Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Like Chinese water torture...

Saturday was a terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad day.

It's not that any one single part of it was that horrid; it was just that steady drip... drip... drip... of minor annoyance piled on minor annoyance that makes you want to climb a clock tower with a sack lunch and a scoped rifle.

It started at midnight, as most days do...

Actually, scratch that. It started about 10:00PM on Friday night. My downstairs neighbors were graciously letting me use their laundry facilities, and I was sitting on the porch reading and waiting for my clothes to finish in the dryer. The sky looked a little ominous, so I took my book upstairs, figuring I'd hear the buzzer through the floor when the clothes were done. I reclined on the bed with my book...

...and was awakened at 2:53AM by the sound of cat #2, Random Numbers, yakking on my leg. Let me tell you, folks, it can be hard to drift off to sleep again once you've elevated the ol' pulse with a bit of cat-punting. Then comes the roller-coaster as the adrenal high of chasing the cat under the futon is replaced by the abyssal low of the realization that you have, like a jerk, left your laundry sitting in your neighbor's dryer, and you don't have a damn thing to wear to work tomorrow. After all that excitement, it can be hard to get back to sleep again, so I sat in front of the computer keyboard, surfed a bit, and dealt with a titanic case of writer's block (you may have noticed the staggering amount of my creative output on Saturday.)

Finally got back to bed at 6:00. The alarm went off at 8:00. This gave me almost thirty more minutes to stare at a blank "New Post" screen and its accusatorially blinking cursor before heading to work in a pair of jeans that had one too many holes to really be dress-code perfect. (Makes it hard to be a good example for the troops. Sigh.) It was raining pitchforks and taxicabs outside, the Beemer had already started leaking, and I arrived at work in a foul mood.

I threw some date-critical mail in the mailbox at work, and went back inside to see if we could organize something in the way of food. Lunch plans rose and fell like bad souffles, while my blood sugar started to make like Evil Knievel halfway across the Snake River canyon. After I'd snapped off one head too many, I decided to strike out on my own for lunch. As I grabbed my purse and jacket, my boss came in with the incoming mail in one hand and a soggy envelope in the other.
"Here. The mailman didn't pick this up."
I felt a primal scream boiling up.
I inquired as to the location of the nearest big blue mailbox, and dashed through the pouring rain to the car. By now, the Beemer was leaking like a sieve, and pouring rain was flooding across the road in the low spots.

I went down Dutchtown road, turned left, and came to a stop. The road ahead was under a foot of swirling, muddy water. Quickly reversing direction, I turned onto Lexington and, Huzzah!, a mailbox! I verified that there was a 6:00PM Saturday pickup, dropped my letter in, got back into the car, pulled back onto the road and as I crested a hill, saw that the road ahead here was also flooded out, complete with a stalled car in the middle of the puddle. I retraced my path, drove past the store, and got out onto Lovell, headed for the Turkey Creek shop-o-rama.

Unfortunately, everone else was also headed for Turkey Creek. I sat in the line of traffic, the water steadily drip-drip-dripping on my left arm, and gnawed on my steering wheel in a vain attempt to remain calm. Finally I made it through the intersection and motored toward the Bear Rock Cafe. After a couple wrong turns in the parking lot, I found a space and jogged through ankle-deep water in the parking lot to get to my vittles, for which I had cleverly phoned ahead.

The herd was lined up at the dine-in register, and so I politely elbowed, kneed, and head-butted my way past them to the register clearly marked "Takeout Orders". I gave my name, received the bag containing my reuben, handed over my Visa and... *BOOOM!* With a flash of lightning and a windowpane-rattling clap of thunder, the lights went out...

...

"Oh, sh..."

The guy in line next to me, apparently recognizing me from work, immediately started up. "Hey, don't say 'oh shoot!'. I'd really be worried if you said 'oh, shoot!'. Get it? If you said 'oh, shoot!'?"

I didn't shoot him. I swear. I have witnesses. Nor did I break down into helpless tears, although the temptation was mighty.

The lights came back on, I paid and left, and got in the car for the boat ride back. Turkey Creek was out of its banks by now, and the traffic lights on Lovell at the I-40 off-ramp and at Lexington were both flashing yellow. By the time I finally got back to the shop with my lukewarm sandwich, I was vibrating like a tuning fork.

That afternoon, a friend called.

"Hello?"

"Hey, Tam! How's your day going?"

If you're reading this, I have a confession to make: We weren't disconnected, I hung up. But there's your answer.

10 comments:

cleanhead said...

Tam,

Get you some fried pies and keep them in the glovebox in case of this type emergency caloric requirement. Or some peanuts. Thats how we stay alive in the wilds of west Texas until the next town and food pieces become available.

BobG said...

http://img159.imageshack.us/
img159/855/restraintsxp2.jpg

phlegmfatale said...

Some days, the universe sets its constituent elements to vex me. This is to be expected on occasion, and I carry on by thinking what a big, stupid universe it is. The people who act in collusion with that vexation, however, I have a harder time forgiving.
But sometimes it makes for a great read, like this post.

Kristopher said...

Hmmm ... one of those "must ... destroy ... planet" days.

David said...

I thought I heard an earth shattering kaboom yesterday.

Anonymous said...

just rememebr, it ain't cancer.

as long as it's not cancer, you're good.

pax said...

Some days are like that.

Even in Australia.

Art Eatman said...

Lordy, child! If you didn't have bad luck, you wouldn't have any luck at all!

Art

MarkHB said...

Geeeshhhhh.... yeah, I know the ones like that.

On the bright side, you're not on fire. Of course, I say that with the safe knowledge of being about 6,000 miles out of range...

Caimlas said...

This is why I've started keeping an MRE, a box of granola bars (NOT those worthless 'breakfast bars' which are 60% corn syrup and fluff - these have weight!), a container of trail mix, and a couple 1 liter bottles of water (in addition to several gallons of 'emergency' water and other emergency supplies for longer trips). Being of high metabolism, they get replaced fairly frequently. And the MREs are both healthier and cheaper than McD's or BK.