Sunday, June 16, 2024
June 16, 2024

Nobody Asked Me But: Riding the rails on a runaway-train bad day

You know this feeling. You’ve just opened a can of home-made mango chutney, helped yourself to a couple of spoonfuls, and are now ready to close up the jar and place it back in your fridge.

The only problem is that, no matter how hard you try, you can’t seem to get the canning jar ring to screw back onto the glass jar. You get it halfway on and then it jams and won’t turn any farther. You can see that the lid has a slight tilt relative to the neck of the jar, so you back it off and try again. This time the lid is leaning the other way. You tell yourself to breathe, just breathe. You make a couple of more attempts, one of which results in you dropping the lid onto the kitchen floor, interior side down, of course. You begin to doubt your sanity at this point, thinking that maybe you should be twisting the lid counter-clockwise instead to get it back on. You tell yourself that it won’t really matter if the lid is securely in place as long as you keep the chutney refrigerated. It is only now that you discover you have cross-threaded the lid and cannot turn it in either direction; it is stuck where it is forever and the only way you will ever taste more of this yummy chutney is if you break the jar open without getting any of the tiny glass shards and splinters caught in the mango preserve. What you are experiencing here is the beginning of a bad day.

Once your bad day begins, there is no way to slow it down or stop it. It’s like you’re riding on a runaway train and heading for the last stop, which is a ghost town called Disaster. All you can do is hold on and pray you will survive all the other spirit-breaking catastrophes about to befall you.

And yes, these demonic twists of fate are sure to pile on you as your day progresses. You should know better and probably ought to jump back into bed with your covers pulled tightly around you, but you delude yourself into thinking that the worst is over and your luck is sure to change.

You are partially right about your luck changing, but unfortunately it takes a turn for the worse. Maybe you realize, a moment too late, that the big bead of toothpaste you squeezed onto your toothbrush is actually antibiotic ointment. Or, perhaps, you open your chest freezer only to discover that all the identifying labels you had meticulously stuck on the various food containers inside have become unglued and are now gathered in a frozen heap at the bottom. How will you know if that Tupperware container is full of curried rice and chicken or pumpkin pie filling?

Poor labelling will also undermine you in the laundry room and pantry. Baking powder or Borax? They look the same. Why not give it the good old sniff test? Oops, right up the schnozz. From now on, anything you eat will smell like freshly swabbed hospital floors.

Just in case your bad day is not moving along fast enough for you, try a little visit to a public washroom. Invariably, all the motion sensors and detectors will have a mind of their own and will try to sabotage any attempt you may have to get in and out quickly. In the case of the old manual taps, you can be sure that the stainless shallow sinks combined with cranky water flow control knobs will leave you with a big water stain right in the area of your body that you would least want to be so obviously soaked. Of course, as usual, you again forget to pull the paper towels from the metal dispensers while your hands are still dry, and so your wet fingers can only tear off tiny pieces of the tightly packed napkins. which will gather on the floor only to stick to the bottoms of your shoes for much of the rest of your miserably bad day.

Undoubtedly, at some point during the day, you will find that one of your gadgets or appliances will stop working. Luckily for you, this has happened before and you know exactly how to fix it. Not so lucky is the fact that the only socket missing from your tool box is the one you need for this repair. Even more distressing is the fact that the vise grips you use to take the place of the missing socket ends up stripping the nut you need to remove, but not before it flies off suddenly and catches you flush on the cheekbone, leaving you with a grossly colourful welt.

When it comes to finding the motherlode, or shall we call it the black hole, of precursors for having a bad day, you need look no further than your computer. Not only will cloud-bound important files disappear into the ether, never more to reappear, but the one time you forget to save or do a backup is the time your computer will decide to turn itself off or simply crash. You will be so harassed by viruses, malware and ransomware, that you will mistakenly in your frustration hit the “send” button instead of the “cancel” for a delicately composed intimate email which will bring about the downfall of a friendship or relationship.

Nobody asked me, but there really is no way to avoid a bad day once you have started off on the wrong foot. You do have some options open to you, though. You can fight, tooth and nail, against every bad break the universe aims at you, but that often makes it seem as if the target on your back is getting bigger and brighter. You can adopt a Zen-like attitude to allow the universe to wash over you just as the tide flows in and out, but the next wave about to hit you may be of tsunami proportions. Or, you can kick back, open a bottle of bubbly, and wait for the clock to strike midnight which will herald the beginning of a new day. The choice is yours.

Meanwhile, why are all these little bits of cork floating in my glass?

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