My Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day Elizabeth Willis Barrett June 13, 2011
Some days are wonderfully good days. In fact, most of them are. Nah, that’s sounding a little too Pollyanna-ish. Most of them are just OK. But on some days, I am really in the flow and everything falls into place. I can go to Safeway and find everything I had a coupon for. I can turn left onto Baseline without waiting for 20 cars to go by. The people I want answers from respond quickly to my text messages and my head isn’t in need of an Excedrin. Jelly side up days. I like those days. When I get my thinking in order, I end up having a lot more of them. But lately I have let the small nuisances of life—the little things that slowly pump the joy out of existence— get to me and make some not so good days. The other day was one of those.
Brad and I were getting ready to go to the cabin and I made the mistake of saying, “My thumbs hurt!” All I needed him to say was, “I’m so sorry. I bet that is really uncomfortable for you.” Or “Arthritis is a pain, isn’t it?” But he didn’t. He said, “I told you to go to the doctor. Why don’t you just go and quit complaining about it?”
Nothing makes me quit talking more than a comment like that. I know he couldn’t help it. Like most men he was born with a gene that makes him blurt out an obvious fix without any intermediate empathy. Of course I should go to a doctor. But I didn’t need him to tell me that. I needed him to sympathize with and listen to me like I sympathize with and listen to him when he complains of a jabbing headache or an incompetent employee. I don’t think he even noticed that I totally quit talking after that—about anything.
Until, that is, we were at Home Depot getting some essentials for the cabin yard. It was after lunch time and I was hungry. Right in front of Home Depot was a Pollo Loco so as we got back in the car, I asked Brad if he wanted to stop there. “No, I’m not hungry,” he said as he drove past it.
I was miffed again, but that wasn’t his fault either. Women, for the most part, are born with a gene which makes us say things like: “Do you feel like a Jamba Juice right now?” And when our man says, “No,” we get mad and quit talking. That’s because we expect him to have enough sense to say, “I’d love one,” even if he wouldn’t. We want him to instinctively know (as women know) that we wouldn’t have brought up Jamba Juice if we hadn’t wanted one for ourselves. And for some asinine reason, we don’t feel worthy of getting what we want unless someone else wants it, too. It’s not the men’s fault, really. We as women need to state clearly, “I’m stopping at Jamba Juice. If you want one, I’ll get you one, too.” Or “Stop right now at Pollo Loco. I’m getting a taco salad. What would you like?”
This particular day wasn’t improving with its passing.
I usually don’t drink anything but water. I am definitely not one of those that has to run to Circle K for a 44 ouncer every day at 1:30. But when we drive up to the mountains, I really like to stop at Circle K for one of their semi-frozen Sprites to which I squirt in their additives of vanilla and raspberry flavorings and vitamin B12 and gingko. You get all that for $ .79 whether you choose a 24 oz., 32 oz. or 44 oz. Being the value mogul that I am, I, of course, fill up the 44 ouncer with relish. The very best combination is Sprite mixed with Mango but I have only found that in one place and that is way out on Hunt Highway. Driving out there would be a very foolish way to spend $20 in gas just to buy a $ .79 drink.
Since I didn’t get any lunch on this occasion, I thought I could at least look forward to my frozen concoction. But unfortunately, not all Circle K’s have frozen slushy drinks. In my opinion, they shouldn’t have started the trend unless they could carry it out in all locations. Now that I’m hooked, finding what I need has turned out to be very difficult.
Brad was sure there was a Circle K we could stop at in Gold Canyon which was on the way. He thought he could find it, but he couldn’t and for that matter, neither could I. My annoyance was intensified. I really had my taste buds ready. On we went to Miami. Brad stopped at the first Circle K we passed but they hadn’t modernized and my drink was not there. Humph.
As we drove on, we saw a Church’s Chicken establishment off to the right. Being unusually decisive, I told Brad to pull into the drive-through and I ordered chicken strips. No reflection on all Church’s, but these were inedible. Brad was very kind and told me not to eat the chicken, and we would try somewhere else.
We stopped at two more Circle K’s. The first didn’t have the drink I wanted. The second did, but the machine was frozen up and the icy liquid wouldn’t come out. Aaaaaaaaaaa! I was quite beside myself.
Then up the road we saw a KFC. “They won’t let me down,” I thought with great conviction and my mouth was rather ready for highly seasoned chicken. It isn’t usually, but there is something about being in the car and having few choices that did it. It didn’t look like any alternatives were available in Globe unless I wanted to go to McDonald’s or Taco Bell. I didn’t.
As we drove up to KFC, it looked closed. But as they say, “nothing ventured, nothing gained,” so I got out and tried the door. It was locked even though the sign said they were open for several more hours. As I pulled on the door a few times, a KFC worker appeared and motioned for us to drive around to the window. Obediently, we did. Brad first asked the same worker, now receiving our order at the window, if he had any pot pies. Sometimes a pot pie tastes very soothing, especially a KFC pot pie. No, he didn’t. That wasn’t too surprising because it is a hit or miss for any of the KFC’s to have pot pies when you want them.
“How ‘bout the little wraps?” I made Brad ask. Brad hates drive-through windows in the very best of situations, and this wasn’t turning out to be anywhere near the best.
“We don’t have much tonight,” was the boy’s answer.
“Hmmm. Well, what do you have?” Brad asked. This final question should have been answered with about 30 KFC items, but there was only one from this worker who probably didn’t want to be there and most likely would have loved to be home playing Nintendo or something.
“We have three chicken strips,” was his reply.
“Three chicken strips?” My raised voice carried very easily from the passenger side of the front seat.
“Yep. Three chicken strips.” He said it matter of factly, like we shouldn’t have expected more from a chicken-serving-fast-food-place that had about three more hours to be open for service.
“We ran out of chicken,” he added.
Tornadoes were going on in the Midwest, and earthquakes in other parts of the world but Globe, Arizona, looked perfectly calm. No disasters seemed to be coming down on it.
“We borrowed some chicken from Show Low,” he continued, “but we’re all out again.”
Astounding! Kentucky Fried Chicken had run out of chicken. I hoped that some manager’s job was on the line for this.
“I’ll take your last three strips,” I said. My mouth was still ready for chicken and I thought, of course, that these last three would be succulent and delicious. Wrong. Very wrong. They were worse than the Church’s. I didn’t eat them.
We finally made it to the cabin, drink-less, dinner-less and humor-less. I took a Marie Callender’s beef tips dinner from the freezer and put it in the micro-wave, with a Healthy Choice meat loaf dinner waiting in the wings for Brad. He set up the two TV trays and turned on the news.
Because Brad is a perpetual channel changer—another characteristic imbedded in male genes—several news stories began hitting my ears and my always active guilt center: the earthquakes and tsunamis in Japan, the flattened town of Joplin Missouri, the embarrassing sexting antics of Congressman Weiner, the horrendous trial of Casey Anthony.
Here were some people having some legitimate terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days. Comparing mine to theirs would be like comparing a piece of hay to a haystack. It was like I could hear The Powers That Be whisper in my ear, “Quit your bellyaching or I’ll really give you something to cry about.”
I’m a good listener. I chastised my selfish inner child and vowed to be more like our neighbor, Dave Robinson, who never met a day he didn’t like.
After my sincere bedtime prayer of thanks for my shelter, my bed, my companion, my family, and countless blessings, I ruminated on the day and surprisingly, with the flip of a mental switch, it became a glorious, wonderful day and I humbly look forward to many more to come.