I consider myself to be a rational man, to the extent that if things go my way, I tend to be fairly easy-going. In actuality, I don’t tend to “lose it” very often, or for very long, when life becomes contentious. The waves of misfortune have crashed over me ceaselessly since I could crawl, so like a pebble in the surf, I am smooth as glass; the rough edges of my disposition have long since worn away.
Except every Monday.
As I mentioned earlier (see Part 1), Monday and I don’t get along. She is a weekly reminder that the carefree, What Shall I do for Fun Today lives of the independently wealthy are reserved for those with money. Moreover, she seems to take devilish delight in vexing me at every turn; I can’t recall the last Monday in which indentureship brought me joy or even satisfaction from a job well done. Still, as a Christian man I am called to forgive those who trespass against me; I resolved, therefore, to extend Monday the olive branch of peace so that I might always become the engaging, devil-may-care human so many clamor to be around from Tuesday through Sunday.
This past Monday I lay in bed, pondering as I do each morning the steps necessary to hoist my considerable self into a roughly vertical position with greatest efficiency and least crackling of bones and startled tendons so as not to wake my wife. Unintentional toot notwithstanding, I did so with measurable success; I resolved that this positive start was portend to a Monday filled with possibility. She and I were to become fast friends from this week forward.
The footboard of our bed is a marvel of design, in the fashion of the Spanish Grand Inquisition and from Sear’s splendid Torquemada Chamber Collection. Otherwise rectangular in shape, its upper corners extend outwards like axe blades laid on their sides. As I pulled on my work shorts in the dark, teetering on one leg like a (big, fat) stop sign in a hurricane, I managed to run the shin of the other leg down the edge of the board from upper ankle to knee. The skin came off in tight curls, like that of a pared apple. Somehow, strangely, my wife woke up. I whispered whimpering apologies through clenched teeth for the spontaneous and colorful exclamations that had announced to her the dawning day, and stumbled to the bathroom.
I refused to let this mishap stand in the way of what would surely be the best Monday in memory; after all, while I sat on the toilet and screamed unmentionables into a towel, the dog had licked the blood and bits of shredded flesh from my shin and the blinding pain had withdrawn to a steady and dull ache. I washed up and resolved to embrace the coming day. I let the dog outside into the back yard and went through the side gate and into the front yard to retrieve the morning paper.
At this point it would be prudent for me to explain that I am a tenderfoot; that is to say, my feet are tender. On occasion, I’ll step on a small pebble or Eucalyptus seed on my front driveway and drop quicker than a white heavyweight boxer. If I try to put shoes on before going to get the paper, my dog will whine and yelp as though hit by a shovel (I know this, because she makes exactly the same sounds when I hit her with a shovel); she’ll wake the entire household and half the neighborhood. As I waddled out for the paper, I scanned the concrete in front of me, hyper-vigilant to avoid anything that might hurt my delicate platforms.
I don’t know how I missed it; perhaps it blew across my path as I looked further ahead. I stomped neanderthalically upon a goathead, which jabbed itself to the hilt into the ball of my foot (why there was a goat loose in my neighborhood and why it couldn’t keep better track of its noggin are both questions for the ages); I dropped faster than my last stock pick and let loose an unbridled verbal assessment of my predicament. The little kid who waits for the school bus across the street likely made an impression on his teacher later that day with his newly expanded vocabulary, resulting in an extremely awkward and confusing parent/teacher conference and which hopefully explained the later home visit from Child Protective Services.
After a hearty breakfast and extremely gratifying morning constitutional, my attitude was once again hopeful. I climbed into my truck to begin the workday and slid into the seat – literally. Where I sit is really more a crisscross of metal bars and wire; the actual cushioned seat one expects in a motorized conveyance had long since eroded and disappeared. I cover them with an old t-shirt, both to offer some protection to my nether regions and to hide the shameful sight from those who have no business looking into my truck in the first place.
Often my truck gives me a poke or pinch upon entering; I usually consider it a playful act of affection, as she and I go way back and love each other deeply. (See an earlier post, The Other Woman). Apparently, though, she hates Mondays as well and today her mood was foul; I was gaffed both fore and aft by two separate wires. Two spikes of searing pain from my southern hemisphere were exceeded only by the one of panic in my chest. Sliding forward for relief would result in a spontaneous neuturing and, in moving backward, a camera-less colonoscopy. Only by wiggling and undulating gently side-to-side like a painfully shy hula dancer for a terrifying few seconds was I able to free myself. I dropped my head on the steering wheel and whimpered like an abandoned puppy for several agonizing minutes.
I had extended to Monday the olive branch of peace, and she had taken it. And beaten me with it. She had seen fit to attack me three times already, and I’d yet to leave the driveway. A friendship takes two agreeable parties, and it was clear that Monday preferred our relationship the way it had always been. As I leaned against the ropes, wobbled, arms at my sides, face swollen and bloodied, I watched her emerge from the fog in front of me, hitting her gloves together and advancing, her eyes dancing with murderous intent. Monday, here she comes…