I recently found a crumpled piece of paper in an old binder that I haven’t handled in years. The paper had written on it, notes from a day that was so bad that I knew I would need to recall it someday, for some reason.
This is the story of that day.
I woke up around 8:00am that morning with a full bladder. I should preface this by stating that my wife and I had spent the previous night making love. This in and of itself was a rarity as we were navigating rocky emotional straits that would inevitably culminate in D-I-V-O-R-C-E.
So. I barely made it across the hall to the bathroom, got the seat up and gushed into the toilet…NOT! Let’s just say that I’d forgone the usual post-whoopie ritual of washing up. Totally spent, the Mrs. and I just rolled over and slept. The price I paid was that the plumbing exhibited a distinct malfunction. While my aim was true, the trajectory went askew. (Kind of sounds like the title of a country song, doesn’t it?) So here I am doing the pee-pee dance and pissing everywhere BUT the bowl. Ever try to stanch the stream when you’ve got to go that bad?
After cleaning up, I needed a shower. I failed to notice that the shower head was pointed directly at me as I turned on the water and I got a baptism in ice cold water. My immediate reaction was to slap at the nozzle to alter the water’s flow. However,as soon as my hand hit the plumbing the whole fixture snapped off. INSIDE the wall, naturally. The result was that I had to take a bath instead of a shower. Something I would never do by choice.
In the bedroom, preparing to dress, I emptied the pockets of the pants I’d worn the previous day and got out a clean pair and donned them. On the dresser was the usual inner-pocket stuff that guys carry about with them; wallet, comb, change, pocket knife, etc. But there was something that I’d carried for quite a few years since I’d found it years before on the streets of Pueblo, Colorado. It was an Indian head nickel with a with a double print on the buffalo side. I was in the habit of putting that in my pocket last. Not for any particular reason, just an idiosyncrasy.
Now, the house we were renting at the time was an old miller’s house from the middle of the 1800’s. It was quaint and rustic and charming and falling apart. It had pine-wood floors and as it happens, right next to where I kept my drawing table there was a crack maybe one quarter by three inches. As I picked up my lucky piece, it slipped from my grasp, hit the floor and rolled. I watched in amazement and some level of trepidation as it rolled toward that crack, my mind was telling me that it was WAY too small a target and that I couldn’t make that shot if my life depended on it.
Waiting patiently for the coin to cease rolling I watched in horror as it dropped out of sight into the crack as if it were the all-consuming maw of some volcanic chasm. I stood there impotently for some moments before I was able to reconcile the loss.
Finally I went downstairs to the kitchen, told my wife what had happened with the shower and was summarily accused of heavy-handedness and letting my temper rule my actions. Not quite that politely either. I told her that it was something that I could fix and that I needed to go to the hardware store. It seemed the shower wasn’t really the issue anyway and she stormed out leaving me to fix my own breakfast.
I have, for years, worn my keys on a chain clipped to my my belt loop This day was no exception. As I rose from the table to clear my breakfast dishes THE TERRIBLE THING happened.
My wife was always fond of antique things and our place was full of them. On the table was an antique lace tablecloth and as the centerpiece, an equally antique pitcher and bowl (if memory serves). I don’t know whether to attribute it to karma, biorhythms or just dumb luck (or the lack thereof), but at that moment my keys snagged that delicate webbing and brought the whole aged tableau crashing to the floor in a cacophony of antique distress which brought my wife winging into the kitchen like a harpy on a wind of insults and accusations.
Now I am no innocent and at this point I responded to the rancor with a brew of my own inappropriate retorts and eventually left the house with a huff and a slammed front door. I decided that I was going to go to the hardware store and then to the bar to drown my sorrows and be with friends.
After getting the shower head and pipe to make the repairs to the shower, I was left with under ten dollars. Not enough to hit the bar for any length of time.In those days we didn’t have debit cards and I’d be damned if I was going home to get the checkbook, which was usually in my wife’s possession anyway.
I decided to get a pint of Old Overholt Rye Whiskey and see a movie.
On the way to the liquor store it began storming something awful. The high wind had brought down a tree limb and because of the torrential rain I didn’t see it until the last minute.
Well, you know what this tale is all about so I’ll spare the graphics. Suffice to say it required a tire change and no small amount of cussing and dashboard punching.
By the time the deed was done I was the image of the proverbial drowned rat.
I did manage to get to the liquor store in time to get my medicine, which I paid for with thoroughly waterlogged currency. .At the theater I was fortunate enough to get a parking spot right by the door. “Alright”, I thought to myself, “Maybe things are looking up”. I’d stashed my little whiskey bottle in my left pocket of my leathers and as I was exiting the car I turned in such a way as to dislodge it sending it hurtling to the ground to smash pathetically on the hard pavement of the parking lot.
There I stood, the most dejected of souls, rain pouring down. I gazed forlornly at the shattered remains fighting the patently unmanly urge to cry, the Everly Brother’s “Crying In The Rain” playing in my head
Nothing for it now but to keep a stiff upper lip and go see the movie. At least there would be other souls there and from what I’d heard, the movie (Young Sherlock Holmes) had good effects and some highly humorous moments. I went to the booth only to be told I was thirty five cents short. In my minds eye I saw myself reaching into that little hole in the glass and pulling that chubby little bastard through it like the scene in Goldfinger where the villain gets sucked out the jet portal. Of course what I did instead was go back into the car and rifle through the ash tray, glove box (where the piece of yellow paper at the story’s outset came from) and under the seats. I came up with thirty three cents. I went back to the booth, slapped it down and the self-righteous, smug little dry and warm prick looked out over the top of his smudged taped-together glasses and slurred “Still two cents short.”
I lost it. I grabbed at the sides of that three inch porthole as if I’d be able to stretch it, shoved my mouth against it and screamed, “Give me the mother-fucking ticket, you worthless piece of shit!” Admittedly it was slightly less eloquent than I’d like to recall, but it’s the truth.
And it worked.
Inside the theater it became evident why I’d gotten the prime parking spot. Nobody else was there. I believe I’ve never felt so hopelessly alone before or since. I was the only one attending my pity-party. I just stood there for a moment and then started to laugh uncontrollably. If the ushers or projectionist could hear me, I’m sure they’d have been convinced they had a lunatic on their hands. Certainly the guy in the ticket booth would lend testimony.
Anyway I did stay to watch the movie and all I’d been told about it was born out.
Ever have one of those days?
I find that If the average person stops to think about the absurdities of life, we’ll all find ourselves with a glossary of potentially great literature.