or two about running in ice and snow. Amidst the other, mostly-useless knowledge in my brain is a chart of exactly how to titrate my clothing as the temperature falls past freezing. This is, coincidentally, the only time I pay any attention whatsoever to fashion.
To further this goal, I also own a number of articles of clothing that have no apparent purpose other than keeping you alive during a jog in -10F while the wind howls off Lake Michigan like a scorned god. One of those pieces of gear is the balaclava, known colloquially as ninja- or bank-robber mask (see right).
I actually own two balaclavas, a main and an emergency backup balaclava. Having two means I can alternate them on days when I run twice (The importance of dry headwear in subzero temperatures was revealed to me long ago when a damp hat literally froze to my hair).
To the narrative: This weekend, I decided to go for a second run. With my primary balaclava still drying in the bathroom, I grab the backup and force it over my head. It doesn't fit. I spin it around and try again, to no avail. After a full minute of gamely struggling to properly seat the garment on my giant noggin, I give up and pull the balaclava off to reposition it. It is at this point I learn that I am not holding my reserve balaclava, but rather a pair of Susan's Eleve dance shorts, size medium.
Saying thanks to the fact that no one else was home to witness me attempting to force women's clothing onto my head, I began an earnest search for my reserve balaclava, which has gone missing. Five minutes later, I'm still having no luck. I consider using my primary balaclava, but I don't exactly fancy wrapping my head in what is essentially a still-soppy microfiber burrito. The search continues.
Puzzling over the matter, I quickly ruled out the maid, the cats and deliberate sabotage by Susan. As I stroke my chin, it occurred to me that this thing was likely the closest I'd ever get to a full-blown mystery. The Case of the Missing Balaclava.
How would Sherlock Holmes solve this? Not by aimlessly prancing around looking under the bed. He'd use his brain and so would I. No pressure.
The clothes hamper, perhaps? The last refuge of the stray and discarded textile?
Before I'd even searched it, it became apparent that no answers would be found in that wicker basket. No, the solution to this case lay in the simple fact that that I'd attempted to put the shorts on my head.
They were hanging in the bathroom. I mistook them for my headwear. Honest.
But why? Think Noah!
Because... because the shorts were the same size, material and color as my balaclava.
And if I could make that mistake... couldn't someone else as well?
In a flash, I knew I had all the information I needed to find my missing garment. I stomped into our bedroom and headed directly for Susan's dance bag, where I found my reserve balaclava... packed and ready to go for her ballet class later that afternoon.
What are the chances that two different people mistake two very different articles of clothing for their own at virtually the same time? I'd guess not so good. Nevertheless, if one rules out all other solutions, the only remaining solution, however improbable, must be correct.
Deftly, I plucked my chapeau from the bag and replaced it ever-so-carefully with the shorts. My sub rosa substitution complete, I donned my seemly headdress and slipped quietly into the wintry hell of Chicago.
Noah's Inner Monologue
Scribblings of a man who can barely operate an idiotproof website.