We’ve all seen this scene:

There is a jungle path, down which strolls a naïve protagonist—probably wearing a pith helmet or safari hat, and definitely wearing khaki. pithhelmet

Said protagonist is ever-busy gazing at the jungle wonders, checking his trail map, and being on alert for poisonous snakes and head-sized mosquitoes. As such, it’s a coin toss whether our would-be hero will be looking at the ground with enough attention to see what is obvious to all of us: there’s a spot in the trail coming up that doesn’t look right.

Too many branches with too many leaves are gathered in one area just a few steps ahead, and from what we all know of jungle trails, that can only mean one thing. Those branches are just providing rough cover for a pit-style trap—obvious to those paying full attention to where they’re going…but for those who aren’t…a one-way ticket to being a featured buffet item at a cannibal Quinceañera.

We can all see the trap, easily. We’re not caught up in the wonders of the jungle, and the trap is really pretty obvious if you just take a second to look at it. You can see the pit’s inescapable darkness right through the branches there. Honestly, you’d have to be either oblivious or really really distracted to miss something like that.

But then again, the jungle savages wouldn’t keep making those traps if there weren’t people who fell for them. (And into them.)

All of which has me wondering: should I rent a storage unit again?

I’m kidding, of course.

I already rented it.

Let me explain. (I’ll raise my voice so you can hear me from down here.)

OK, I guess I don’t have a good explanation. But I do have an escape plan.

Well, I’m working on a plan. I have an outline. A draft outline. Not written down, but…

Did I mention the first month is only one dollar? Well, twenty-one with the application fee, but still…

Is it cold up there? It’s kind of cold down here. And dark. But I’m pretty sure I can find a way out in time.

Not in time for the next month’s bill, no…but maybe before the one after that. Well, probably not, but almost definitely before the next one.

So I’ll probably only have to pay about 200 bucks to store all that stuff that I’m going to give away or throw out.

Wait a minute—that didn’t sound right. Let me try that again:

I’ll probably only have to pay about 200 bucks to store all that stuff I’ve been carrying around for the past decade or two.

That can’t be it. The cold and the dark down here might be getting to me. I can get it…hang on:

I’ll probably only have to pay about 200 bucks to store all that stuff I don’t really want anymore.

Hmmm…I’m starting to think I may have made a misstep somewhere along the way. Because none of those make much sense at all.

I feel like just a few minutes ago, our protagonist was innocently walking down a jungle path or something. (I’m not totally sure; I was kind of in a rush.) Now suddenly this is all about me, and I’m 21 bucks poorer, and in some cold, dark place, where it feels like a million things have come to die.

I’m carrying something down a concrete hallway, begrudgingly. I look down to see that it’s the big banker’s box of papers and effects from a one-time ground-breaking event I helped put on…12 years ago. I find myself struck by a sense of déjà vu, and then realize that it’s actually just memory. I carried this same box down this same hallway about 4 years ago, and slid it into an identical concrete-and-steel box about 80 feet away from here.

Next up, my crates of books—also all repeat visitors to the cold hallway. Next—two big boxes of clothes that I’m going to give away (but I didn’t get around to it before I left). Next—a bunch of other crap I’m going to give away. Next—a bunch of other crap I already stored and unstored 4 years ago. Next—a huge box of cassette tapes, which I’m totally going to sort through and digitize one of these days…

Hey, did somebody say something about a trap a little bit ago? I’ve been kinda jumbled and distracted, so maybe I’m wrong, but I could have sworn I heard something about a trap. And a buffet. Is there a buffet coming up?

Lance Brown can be found at http://lancebrown.org. Archives of his column can be found here.

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Photo credit:

Aden Pattern Pith Helmet by Billy1847