#BlogBattle Week 30 “Reach” Theme
Why is it every time I’m in a hurry something has to go wrong? I can never make it out the door without a semi-catastrophic event occurring. And I’m not talking about the little stuff like dropping my travel mug full of coffee on the floor only have it pour out, seeping into the carpet. I have to stop there. Just thinking of the smell that’ll leave behind makes my stomach lurch.
No, I’m talking end-of-the-world, could-anything-worse-go-wrong stuff.
I’ve got a twenty-minute drive to work, and I always give myself that extra half-hour buffer for crazy traffic and walking in to the building. But the other day, I was within reach of my daily travel goal when the stupidest thing happened.
It was one of those catastrophes I mentioned earlier.
I was up and at ’em at my regular hour, had my shower, threw my hair up, and ate my bagel. I even had time to stop for a fancy cup o’ joe at the local cafe, so I grabbed my stuff and headed out the door, thinking, yipee, I get to have that peppermint mocha I’ve been craving.
The coffee shop is five minutes from work, fifteen from my apartment. I was half way to the quaint establishment, my taste buds anticipating that sweet, bitter drink, when I realized I left my charts and graphs at home on the table next to the door. Enter unnecessary expletive here.
The kid in me wanted to whine and cry, say forget it, and go get my coffee, but the adult in me knows there are a lot of people relying on my charts to get them through another day. So, after a good amount of grumbling, at the next light, I did a U-ee to the great dismay of a few disgruntled drivers who had no problem finding their horns and using their fingers to convey a few messages of distress.
It’s all in a day’s work. I’m good at causing distress, and I had no problem talking to them all with pleasant words of retaliation as I glared back in my rear-view mirror, which was probably mistake number twenty.
I finally felt vindicated in my ranting and looked back at the road only to come face to face with the wide, horror-filled eyes of a pedestrian in the street. Thankfully, I had enough space but an ever-diminishing measure of cool-headedness to slam on the brakes, but not before the gal passed out in the middle of the street. I’m not kidding either. She literally dropped like stone.
I forgot to turn on my hazards, but I did yank my key from the ignition and hopped out of the car. Now wouldn’t you know it, there was a sewer grate right there. Here’s where I proved my nickname, Butterfingers Betty, was all too appropriate, because no sooner had I jumped out of my car than the key jumped out of my hand and right into the gaping maw of the detestable depths of the city’s rank underground.
Insert cartoon, slow-mo Noooooooo with fingers reaching, grasping, in useless effort at thin air and eyes bulging from my face. It was that good.
Dilemma: Do you attempt a reach for the keys or make sure the woman you came close to running over is in fact alive and well?
I stared down into that grate, but the honks and yells brought my attention back to the poor lady crumpled in front of my car.
Turns out she’s a con artist. Since there were plenty of witnesses who saw she hadn’t been hit and was jay-walking, as soon as a guy dialed 911 and mentioned her prone in the street, her beady little eyes opened, she sat up, said, “All’s well that ends well,” and scurried away down the alley.
The guy on his phone with the emergency operator and I stared at each other. I shook my head with my mouth hanging open. He shrugged his shoulders and explained to the person on the other end of the line what happened.
It took another shake of my head to clear the fog of shock, but I soon realized my car was in middle of the street, my keys were down the drain, and time was ticking.
I scrambled back around my car and dropped to my knees, my nose almost touching the metal of drain. The smell of rotting leaves, dirty water, and refuse assaulted my senses, but I blinked and held my breath while I did a frantic visual search.
It was there on a ledge, a foot down. My instinct was to slide my fingers between the grate, but I couldn’t reach the key, no matter how hard I pressed against the unforgiving metal.
When the cop showed up and planted his feet in front of my bent head, I couldn’t exactly ignore him. Well, that was fun. After he and I had a long conversation about being responsible he gave me a ride home to grab my spare key, because no amount of reaching was getting that key out of the drain.
On the way I called the office to let them know I’d be late, but no one bothered to call me back, and by that moment I was sure I’d get the ax when I showed up. No amount of huffing and puffing will save you from a morning catastrophe’s snowball effect.
Well, then I got to be a spectacle to my neighbors when that cop escorted me home. We headed back and got to see the traffic hell I’d left with my car in the street, and I still forgot to grab my charts.
When I finally arrived at work, out of breath and looking like I’d been through the ringer, I waved my charts in the air. My boss looked me up and down, said, “You’re late, Betty. Bob presented and won the bid.”
And the moral of my story: Coffee is evil.
I love coffee. *sigh*