Saturday, August 27, 2011

By the pricking of my thumb, something CRANKY this way comes

A few weeks ago, there was a morning that should have been like any other Monday morning. I had just returned from an amazing weekend down in Oregon where I got to see my extended family that I had not seen in many many years. It was a long weekend, with lots of hours spent in the car, but it was well worth it.

I did not know it at the time but there was some sort of shift in the space/time continuum that night that made it so that the side of the bed I've been getting up on for the last 34 years to be the wrong side of the bed. I was understandably tired after my long weekend, but that could in no way have prepared me for the day ahead.

You may have felt that tingling feeling that lifts the hairs on the back of your neck, the one you get when you know something is going to happen. You probably had no idea why you felt that way, but I can tell you now, that it was all me. Geologists and seismologists were nervously checking their instruments and sensors all day, because they too noticed the charge in the air. Dogs were scratching at doors, and horses cantered around their paddocks, all trying to escape the impending eruption that they somehow sensed was coming.

I got to work, and the very first interaction I had made me so inexplicably cranky that I had to bite my tongue and walk away. As I proceeded through my day, I tried my hardest to avoid people, which is no easy feat when you work in retail. I worked on placing our order, and kept taking deep breaths to try and stay pleasant, or at least civil.

Then I got called to rental to deal with a customer who was complaining about the price of a rental. At this moment in my mind there were all sorts of warning bells and lights going off, warning this poor unsuspecting guy to run. It was sort of like the scenes you see in any submarine movie when an impact is imminent. There were red lights strobing around and that "Wooop Woooop Wooop!!!" alarm going off. The guy rented a machine for the full day (24 hour rental) and brought it back after 6 hours, and wanted to only pay the 4 hour rental. I tried to explain that the minimum rental period is for anywhere up to 4 hours on same day return. A 6 hour rental did not fall into that category and therefore was not eligible for the minimum rate. He proceeded to argue with me. (Foolish mortal.) At this point I was (in my mind of course) envisioning being able to annihilate him with laser beams from my eyes, like the Second Oracle in The Neverending Story. The customer told me what he was willing to pay, and expected me to refund him almost the entire difference between what he had paid and the minimum. I did some figuring and finally came up with an amount that I would credit him, which was more than he wanted to pay, but still something I could live with.

He left, feeling like he'd won some huge victory, and I stood there seething and knowing that next time I needed to swing a heavy object, like the digging bar, or another garden tool, he would be taking the place of Binocular Lady.

There were a few other incidents that day that had me scrambling to hold on to the frayed edges of my temper. As I drove home that night I fully expected to hear news bulletins on the radio about how scientists were watching all the dormant volcanoes in our state due to the intense amount of seismic activity along the fault line that day, but no such bulletin was issued.

Several days later, I was able to look back at that day and acknowledge the miniscule possibility that there could have perhaps been some sort of shall we say hormonal factors at play that day. We'll never know for sure, but what we can be sure of is that the residents of Washington State skirted a huge disaster that day, the day that Mt. St. Stephanie almost erupted!

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