Ever have those days where you seem to only be firing at half your usual mental capacity and you become convinced that maybe you’ve secretly been an idiot all along and no one told you?
Welcome to last Wednesday for me. For whatever reason, it felt like I had all of two brain cells bouncing around in an empty expanse all day — occasionally they would bump into each other and I would produce a semi-intelligent thought, but most of the time it was a misfire.
Mostly this problem expressed itself in my inability to get through a whole sentence without forgetting where in it I was and having to ask someone to remind me what the last words out of my mouth were so I could pick up where I had left off. But there were a couple larger expressions of my idiocy that really drove the problem home.
One of my very dearest college chums and I decided to drive and meet up halfway between where she lives in Boone and where I am in Raleigh. The halfway point just happened to be Winston (where my beloved sister and brother-in-law live). How perfect! Merritt and I met in a Barnes and Noble (and talked, and perused the books, and drank ungodly amounts of coffee, and talked some more. it was perfect). About 3 hours and a VERY large coffee in, I needed to use the bathroom. She had just gone a little while before, so I asked her to direct me to where it was.
I made my way back to the restrooms, pulled the handle, and found it locked. So I stepped back to look at some books and wait for the person to finish. I waited and waited and waited and finally decided that I didn’t really have to pee that badly and that I’d just circle back around later.
I went back to where Merritt was sitting at a table.
“Whoever is in the bathroom must be pooping because they’re taking forever and I got tired of waiting. I’ll try again later.”
“What?” she asked.
I repeated myself.
“Sierra, there are like eight stalls in that bathroom” she said.
It was my turn to be confused.
“Okay, listen,” she said, “Back on that wall there’s the men’s room, then there’s a closet, and then there’s the women’s room. Are you sure you were standing at the right door?”
I smiled sheepishly and slunk back to the bathrooms. Sure enough, I had been standing all that time waiting for someone to finish using the CLOSET. That could have been a long wait. Just to the left of it was a door with LARGE letters clearly marked “WOMEN” that I had not previously noticed. I peed, and then returned once more to be heckled for my dumbness. It was all in good fun.
Finally, hungry and in the mood for Japanese, we set off to meet up with my sister and her husband to go to dinner. We were having a lively conversation about the outcomes of last Tuesday’s election on the way and I fiddled with my keys in my lap while we talked, like I often do. Ben and Merritt were mid voter ID law discussion when I loudly and uncomfortably cleared my already burning throat,
“I do hate to interrupt your conversation” I said meekly, clearing my throat again a little harder, “but I think I just sprayed my mace.”
“WHAT?” everyone said loudly and in unison just seconds before gagging. All four windows shot down and we were blasted by the cold night air as everyone blinked their stinging eyes and coughed.
“Way to mace a pregnant lady” Savannah said, squinting at me through her rear view mirror.
“I only maced you a tiny bit” I shot back still feeling sheepish. I hadn’t realized that it had been unlocked and I had sprayed just the smallest little puff into the air. We all recovered fairly quickly, just a burning tickle remaining in the back of our throats (or at least mine anyway. I think I got the brunt of it).
If I’m being honest, I have suspected for some time that this would eventually happen. Me being armed in any capacity is a recipe for disaster. Although I had hoped I would be alone when it did.
Just like I would have preferred to be alone later that evening during dinner when I absentmindedly rubbed my eye and had to be let out of the booth to run to the bathroom to flush out my eyeball because it turns out some of the mace lingered on my finger (like, duh, of course it did).
Despite being thoroughly humbled (and very apologetic) by the end of my visit, I also was absolutely fed by the conversation and companionship of all of the lovely people I got to see that night. I may be an idiot, but I’m an idiot that they love and that’s a very special feeling.
Until next time,
I'm nobody with the urge to be somebody and a gift for telling stories. My hope is to use this site to hone my writing for a wider audience than college professors and family friends. So cheers to you, dear reader! Please let me know what you think