I started out with the best of intentions today.
I’d forgotten, however, that the Powers That Be had decided we needed to start doing weekly office meetings prior to the start of the business day. On Mondays, no less. I know this is for the benefit of the newbies on board, but as someone who is not a newbie, I resent upsetting my morning schedule to come into work even earlier than usual. As such, I forgot to allot time to make breakfast and wound up grabbing a granola bar. Okay, could have been worse. I could have chosen Captain Crunch.
Fine. Off to work I go. Only because we now do the early morning meeting thing, it’s been decided I get out early on Mondays, which yay! for getting out early but… that means I get to work through lunch. Because why stop to eat when I am going to be leaving in an hour, right? So now I’m leaving work at 1 pm, and I’m well beyond peckish and moving into hangry territory.
But it’s okay, because I’m going to stop at the store where they have that new salad bar. I’m going to load up on good, healthy food and pick up a few items while I’m at it. I juggle the flimsy plastic tray while I kick my shopping basket along side me, loading the plate as I go. I am just at the end of the line applying a dash of salad dressing when the plastic gives in the middle and the whole thing dumps down the front of my pants and into my basket sitting on the floor at my feet.
There is salad and dressing everywhere. My planned purchases are covered with bacon bits and cheese. I attempt to wipe up the mess with napkins from the salad bar, but quickly end up with a sticky goo on my hands. A shopping passing by smiles and says, “Don’t take it so hard. It happens to all of us.”
I don’t know what she saw on my face but her words do me in. Tears begin to flow. A staff member comes to help clean up and says, “Having a rough day, dear?”
“No,” I say. “I’m having a rough year.”
And the words threaten to spill out messy and sticky like the salad dressing. I recently lost my cat to heart failure. I lost my mother to an unexpected stroke two weeks later. My dog is dying from cancer. My sister is dying from cancer. Our country is either on the brink of destroying democracy or taking us back into war–or both. Civil rights are being taken back to pre-1950s status. We’re poisoning our planet and the government wants to remove restrictions aimed at slowing that down. And someone has had the gall to be nice to me.
Because kindness is just too much to bear right now.
But I don’t say any of these things. I sniff and wipe my face with the parts of my hands not covered in salad dressing. I see a cute guy looking at me with a worried expression on his face, but instead of offering to help, he tiptoes away like someone who doesn’t want to get involved with the crazy lady snuffling into the California French.
“You can get another salad, sweetie.”
I shake my head. I don’t want another salad. I thank the people who helped me clean up and take the rest of my purchases to the checkout. I don’t want to talk to anyone, so I go to the automatic cashier, only the scanner can’t read my dressing-covered food. I try again and again until I am slamming the items down on the scanner and I have to call someone over to help anyway.
Deep breath. It’s all good. It will be okay.
In the parking lot, I overhear two women speaking of the likelihood of us going to war with Korea. I’m waiting behind them patiently while they put their carts away, but then one of them says, “Well, we’re living in the end times now. Everything that has been predicted in the Bible is coming true now.”
She shrugs, resigned.
I can’t help myself. “Well, there will be some people in the government that are going to have a rude awakening when Jesus comes back,” I snap.
They look at me, blinking slowly like sheep surprised at finding a dog among them that might possibly be a wolf, only they’ve forgotten what wolves really look like. One of them smiles uneasily.
“Jesus,” I say, shoving the cart into the rack with a little more force than necessary, “believed in charity. Jesus believed in taking care of the poor.” My voice rises a little higher, louder. “Jesus believed in health care.”
One of the women laughs. “That he did.”
“And Jesus, ” I said, not yet finished. “Believed you should pay your taxes.”
There is a narrowing of eyes at that, and a little nod. Maybe I got through. Maybe not. But I swear if I hear one more person fatalistically state that the end times have come and there is nothing we can do, I think I shall scream.
Which is why I ended up in the bathroom at McDonald’s, scrubbing the dressing off my hands like Lady MacBeth trying to remove bloodstains. Right before I stuffed my face with a burger and fries.
So no, as a ‘first day’ on a new diet plan went, it was not highly successful. But I didn’t punch anyone, so I count it as a win.
Besides, I am so using this in a story some day. Only it will be funnier, and the cute guy will have the balls to come over and help, and another romance will be born.The realization hit me as I was finishing the last of the fries and my hangry pains faded away. Oh yes. Good stuff here.