So, as I'm sure I've made clear, we're undergoing these renovations at work. This episode of "I Love You, Hahahahaha" takes place right on the cusp of the big change. My old dairy department, now relegated to the milky haze of memory, was still up and running. The deli wall had just been erected way the hell and gone at the other end of the store. I'm sure in a month or two, I will have adjusted to the expanded size of our beloved Chop, but right now it still seems huge, and two weeks ago it was positively cavernous.
I was halfway down my dairy aisle, merrily stripping shelves. Well, not so merrily. I had what seemed like ten hours of work to do in four hours. The sheer enormity of the task ahead of me occupied my whole mind, with no space left over; in fact, I'm pretty sure parts of the problem were venting out my ears.
My mood was abruptly interrupted by the loudest BANG I have ever heard outside of movie theaters or downtown Detroit. This was very quickly followed by a commotion of clattering fit to wake the dead and send them off to school without so much as getting dressed. "Oh, that did not sound good AT ALL", I said to myself, visions of crushed customers cavorting through my cranium. I willed my feet to move and fairly shot down the dairy aisle, taking the corner on two wheels and still accelerating across the back of the store towards the deli wall, which is about where I thought the bodies would be. Can we interest you in some people pâté? Pulled long pork on a panini? Crazy thoughts cascaded through my brain like so many falling shelves. I ran and ran, my eyes fixed firmly on that deli wall, which was still standing as far as I could see. But what's around the corner down there, hmmm? Do we really want to know?
Then, with a SMASH I more felt than heard, I suddenly found myself down on the ground, looking back the way I had come, surrounded by skittering rolling somethings. Head-In-Clouds Syndrome had struck again.
Head-In-Clouds Syndrome, otherwise known as an acute inflammation of the Hey, Watch Where The Fuck You're Going! gland, is an affliction that has plagued me since early childhood. Before, for all I know. It's entirely possible I tumbled face first out of the womb. It strikes without warning--actually, that's kind of the point--and without mercy, subjecting me to random outbursts of mortification. It's most likely to come on when I am deep in thought, especially when that thought is tinged with negative emotion. For instance, when I am required to perform miracles with little help, and when said miracle working is interrupted by the grisly deaths of multiple customers, crushed under tons and tons of deli meat and shelving--well, it's pretty much a given that at times like that I'm apt to find myself down on the ground, looking back the way I had come, surrounded by skittering rolling...
...cans of tuna. I had ploughed through most of a skid of them, all unseeing and scattering scores of them hither and yon. I waved an arriving co-worker off towards the deli wall, saying something stupid like "Not me! Not me!"
Perhaps the only saving grace of HICS is that it usually sticks around just long enough to dull or, sometimes, entirely negate whatever pain it causes in the first place. Countless times I've picked myself off the ground and carried on, almost as blissfully unaware as I'd been just before going airborne moments before.
I'm used to this weird disorder by now; laying face down amongst a few hundred cans of tuna isn't exactly my best pose, but what the hell. That said, I can't help asking the question all HICS sufferers ask, in the weary accusing tone of the forever put-upon: who put that there?
Who put that there? Seriously, right in the middle of the frickin' aisle! Was it strategic? Was it purposely built there just to catch any cartwheeling Kens en route to carnage at the other end of the store?
Speaking of which...
Turned out that the BANG I had heard was a set of shelves collapsing...in the back room. There wasn't even anyone back there at the time. Meanwhile, I had to conclude that yes, indeed, that tuna display was placed there specifically to catch me napping: the security camera placement couldn't be better. Once again, yours truly is the celebrity of the store. It's been two weeks now, and the boss has to work "tuna" into every conversation. Sigh. I wonder what I'm going to trip over next. As consolation, I know my wife loves me.