Yesterday, whilst writing and simultaneously eating lunch (always dicey given my motor skills), I bit into a sandwich and promptly felt a distinctly wrong crunch that had nothing to do with chicken and cheese. It was, in fact, my tooth, which had broken off and was now lying on my napkin looking up at me as if to say, “Don’t look at me. I wasn’t the one who left her mouth guard in a hotel room.” (I am a “grinder” according to my dentist. Yeah, that’s sexy, isn’t it? Hi, nice to meet you, I’m a teeth grinder.)
So instead of working on BOVINE (which has now entered the lockdown portion of my deadline protocol), I spent today at the dentist. This in and of itself would have been enough to edge me into a scowly state. I suppose I should have known shizz was going down when I read my horoscope:
“Even on this longest day of the year, you may have to go through a dark night of the soul as you question the meaning of your life.”
Say what? What kind of horoscope is that? Does the astrologer need an anti-depressant? Is he/she reading too much Camus? I demand a rewrite. Here’s the horoscope I want:
“Good news, foxy lady! It should be all unicorns and rainbows today. Don’t be surprised if you’re walking down the sunny side of the street and the world is like one big Technicolor musical–and YOU know every song and dance step! How awesome is it to be you? High-five!”
No, I’m willing myself into having a fantabulous day, I said, as I tripped over the laundry basket on the way to the fridge where I discovered the Keebler Elves had not visited in the middle of the night bringing groceries for child’s school lunch, and I was going to have to convince him that a cheese stick, stale goldfish, and an “Over the HIll” birthday napkin does constitute a nutritious meal every fourth grader’s lining up for. Just then, I heard the child say, “EWWWWW! GROSS!” I thought maybe he had accidentally turned on Fox News, but no–he’d stepped in cat poop. Yes, cat poop.
“Mom! The cat pooped on the floor,” he said, because we believe in stating the obvious in this household. And then I noticed that it wasn’t just one spot; the kitten had managed to become a veritable scat artist while we slept, the Jackson Pollack of kitty poo. Let’s just say, we were late to school this morning because there was a whole lotta mopping going on.
I think any day that starts with cleaning up kitty poo before breakfast, a broken tooth, and a horoscope of despair is sliding downhill fast. Then there was this:
BOY: Can I stay home from school today?
MOM: No. I have to go to the dentist.
BOY: I can go with you.
MOM: (looking up from the steaming kitty poo to squint meaningfully in his direction) Could we not do this now?
BOY: I hate school!
MOM: Awesome, that’s great practice for hating your job later.
MOM: You only have four more days of school left.
BOY: (lying on couch) Feels like forever.
MOM: Walk it off.
BOY: I could go with you to the dentist. I don’t mind.
MOM: (still on hunt for errant cat scat) Okay. I’ll probably be in the chair for a good four hours, so you’ll need to sit in the waiting room and entertain yourself somehow. But no DS. Only books.
BOY: (long, long sigh) Fine. I’ll go to school.
Yes, raising lifelong readers. That’s what we do.
Took the train during rush hour. Now, please don’t misunderstand me–I love tourists. Thank you for coming to my city and boosting our economy. Really. But could we establish a few quick ground rules? Please do not stop at the top or bottom of moving escalators. That is all. Carry on.
After navigating serpentine style through the throngs of people who must walk five abreast on narrow NYC sidewalks while also talking on their cellphones, I made it to my dentist’s office. I spent the next two hours with my mouth propped open by gobs of cotton with a suction thingy hanging off my bottom lip and drool pooling in my throat (hey–snap that holiday card photo now!), and then my tooth was fixed (hooray!), and my dentist chided me about the mouth guard and said I have to go in again on Tuesday to have another one made, and I suddenly felt like I was in seventh grade and had accidentally thrown away my retainer along with my cafeteria tray. Plus, I’m looking at another day of work gone when I am supposed to be on total lockdown. Argh. (I’m grinding my teeth just writing this.)
I decided to pop into a store to buy a few quick t-shirts. Except that it wasn’t quick because everything was hung way high up, and I kept having to jump to try to dislodge the shirts from the hangers and mostly succeeded in knocking the hangers off and beaning myself in the head. Also, the Medium fairies had absconded with the medium sizes in every shirt I wanted. “I have a small and an extra-large?” the salesgirl said, and the sad thing is, I know she meant to be helpful. Finally, I find something and get in line, whereupon I meet the Salesgirl from Hell.
Now, let me preface this by saying that I have worked retail. And food service. And fast food. And telemarketing (shudder). And really all sorts of soul-sucking jobs that put you directly into the line of fire for disgruntled customer types who would not be satisfied if you performed self-immolation while also juggling small dogs. I know the drill. I would never, ever want to be that annoying customer, the one who seems to confuse “service” with “servant.” Word. So believe me when I say that Attitude Girl, as I am now going to call her, had to work reeeally hard to get on my last good nerve.
First of all, she says to me, “WAIT!” as if she’s talking to a dog. And considering I hadn’t moved, it was somewhat unnecessary. Then, she takes my items and starts flipping through them as if I’m the stupid cow who is DOING IT ALL WRONG and making her life a living hell just for having matter and taking up space.
“How many items do you have?” she says, clearly annoyed.
“Um, eight,” I answer.
“Well, you can only take in five.”
“Sure. Okay. I’ll take those five,” I say, pointing to the five I want.
She does not give me those five.
“Actually, I want to take those pants in with me. Thanks.” I’m still smiling. So you know.
She puts her hand on her hip and ROLLS HER EYES–I kid you not–and says, “All you had to do was say so.”
Now, my friends, it is very important in life to take the high road. To turn the other cheek, use the force, and say, “These are not the droids you’re looking for; they’re free to go.” To think of your karma in the larger scheme of life. And I sincerely hope I get the chance to do that someday, if only to make up for this. Because I must confess to you that all I could think was, “Oh sweetheart, you are going down.” To quote Fried Green Tomatoes: “I’m older and I have more insurance.”
My smile only got wider–some might say manic–as I said, “You bet. Thank you SO MUCH.” And then, as she started to walk away, this, “Oh, you know what? Excuse me, Miss? Actually, can I trade this shirt out for one of my other items, please? Thank you! You are soooo helpful.” Big, big smile. Two minutes later: “Excuse me, Miss? Do you have this in a medium? Would you mind looking? Thanks a million!” Five minutes later: “Hi? Whenever you get a sec, I’d like to hand you these pants and take that shirt. No. The other shirt. Yeah, that one. Oh, I am sooo sorry. I meant the other one back there. You are the absolute BEST! Thanks.” And finally:
ME: “Where would you like me to put these?”
ATT. GIRL: (staring daggers) “You don’t want any of those?”
ME: (smiling like the cover of a self-help book, which, by the way, totally pawns daggers) “No. They didn’t work. But thanks so much for all of your help. Have a GREAT day!”
Some people profess not to be made of evil. I am not one of those people. Especially not today.
This is why I am now sitting on my couch, having cake for lunch. No protein. No vegetables. No fruit. No pretense. Just straight-up cake eaten right out of the bakery box with a plastic fork. Because if I’m going to be staring down a “dark night of the soul” on this, “the longest day of the year,” you can bet your keister I’m not doing it without sugar.