1,000 Waves-poem

1,000 Waves

by Autumn Komzik

 

1,000 waves across the sea

1,000 memories made up you and me.

 

Your eyes crinkled at the corners when you smiled

How the books around you, piled.

How you cut the edges off your toast,

How you liked Rock and Roll the most.

 

The waves spread across the sea,

Turning from one into an infinity.

 

The way we jumped in the leaves in the fall,

How you were so tall, and I was so small.

How you kissed me on a football field,

How in a debate about skim milk, you would never yield.

 

Our memories spread across time

Turning from one, to this entire life of mine.

 

You held me when I left my coat,

If I tickled you, you’d give up the remote.

Your eyes were blue like the ocean,

And changed color with every emotion.

 

One day the 1,000 waves hit the land,

Breaking one by one against the sand.

And like the sand,

We slipped–beautiful crystals through our hands.

1,000 “I love you’s” ended in goodbye,

A final hug, tears in our eyes.

 

How do you forget 1,000 things?

How do you let go of 1,000 dreams?

 

It’s been twenty years and 1,000 things–

Jobs, friends, lovers, wedding rings.

 

But when I visit the ocean, look out across the water

I still see

1,000 waves, you and me.

Never Underestimate the power of info-commercials

Never Underestimate the power of info-commercials.

Info-commercials. Those LONG, and I mean LONG commercials, featuring some rather outlandish gadget full of promise and sometimes the potential to change your life, a narrator which is on the verge of yelling due to feigned excitement, and a cluttering of the following phrases: BUT WAIT! There’s MORE!, TWO HUNDRED easy payments of $19.95, CALL NOW TO RECEIVE A SECOND…blah, blah.

info

You are probably thinking you are immune. Info-commercials have nothing on you. I mean the Snuggie, come on!?

Others of you who may know what I am talking about are probably nodding your heads, filling with regret at the memory.

I once thought I was immune. I once thought info-commercials had no power over me. But then…one day…

A short story of my personal experience of underestimating the power of the info-commercials:

It was late, and I had taken my little sister to the emergency room. We sat there in the hospital waiting area for…you know how it goes…forever. After picking through almost an entire stack of magazines, we were running out of ways to entertain ourselves.

Then it happens. A voice fills the air. A voice filled with excitement, so unlike all of us members of the waiting room who are in desperate need of sleep, medication, or coffee. The voice is coming from each of the four TVs placed at each corner of the room. Half of the people in the room all are suddenly drawn to the bright lights, the annoyingly energetic narrator, and the product that will revolutionize our lives.

The Brazilian Butt Lift. A workout promising a gorgeous, sculpted body– which with this convenient DVD pack could be achieved in a matter of 60 days. A workout specially and scientifically designed to maximize calorie burning, target “trouble areas” and designed….FOR YOU. BUT WAIT! (Oh, the magical words) this workout is FUN!

but-wait

I listened, at first just out of shear boredom, but then…I started to sit up straighter, my eyes began to focus again. At the time I was about 20-25 lbs. overweight. After dutifully running for miles and miles and hardly losing an ounce, I was frustrated. Suddenly a light seemed to come down, shining like a spot light on the TV and the words, “Brazilian Butt Lift”. 01-spotlight

THIS IS THE ANSWER, AUTUMN. THIS IS WHAT YOU HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR. Something inside of me whispered. Then came the testimonies of people who had lost 50, 60, 100, 200 lbs. from The Brazilian Butt Lift workout. The commercial went on and on at least for 30 minutes, featuring snippets of the workout and testimonials, deals and prices. Meanwhile my sister finally got called into the doctor’s office. So I was left there in the waiting room, vulnerable and alone…

As the rather hefty price for a set of DVDs played out again on the commercial, I fought with myself. Autumn, you can just go running, more running…you love running (NOT!).  Then another testimonial played, “I had 20 stubborn pounds I just could not lose, but after trying the Brazilian Butt Lift, the pounds melted off!”

THIS IS THE ANSWER, AUTUMN. THIS IS WHAT YOU HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR.

I grabbed my phone and dialed the number.

Several days later, The Brazilian Butt Lift arrived.

To this day I have probably used it about 5 times. (And I just want to say, it wasn’t a bad workout and not saying that it couldn’t work, it…just…I don’t know-not for me! I ended up losing the weight from a strict diet and playing Ultimate Frisbee everyday! Ultimate Frisbee was actually, truthfully fun, which is why I was able to do it every single day!)

Never Underestimate the power of the info-commercial. No one is safe.

I would love to hear your stories of items you’ve bought online or through the TV in a moment of weakness? What did you think of them?

Disapearances, socks and other mysteries of the universe

The universe contains many mysteries…

One show that scared the living daylights out of me when I was little was Unsolved Mysteries.

Apparently his name is Robert Stack

Apparently his name is Robert Stack

For those of you who ever watched this show, do you remember THAT MAN, the host? He was a rather frightening individual. I call him THAT MAN because I don’t know his name or anything about him. All I know is his voice had a way of sending chills down my spine, his face haunted my sleep, and he had a way of making the unsolved mysteries forever seem unsolvable.

1958, Northern Wisconsin

Norma Jean is thrilled about her brand new laundry machine. Her dear husband who bought it for her, has been away on a business trip in Chicago and will be arriving in just a few hours. The children were packed away a hours before and are spending the weekend with Grandma. Norma Jean is all alone in their neat little house on the end of the street. The laundry is washed and dried, all that is left to do is fold it. She sits in front of the television, and folds.

The house is quiet.

Too quiet.

And dark.

Too dark.

Norma can’t help but notice how her heart seems to be beating much to quickly and her arms dot with goose bumps at every creak and groan the house makes. She turns on the television, to drown out the silence. I Love Lucy. Norma groans, Lucy has always reminded her of that little tart of a secretary at her husband’s firm. The girl wears nothing but skin-tight red skirts and blouses, and spends her day giggling at Mr. Jean while blowing kisses with her red lips, tapping her red nails, and puffing her red hair. Norma’s cheeks flood with heat at just the thought of the little hussy. At least her mind has moved on from the strange creaks throughout the house.

Lassie, the collie has growled twice now. Every time she walks past the laundry room, she whines. Norma’s hands shake and she folds faster and faster. She tries to focus on the annoying little giggle the secretary makes each time Mr. Jean smiles at her. Speaking of Mr. Jean, where is he? She glances at the clock on the wall. He was late, half an hour late.

Tick. Tick. Tick. Tick. The incessant clock’s ticking has seemed to become louder and louder, barreling in through Ricky Ricardo’s smooth Cuban accent. Lassie stands outside of the laundry room door, looking like a soldier on duty. She is stiff, ears twitching, listening.

Bark! Growl! Bark! Lassie’s bark is so loud, Norma jumps. Lassie sniffs at the air then sniffs her way out to Norma Jean and the basket of laundry sitting in front of her. Norma tells Lassie to pipe down and turns the television up higher.  She folds and folds, casting a glance towards the laundry room every now and again. Her fingers have hit the bottom of the laundry basket to find the only thing left to fold are her husband and children’s socks.

I sock, 2 socks…bundle. 1 sock, 2 socks…bundle. 1 sock, 2 socks…bundle. She pairs together the socks, one after another. 1 sock, 2 socks…bundle. 1 sock, 2 socks…bundle.

The light above her flickers. At the same instance the house groans, the floor boards from upstairs creak. Norma freezes. She stares at the laundry room. “It’s just the wind,” she whispers to herself and Lassie. She can’t help but feel something is wrong– something horrible is about to happen.

She resumes folding, her fingers trembling. 1 sock, 2 socks…bundle. 1 sock, 2 socks…bundle. 1 sock….

Norma Jean’s scream pierces the air. She stares at the object in her hand, her entire body is shaking. “NO!” She screams. She bolts up and dashes to the laundry room, throws open the lid to the washing machine and looks in. She screams again, sending little echoes throughout the room.

Vanished. The word forms in her brain and lodges it’s way into her throat, refusing to come out. Vanished.

Right from in front of her.

Never to be found.

A sock’s soul mate was stolen in the night, never again to return.

The Vanishing Sock has never since been found…and remains an unsolved mystery to this day. Still one of the biggest unsolved mysteries in the world, hundreds of people have attempted to come up with products to ensure the protection and survival of socks, to little avail. Disappearance of socks with little or next to no explanation has become a global matter, and haunts each and every sock on laundry day. Not one sock is safe. The journey through the wash cycle is a dangerous one for socks, there are no guarantees and there have been no recoveries.

To the lost socks of the universe, we have not forgotten you.

This story is a contributor to the thousands, millions of case files trying to solve the age-old mystery of the disappearance of socks–a mystery which has gone quite cold  and may remain forever in that old storage room filled with mysteries of the universe.   Missing

Bathrooms, wall to wall carpet and other mysteries of the universe

The universe has many mysteries.

One such mystery is why…oh why, did people ever decide wall to wall carpeting in the bathroom was a good idea?

bathroom-carpet

I suppose this mystery isn’t completely unsolved to the masses of the world. You may be one of those individuals who put carpet in your bathroom. WHY???

I am bringing up this topic today because I am one of those people who own (I guess I should say rent? but that sounds strange!) a bathroom in which the entire floor is blanketed in carpet. I should note that I DID NOT put the carpet there. I’m pretty sure it’s been there for nearly 50 years. (Along with all the appliances in the house! The house is like a well preserved view of life and interior designing in the 1960s.) At one point I think the carpet was pink, matching the tiles on the wall and shower; slowly it has faded into a dull, liver and pink colored monstrosity.

You ask: Autumn, why not just rip the carpet out and tile the floor? Stop fussing!

My answer: I rent.

The people I rent from are ever so nice! They are literally the nicest of the nice. But they like the carpet in there. I cannot bring myself to ask why. It might change my opinion of them. I’M KIDDING! They like it because tiles are cold and hard and carpet is a softer, warmer option. All I can think is: True…but what if the toilet over flows? What if you spill your hair gel on it? And again…what if the toilet over flows???

Another reason I am bringing up this topic today is because over the weekend an incident occurred involving the said carpet.

It all started on Friday.

As I was getting ready to head out to work, I run into my bathroom and do a final “did I unplug the curling iron & straightener check.”

Whoops! I didn’t! Glad I checked. The cords are ripped from the wall and I am whirling around to turn off the light and leave.

But then…

Huh? Is it just me, or does it look like a section of the carpet is extra dark– more liver colored than the rest?

Perhaps it is just the lighting. I inch closer. Strange. Then I remember the time. Got to go! I will investigate later.

Later…

I return from work, walk into the bathroom and jump back.

Yeah…that’s not discoloration. Or the lighting.

It’s Lake Eyrie.

A sopping, puddle of what I imagine probably emerged from the toilet has taken over more than half of the bathroom.

The only thing one can do in this situation is scream in horror.

Toilet water. It may be clean looking, but we all know the word clean should never be used to describe toilet water. Oh! And how the carpet loves it. It is drinking it right up.

I have no idea how the water has escaped its ceramic prison, as no one used the toilet at all that day, but the fact of the matter is… it has.

I am an adult. And being an adult means you have to do things you don’t want to do. You have to pay for things you don’t want to pay for. I had to clean this mess up. After soaking up the water the best I could and pouring sterilization cleaners on the carpet I realized…how can it ever possibly get truly clean? Carpet has so many nooks and crannies, twists and turns.

Light bulb!

I could burn it. I could burn the blasted carpet and be rid of it FOREVER and the bathroom would be clean once again.

It is too bad burning it was out of the question. But I think I just might have the winning argument for ripping the carpet out and tiling. Cross your fingers!

I’ll end my story now, and put it in that lovely storage room of case files filled with the mysteries of the universe. With a big permanent marker I’ll write across the top, “This file contains information to solving the mystery as to why people carpet their bathrooms wall to wall…and evidence on how this practice SHOULD BE ILLEGAL!” Lengthy, but necessary.

Dogs, mailmen and mysteries of the universe

The universe contains many mysteries.

One such mystery is the hatred dogs have for mailmen. It’s not all dogs of course, for instance I imagine a mailman’s dog doesn’t hold these prejudices. But the undeniable fact is that there are a good number of dogs who turn practically werewolf at the sight of a mail delivering vehicle. And it’s not just the US Post Office anymore… it’s FedEx…it’s UPS…it’s any form of parcel delivery.

When I was a child I witnessed this…this fury first hand. One of my Mom’s best friends had a German shepherd who probably held meetings with the local neighborhood dogs on how to rid the world of mailmen. I remember watching this German shepherd one particular day barrel through the front door….leap over the fence…and chase down the mail truck as if the entire future of the world depended on this one moment. The spit was flying. Her legs were flying. Her fangs gleamed in the sunlight. Thank goodness those Postal cars have a little more power in it than appears. (They remind me of a carton of milk. Doesn’t exactly scream speed demon.) The point is…the mailman got away…unscathed. The dog, however…got in a lot of trouble.

usps

For many years, the attacks on mailmen ceased (in my part of the world). The world was at last at peace.

Until…

I was at my parent’s house. Alone. Well, not exactly alone. They have four dogs.

There is one little Rat Terrier, Joey. Two words to describe Joey: boundless energy. He doesn’t even drink coffee…fancy that.

Then there’s Ginger. She’s a Jack Russel lab mix. Ginger knows one word in the English Language: BALL. At 12 years old, she’s a lot slower and more rickety, but say the word “ball” and a newer, younger dog emerges.

Cooper. Cooper is my baby. He is a fluffy husky mix, with a curly tail and the sweetest eyes you ever saw. Cooper has moments of insecurity (also known as keep away from small children).

And lastly, there is Hachi. Hachi is just…the PERFECT dog. Some things he does seem slightly human….weirdly human. He LIVES for making friends with all people and dogs alike.

All in all they are a good pack of dogs. Who have no issues or hold no grievances against the postman.

DING-DONG!

The ring from the doorbell echoes throughout the house. And so ensues barking from all corners…

I notice the barking isn’t just “there’s someone here” barking. It’s wild…uncontrolled. Hmmmm….

Then comes the growling.

GULP. Who is at the door? Images flood my mind. Darn you Criminal Minds! I tell myself I am never watching that show again as I head towards the door where all four dogs have formed a group– barking wildly, snarling at the unknown object on the other side of the door.

Should I have grabbed the baseball bat?

I tip toe towards the door, I can still pull off the there’s no one home trick if necessary. I clutch the handle and hesitate. The dogs are geared up, ready to pounce–ready to lunge and devour whatever is on the other side of the door.

Then it hits me. Autumn…it’s in the middle of the day; it’s probably just the postman or FedEx guy or something. I beg the dogs to calm down and squeeze in between them, opening the door just a crack. Just as I suspected there is a box lying on the porch. I sigh and relax my grip on the door.

BIG MISTAKE. Had I not noticed the dogs were still on the verge of transforming into werewolves? Had I not felt them pressing against the door…trying at anything to burst outside? APPARENTLY NOT.

Just as I notice the departing image of man in a brown uniform, I am thrown forward….and the door flown wide open.

Out burst four dogs…fangs ready.

“NOOOOO!”

I reach out and manage to grab Hachi’s tail but it’s no use. The next thing I see is the UPS guy’s face fill with shock and horror as the beasts are closing in on him. It looked like one of those National Geographic Documentaries where the lions close in on a gazelle. “And so the lionesses’ hunting ends in a smaller meal, but they are grateful. It is enough to keep the pack alive during this retched drought,” -said in a British Man Voice.

cheeta

The UPS man wasn’t ready to give up. He must have grown wings and flew–somehow…he escaped. He leaped into his truck….cursing up a storm. Not that I blame him. He almost became a chew toy.

At this point I managed to pick myself up and chase after the dogs. “Get over hear now! Stop it! Stop it!” Of course, it was all futile.

The dogs were now circling the UPS truck. They looked like vultures. It was ridiculous.

How I wrangled all of the dogs together…I don’t know. But what I did know was that the UPS guy was FURIOUS. Once again…not that I blame him.

Through the swirl of curses he hurled out at me, I made out three words…wait, four. “Control your dogs, lady!”

YES SIR. I’M SO SORRY SIR.

Please, God let me never see that man again.

Life is always full of surprises.

And months and months later, I DID see the UPS guy again. He of course never came back to our house, he appeared elsewhere. Yes, at my work.

I worked as a teller at a bank. And guess who our UPS delivery guy was? That’s right! The UPS guy…the very one. I remember walking to the front and freezing when I saw him. (And the color draining from my face.)

Please, God let him not remember me…or my dogs.

He walked up to the counter, eyeing me.

I plastered on a smile and said, “Hello!” Gosh! It was a bit too cheerful sounding.

He grinned, but was still studying me. “You look so familiar. Like I swear I’ve seen you before.”

You have….just as you saw your life flashing before your eyes. “Oh, I get that a lot. Apparently I just have one of those faces.” Please don’t remember!

He just stared.

Oh no!

Then he shrugged his shoulders and grinned once again. “I-guess you do!”

Whew!

He ended up being the nicest UPS guy ever but I could never ever confess to him the truth. And so this story is just another case file put in storage under the unsolved mysteries of the universe: Why Dogs Hate Mailmen.

Does anyone out there have a theory to why dogs hate mailmen? Or do you have a story on what your dog has done to a mailman?

The Shot

He lived for a sound. The sound of a leather ball dropping through a net.

Swoosh. 

It was the sound of perfection.

Johnny practiced every day, every chance he got. Black cracked asphalt, a ratty torn net, a backboard with chipping paint and splintering wood were his home, his safe place. He was the master here. When everything in his life was spinning, here it was still. He was in charge of that 10 foot basket, he controlled that ball.

Swoosh. 

The three point shot was his box of gold, his fountain of youth, his trophy, his blue ribbon. He had one focus, one goal. Swoosh. And he never missed.

2.34 seconds. The numbers glowed in the clock, a silent challenge; they were daring him. All he needed was one shot, one basket and he would bring the team to victory. All he needed to do was make the shot he never missed. He was the golden boy. Practically invincible on the courts. He stood waiting, ready for his teammates to get him the ball. He was in charge of that 10 foot basket, he controlled that ball.

The timer rang out, splitting the hot air. In a flash, the ball was in his hands. He aimed, time seemed to freeze. The basket suddenly looked unfamiliar, far away. It was no longer a 10 foot challenge, it had grown 20 feet, 30 feet over his head. The roar of the crowds sounded in his ears.

“Boo!” Someone screamed. “You’re not gonna make it!”

The basket now stood 50 feet over his head. The other team rushed towards him like a tidal wave, ready to consume him. Boom, boom–it was the sound of his heart pounding against his rib cage. Sweat dripped down the sides of his face. The ball suddenly felt foreign, as if he had just felt a basketball for the first time. The clock on the wall was merciless. He had to shoot.

The ball left his hands. The entire room held their breath as the it sailed through the air.

But he never heard that swoosh.

Johnny, the golden boy, had missed.

Back in the locker room Johnny confessed to his coach how in those last 2.34 seconds of the game the basket had grown taller and taller right before his eyes. How suddenly a ball that he knew like his own hand felt like nothing he had ever touched before.

“Why did I miss, Coach, why?” It was a feeling he’d never felt, It was a feeling he didn’t understand.

His coach gripped his shoulder and said, “Son, you didn’t see the basket anymore…you saw everything standing in the way.”

Do you have a dream? That one goal you’re determined to reach? You started off strong, believing you could reach your dream, nothing could stand in your way. And then something happened…you saw all of the obstacles. They were menacing beasts, telling you your dream was too far, too hard, unreachable….they told you were going to fail. And you believed them. Slowly, your dreams drifted farther and farther out of reach.

But, you know what…they weren’t actually out of reach…you just thought they were.

“When obstacles arise, you change your direction to reach your goal, You do not change your decision to get there.” -Zig Ziglar 

Don’t give up. Don’t quit. Keep your eyes on the prize…not on everything standing in your way.

First page of my book!

The first page of my book!!!

Just A Dream, pg. 1

by Autumn Komzik

Charleston, SC 1925

   He had always hated hospitals. The blindingly white wall, the burning smell of sterilization, the strange silver instruments, the soft whispery voices of the nurses—it was all a cover for the death and disease which seemed to ooze out of every crack and crevice. Hospitals were a place where the haunted memories of his Mother’s life slipping away from the Spanish Influenza filled his mind. They were a place where nightmares came true and where people discovered their mortality.

Kale Desmin sat in a flimsy metal chair feeling exhaustion start to set in. His honey colored hair, which was normally held neatly back with promenade, was ruffled and his eyes burned. He had been awake all night. But no matter how badly he longed to leave, he wouldn’t–he couldn’t.

His gaze fixed on the girl that lay in the bed directly in front of him, a girl that had been so full of life only hours ago. Purple bruises and scrapes speckled across the left side of her face, her blond hair was matted with blood, and her skin was pasty white. Other than the sound of her slow, methodical breaths, the hospital was quiet and strangely peaceful.

Kale hesitantly touched her limp hand and whispered the words he never could say when she was awake, “I love you, you have to wake up. Please, Angel, I need you.”

The quiet of the morning in was broken by desperate wails echoing down the hallway. Kale snapped his head up and stared at the closed door to the room. The wails became louder and louder. He could hear heavy footsteps pounding against the floor coming closer and closer, making the metal rails of the bed tremble and squeak. He realized it was a name that was being called; the wailing was the constant agonized repeat of a name. His heart felt a sudden swell of sorrow for the person, the owner of the name. It was clear the news they were about to receive would alter their life in some painful and dreadful way.

Kale felt his stomach fill with a hollow pit; his breath caught in his throat. The name that was being called was his.

*

Perfect days come around like the Halley’s Comet. You might have one truly perfect day in your life and once it’s gone, you never see it again. At least that’s what Mammy Potts always told me.

I could at least boast this day was close to perfect. My hair had not yet succumbed to the humidity– the waves which had taken an hour to put in were smooth and sleek; I managed to pluck the sweetest peach in existence from one of our trees; and I was about to spend the entire evening with him. As I walked towards the docks to meet him, my pace picking up with every step, my palms began to sweat. The one way to make this day absolutely Halley’s Comet kind of perfect, would be a kiss.

Work Dreams, gotta love ’em

Have you ever had a “work” related dream? You know the type of sleep where you feel like you are still…at work…all night long and when you wake up you are beat?

I have had these type of dreams many times. Sometimes it is just a dream where I am late to work, like 7 hours late. Other times I am surrounded by infinite piles of paper work that I have to get through before a certain time.

My favorite work dream I ever had, came of course, from the zoo I worked at. During my days at the zoo, I had always prided myself on being able to make PERFECT ice cream cones. I had it down to a science. My cones where huge and perfectly balanced. I could even get that little curl at the top of the ice cream. One day people literally were pouring into the restaurant chanting, “I scream you scream, we all scream for ice cream!” They weren’t really chanting that, but there were A LOT of people who ordered ice cream. I made HUNDREDS of cones that day. At the end of it all I was covered in sticky ice cream goo and I never ever wanted to see another waffle cone in my life. I ended up working a catering event, making my day a whopping 13 hours. When I got home, I desperately needed rest. I showered off and tucked myself into bed, thankful to be able to finally stop moving my aching legs and arms. I fell asleep within a few minutes. I would be refreshed and ready for another day of work in the morning.

However, my night was less than restful. For hours in the night I dreamed I was making ice cream cone after ice cream cone. Chocolate, Vanilla, Twist. Waffle cone. Cake cone. Cup. Would you like a cherry on top? At 3:00 AM I woke up, exhausted and my mouth parched. I walked to the kitchen to quench my thirst and returned to my bedroom (that I shared with my twin sister at the time) and got back into bed. I lay in the pillow trying to empty my mind of all things zoo and ice cream related. Suddenly a voice pierced the relatively silent night (other than the snoring coming from my parents’ room, which was on the other side of the house! My Mom always said my Dad’s snoring sounding like he was sawing down a forest).

It was just a few mumbles at first then out came words that sounded like a foreign language, perhaps from the Amazon jungles. I giggled. It was Andrea, fast asleep across the room in her bed. I always wanted and have tried to successfully have a conversation with someone while they were sleep talking, get them to reveal their secrets. So far I haven’t been successful. This particular night I was too exhausted. I had my own ice cream nightmares to worry about. The mumbling continued. Then, at last I could understand a few words.

“Ch-o-co-mmmmm. MMMMM.” “W-would you like chocolate, v-v-vanilla, or twistssss?” Andrea mumbled, her voice sounded into a groan.

I laughed. Chocolate, vanilla, or twist? Was Andrea being haunted by ice cream dreams too? She had been there at the zoo with me, had experienced the entire ice cream mob.

“Would you like a w-w-w-affle c-co-ne or c-cake coooone?” She continued after a few more moans and sighs.

I was laughing. Poor Andrea! I half expected her to sleep walk over to an imaginary ice cream machine and make an imaginary ice cream cone.

In the morning I asked her casually, “So, how’d you sleep?”

“Uugggg. I felt like I was at work…ALL NIGHT LONG!” She said, groaning.

I told her about how she slept talked and how I too dreamed of ice cream. We laughed together about how both of our nights were haunted by a monster, a Freddy Krueger, called Ice cream.

What has your last work dream been like? Do you sleep talk? What’s the weirdest thing you have said or heard a friend say? 

Have you ever laughed at someone else’s misfortune…that YOU caused??

And you tried not to laugh, you really tried, but it could not be helped. The laughter came out in suppressed waves of giggles and then finally erupted into flinging your head back into the air or hugging your stomach that hurt because you could not stop laughing. You kept trying to stop, but you were no longer in control. You felt like the terrible person you were.

This is one of those stories.

It was another summer day at the zoo. We had just experienced what we termed “A Rain-Forced Rush”. A Rain Forced Rush was the unexpected and sudden visit of thongs of people filling the restaurant do to rain. On a day that had been already so busy our food supply was nearly wiped out, we were unprepared for the sky to turn gray and thunder to rumble and drops of rain that sent a literal mob of people that were all “Hangry”.

People of all shapes and sizes squeezed into the restaurant, exceeding the max capacity by a crazy number. They filled practically every corner of the place, and it didn’t help half of the them were manning monstrous strollers that were practically the size of a smart car (you know those strollers with three wheels and enough seats for the entire family to be pushed around in). Kids were screaming, adults were screaming. It was madness.

By the time the people were done with us we had about two ice cream cones, a hotdog, and a squeezed beyond recognition bag of cotton candy left over.

Then! There is was! The sun! Breaking through the clouds the sun beamed into the restaurant signaling the rain storm was over and we were saved. The people left just as quickly as they came (so quickly I was afraid someone would be trampled!) and in their departure a disaster. Cups strewn across the tables and floors, red cherry slushy mixture and melted ice cream puddled the floor, napkins here there everywhere, tables and chairs upturned, mashed French fries and half eaten corndogs littered the area.

Our manager knew that the day was rapidly coming to an end and there were still nearly half of the staff that had not gotten a break. He sent them all on break and the rest of us unlucky ones who already had our break were on clean up crew.

I had the wonderful task of tending to the trash. There were about 10 trash cans, each of them filled and overflowing and foul. I put gloves on and moved from trash can to trash can, lugging the 30 lb. filled bags back to the backside of the restaurant where the dumpster was. trash

For my story to make sense I have to quickly explain the room where the dumpster was. It was like a mini “garage” attached to the end of the restaurant.  The dumpster was elevated about two feet above the small walkway, I’m not sure why this was done but I can tell you it made tossing trash into it quite the exercise, especially for those of us who are short. Opposite side of the dumpster were two chairs and a bucket for cigarette butts, this was our lovely “break area”. Not even a coffee corner! Haha! Most of the time I ate outside, I mean facing a trashcan while you are eating your lunch is hardly appetizing.

Once I had gathered all the trash bags in a nice pile I set to work on getting them into the dumpster. I greeted my friends Will and Mike who were on break and occupying the two chairs in the “break area” and joked about how I was going to have crazy arm muscles after all of this heavy lifting. I had an art to how I got the trash in the dumpster, I perched on the edge of the stairs that were the same height as the dumpster and tossed the trash bags in from there. It was an angled toss, but I had become an expert. Quickly I tossed in bag after bag, feeling disgusting by the revolting smell that seeped from the each bag. Mean while Will, the Zoo’s jokester was making joke after joke and laughing in his usual way.

Every now and then you will get a trash bag that I call a “juicer”. Juicer trash bags are the worst because like the name implies they are filled with “trash juice” (an unholy mixture of all liquids that are in the bag…diaper juice, oil, ketchup, soda, ice cream, slush, etc.). I picked up the bag, it was the last one! When I picked it up, I didn’t notice the bag was punctured and trash juice was spilling onto the ground. At the exact moment Will opened his mouth widely, roaring with laughter at some joke Mike cracked, I tossed the trash bag into the dumpster. All I saw was a reddish brown juice fly through the air. And splash! It made contact with it’s victim.  The juice flung across Will’s face…and into his wide open mouth.

It was like everything was in slow motion for a few seconds. Me and Mike stared at Will in shock…and then at each other. Did that just happen? Will’s eyes were huge and filled with the most awful look of horror. The red juice dripped down his face and his open mouth was frozen in position.

Mike said, “Dude…”

And I…began my apologizing. “Will! I am so sorry! Oh my gosh, I’m so so so so sorry. I can’t believe….bahahahahahahahahahahaha!” The laughter began to take hold of me. My voice began to shake and my body trembled because the laugher longed to escape. Finally I couldn’t hold it in any longer. Wild laughs exploded out of me. I felt awful but I couldn’t stop! I tried, but I just… was rolling.

trying not to laugh

Trying not to laugh

laughing

Not succeeding…

bursting into laughter

laughter has taken over

Will got up, groaning in horror and ran to the dish washing sink and using the commercial sprayer sprayed his mouth and entire face off.

Meanwhile, I watched, still laughing.

Will did forgive me

….eventually.

When your alarm throws in the towel

My eye lids slowly blinked open. I felt like I just woke up after spending three months in a vegetative state.

How I look waking up..

How I look waking up..

Even though darkness filled the room, I started to hear the zoom of the first wave of the morning rush. Sigh. I would have to wake up soon. I wondered how much time I had, if I was lucky it was the earliest crowd heading for a long commute to DC. If that were so I still had 2 blissful hours to sleep. It certainly was dark enough and I was certainly tired enough.

I picked up my phone and squinted at the blinding light and read 7:25am. I closed my eyes, shook my head. I must still be dreaming. There was no way it was 7:25, if it were true I would have to leave for work in 5 minutes. I reopened my eyes, forcing them to look into the light.

7:26am.

I paused for a moment, staring at the time in horror. I had set the alarm for 6:30am. I had set the alarm and I had turned it up to the highest volume, I was 100% certain. Then the phone buzzed and went dark. It buzzed again, almost angrily sounding; a small box popped up on the screen announcing that google play was shutting down (definitely was sleeping,  not playing fruit ninja), next it buzzed with the message that messenger was forced to close (I didn’t even have it open), after it announced that the phone was pretty much throwing in the towel, quitting everything.

7:27am.

Then it hit me-Autumn, you have to leave for work in 3 minutes, why are you staring at your disloyal phone?

The adrenaline kicked in and I flew out of bed and ran to the kitchen to check the clock on the microwave, just in case.

Still 7:27….wait no, now it’s 7:28!

I let out a little scream and dashed to my room to throw on some clothes. I should note that, I’m that employee with the special parking lot for perfect attendance and always being on time. Haha. Not really! But I really strive for punctuality and always being at work on time or early. This could not be happening!

I looked at my reflection in the bathroom mirror and winced. My hair was wild, like I had been riding in a convertible for hours….in tornado alley. Already 7:31, I had no choice but to braid it. I thought that might look a little more put together than a pony tail. Braid done. Next was the makeup, I had fallen asleep still wearing my make up so now I had mascara crumbling on to my cheeks and eyeliner smeared under my eyes.jack sparrow I looked like Jack Sparrow, pretty much. I tried to scrub it off, but then I remembered that my eyeliner is water proof. The smudges became even thicker. And it was 7:34 now. I was frantic. I grabbed the eye makeup remover and wiped away the dark smudging the best I could and reapplied mascara over the crunchy stuff already on. Now my eyelashes looked like tarantula legs. At least it is near Halloween, maybe I could get away with it. 7:36. I needed to leave, and of course I couldn’t find my shoes! I saw my hot pink flip flops in the corner, but no I couldn’t wear those to work and definitely not on a freezing drizzly day. 7:37. The hot pink flip flops were on my feet and I was finally out the door.

When I got to work I ran into my office and closed the door, I had for the most part slipped in, unnoticed and I was on time! YES! Now all I had to worry about was avoiding people and at least I could be grateful that my boss had just left for vacation yesterday.

Several hours into the day, I had a spare moment so I slipped into the bathroom to help tidy my appearance. I looked in the mirror (with better lighting than my own) and it was bad. With my straggly braid and frightening eyelashes and drippy makeup I looked like I had just been on set in the Hunger Games. There was little I could do but once again utter a prayer of thanks that at least my boss was on vacation.hunger games

I was back in my office when I heard the deep voice rumbling through the hall ways. It can’t be. Oh! But it was. The voice grew louder and louder. He was headed my way. He popped into the door and I said a chipper, “I thought you were supposed to be in a car heading to the beach!” My insides were squirming, praying he would stay near the door and at least not catch a glimpse of the hot pink rubber flip flops. He greeted me saying he had forgot to tell me about a detail he had for a project I would be completing in his absence. He was bringing his dog to the kennel and decided to just drop by the office, since it was on the way. The dog was with him and everyone knows I love dogs so I had to go over and pet it or he would know something was up. I got up from my desk and my hot pink flip flops were exposed.

I waited for something, a comment about the unprofessional, blindingly neon pink shoes. But he didn’t say anything!What a relief! Perhaps he was lenient because he was headed to the beach himself? Well, I set the alarm on the radio clock…hopefully that won’t quit on me!

Have you ever woken up late and had to scramble to get to work? Would you rather be late or wear hot pink flip flops to work? (I am questioning my judgment on this…maybe I should’ve taken a few more minutes? But I HATE being late!)