Monday, February 21, 2011
COLUMN: Bad Day
Some days it just doesn't pay to get out of bed.
I woke up today in a fairly optimistic mood. The weekend was spent cleaning (and, let's be honest, belatedly de-Christmasing) the house and notching another charity trivia night victory in the belt. The birds were singing, the cats were purring, and sunshine was streaking through the window. It was a "Zip a Dee Doo Dah" kinda morning. Little did I know that the soundtrack of the day should have been more like Norweigan death metal.
On most mornings, I find myself spending 2.5 minutes running into the gas station for coffee and provisions, and on most mornings I find myself getting to work 2.5 minutes late to face the evil deathstare of my boss. But on this particular day, I thought ahead. Coffee and provisions were already waiting for me in the refrigerator, and I congratulated myself on this newfound maturity and early arrival to work.
Of course, when I arrived at work, one side of the parking lot was blocked by a utility truck, ergo I had to drive the long way around to the other entrance... to find it blocked by a partially unloaded tractor-trailer. By the time I sorted out how to get IN the parking lot, I was 2.5 + 2.5 minutes late to my desk.
As I tried super hard to avoid the aforementiond evil death stare, I noticed the blinking light of my voicemail, letting me know a message was waiting. Awesome, I thought. Maybe I'd score a new sale right away. Maybe it was someone calling to say how much they loved this column. Nnnnope. Instead, it was a message from some yahoo -- excuse me, I mean, some CHERISHED LOYAL SUBSCRIBER OF OUR PAPERS -- who took offense at last week's football-related column. I'm gonna take a wild stab and guess they're a Packers fan. I'll spare you the details, but it ended with the guy inferring I would spend eternity in Hell, calling me "pitiful," and hanging up. Neat-o!
Now, there's a lot of things one can brace oneself for at 8:30 in the morning. Being told that you're destined for Hell? Didn't see that one coming. Normally, my usual response to something like this would be to sit indignantly and mutter phrases like "Well, I never!" and "The nerve!" while fantasizing about crafting the perfect incendiery vitriolic rebuttal e-mail that would likely cost me my job. But as I sat there trying to get a good mutter on, my eyes kept focusing on a few unrelated numbers and words on the QCOnline.com homepage in front of me. Namely, the numbers "12-18" and the words "inches," "snow," and "tomorrow." Say WHAT?
As you'll recall, last week's column was about forcing my girlfriend the football-hater to suffer through the Bears' NFC Championship defeat. Well, THIS weekend Amy got her revenge by making me sit through countless reruns of "Desperate Housewives," a 100% girly show that, thanks to her, I am now sadly 100% addicted to. This would have made for a funny column of its own -- except for one thing. Because we spent all weekend plugged into reruns on Netflix, I missed the fact that Weatherpocalypse (dubbed better by someone on Facebook as The Snow-torious B.I.G.) was bearing down on the Quad Cities.
At work, as in life, we all have roles to fill, and one of the roles I dutifully perform is that of Weather Worry-Wart. If there's even a cloud looming in the sky, I'm the one to pronounce it The Greatest Storm in the History of the Midwest and spend much of the work day staring at radar screens and informing coworkers of our eminent demise. Well, here it was, a storm that really MIGHT be The Greatest Storm in the History of the Midwest, and I didn't even know it was coming. I immediately went into panic mode.
Provisions? Check. Snow shovel? Check. Rock salt? Check. Candles? Check. Flashlight? Well, it's around here someplace. In all honesty, I'd just gone grocery shopping and I'm pretty much fine for about the next 14 days of food, but my brain still wants to hoard. "Do I have enough oranges? I don't want to get scurvy!" I don't even eat oranges.
The one thing I didn't have, though, was enough Coke to see me through a possible snow-in, so after I got off work, I hustled to the drug store for some soda. On the way out, I saw the shining neon of nearby fast food and decided to buy my girlfriend and I one last pre-apocalypse meal. I called her up for input.
"Hey, I'm gonna buy dinner at [an un-named fast-food restaurant that specializes in fried chicken.] What do you want?"
"Ooh, make sure you get cole slaw!"
No problem. I pulled into the drive-thru lane and placed my order. After a lengthy wait, I made it to the window, paid for our meal, and then was greeted with this:
"Uhhh, sir? We outta chicken."
"Um, okay," I said. "Like, as in, altogether out? Like you maybe shouldn't be open or taking people's money?"
"One moment." Slam! goes the little window. Two minutes pass and she returns.
"Oh, don't worry, we found some. But, umm, we out of cole slaw."
I don't know what was more disturbing - the fact that they were out of cole slaw or the fact that they "found" some chicken. Found it WHERE, precisely? Still, I took a deep breath and settled for some corn on the cob. "Okay, sir." Slam!
Two minutes later: "Umm, sir, while I was tellin' you that we was out of cole slaw, we ran outta corn. How about some green beans?"
At this point, I just wanted out of there. "Yeah, that's fine," I said. Slam!
Two minutes later, and I swear to you I'm not making this up: "I am SO sorry, sir, but we're out of green beans."
So my last meal pre-Snowgeddon consisted of some "found" chicken, cold mashed potatoes, and some congealed mac-&-cheese, which appeared to be the only menu item actually in stock at the restaurant. Mmmmmmmmmmm.
Who knows what the future may hold. By now, you know the answer, but as I write this, the snow is just beginning to fall. Maybe the big one will miss us entirely. Maybe we're about to get a record dumping. Maybe I'll catch scurvy. Maybe the restaurant will find the rest of its lost chicken. Maybe I'll spend eternity in Hell for hoping the Packers get crushed by Pittsburgh.
For now? I'm going back to bed.