Thursday, December 13, 2007

Comedy of Errors

I think I'm going to start a series of posts (not a regularly scheduled series) that I'm calling "Comedy of Errors." They're going to be the stories that are so stupid and hilarious and... yeah... the kind of stuff you can't make up. Inspired by this morning...

I have a potluck today for the book group I'm part of here at work. I made Jandyle's salsa dip, which involves a mixture of cream cheese and sour cream setting overnight in a small casserole dish (you put salsa, which I drained last night, and cheese on top right before serving). I bagged up the cold things in one grocery bag, with my Fritos in another bag. I made coffee for the first time in about 2 weeks (it's not fun when you're sick), and I chose my screw-top coffee mug from Starbucks--a gift from Maddy when she spilled one of my non-screw-top mugs off the counter and spilled coffee ALL over the kitchen. I packed up and headed out a little later than I wanted. It was the average time for leaving when conditions are fine out, but I've been trying to leave about 5 or 10 minutes earlier to allow for icy sidewalks.

Our front porch was newly painted in early autumn, so I'm always nervous that it could be very slick. I took my first step out, and it was only wet. Joy! I headed down the steps to the sidewalk and the gate. I made it almost out of the yard when I hit black ice. I didn't go completely down, but I dropped everything I was carrying: bag of Fritos, bag of cold stuff for the dip, cup of coffee.

I was most concerned about the glass casserole dish breaking, so I went immediately to check that first. All glass was in check, but that's when I noticed that the coffee mug had come up. There was coffee all over the sidewalk (perhaps good for the ice problem) and all over--and inside--the bag of cold stuff. The handle of the bag was particularly wet and sickeningly sweet with my coffee. Needless to say, I was a little more careful on the rest of the walk, which made me nervous for my timing for the train.

I wiped things down as best I could as with the few kleenexes I had in my coat pocket, at which point all I could do was hope my sinus infection would behave itself until I got to work. I headed around the corner and down the block to the intersection where I can catch the northbound bus to one train stop or the southbound bus 1/3 of a mile to the street my usual train stop is on. No northbound was in sight, but a good number of people were milling across the street at the southbound bus stop, which I take to mean there's got to be one not far off--it's rush hour, after all. I opted to wait with them, and a bus came relatively quickly. It was packed.

I made my way out at my stop, and I headed across the street to catch the westbound bus to the Metra. That bus runs more regularly than the one I'd just gotten off, so I wasn't worried about catching one in time. (When you take a train that only runs once an hour, this is usually faulty logic.) I'd waited about five minutes when I saw a northbound bus stopped across the street at a red light. Decision time: flag down the northbound and hope it'll wait for me to cross on the green to head north to the next Metra stop, or continue to wait for my bus. I opted to wait.

After another five minutes (cue nervousness), the bus arrived, also packed. I headed back to stand by the exit door. Approaching my stop, the girl seated across from me pulled the string and got out to stand with me. The bus driver flew right past our stop. "Wait!" I called. She stopped at the next bus stop down, where the girl and I, both grumbling, exited the bus. Between that intersection and my side of the train platform, there's no stoplight for the busy street. And, I knew I was running out of time.

As I walked back east, I watched the light ahead of me for the red, at which point I took my life into my own hands and jaywalked over to the platform.

Thank gawd I did. The train pulled in when I was halfway across the street. And, this asthmatic doesn't run. I hustled up and into the first open car I approached then walked back to my usual car, where the conductor knows me and my monthly pass, so he never checks it.

I rinsed my hands with my water bottle, chugged what little coffee was left, and got out my crochet. The train ride was luckily uneventful.

When I got into the office, I did a good inspection of all of the containers in the contaminated bag--all were intact. I dug out the tub of Clorox wipes and wiped down everything, including my coffee mug, which I noticed was cracked on the outside (that should make for an interesting washing, with water likely to collect inside the outer shell). Clean containers safely in my baby fridge, I proceeded down the hall to wash my hands, walking right into our onesie bathroom... and in on somebody who'd forgotten to lock the door.

I'm rather afraid of what the rest of the day could bring. And you know, I had thought last night, "You know, there's nothing pressing in the morning, and it's a Reading Day for the kids, so I could just sleep an extra hour and take the train that'll get me into the office at 10." If I'd listened to the part of me that really wanted that extra hour of sleep, the sidewalks could have been melted enough to make for an easy trip to the train, although I would have missed the opportunity for the campus shuttle to campus, which probably would have meant me slipping and falling with all the stuff once I got into town here. I don't think I could win either way, but at least I could have had an extra hour of sleep.

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