Sunday, August 30, 2009

Strangeness of Strangers

We seem to have an addiction in the family. Yeah, we have alcoholics and we have workaholics and we have other -olics that I can't even imagine. No, this is a different vice, albatross, cross, whatever you wish to call it. We need chaos. Pressure, deadlines, too many balls in the air. If we don't have it, we make it. If we can't make it, we borrow others'. Our current drug of choice is a kitchen remodel. Good buzz, a bit pricey, but it should quiet the monster for at least a year, right? Right?

I slink out of the house on a beautiful, cool summer day to one of our regular dealers, a shady dude known as Mr. Home Depot, "D-poh" in the parlance of the street. I showered before I left the house, but I already feel dirty. I'm there for the second time in two days, looking to score a shower and a vanity, oh, yeah, and a faucet. I'm nervous, because I'm a poser. Not a contractor, you dig? Just a kid from the 'burbs. I grab one of the flat carts, trying to look mad. No basket cart for me, no way. I navigate to the back row, way past the paint and the pvc and light fixtures to the bathroom section. It's dark and scary, and frankly sort of seedy. So I grab my stash and slink to the front to pay for my haul. In and out, don't make eye contact with the other addicts and junkies. Get out to the parking lot with my huge-ass cart and my huge-ass boxes, trying to do this on the lo' down. Anonymous. Fumble for the key fob. Pop the trunk. Lift the tail gate. Got to load the Honda and get back to my 'hood.

I can barely lift the first box, which is the size of a coffin and weighs as much. Christ, the carton is bigger than than the bathroom where it will be installed. I get it man-handled onto the rear gate of my Element, and I go white. It's too fuckin' big to fit in the car. I'm naked in the parking lot, sweating cold rivulets of panic, watching the other addicts watch me. Oh shit, oh shit. I got to get out of there. I call my wife, needing to hear her voice, needing her to know that I can't get the fix home, no little pick-me-up coming home with Daddy. I'm busted and shaking and crazed.

And this preppy, tired looking 40'ish woman stops and smiles at me, shakes her head. She knows why I'm there. "Don't jam it in," she says. "Maybe put it on the roof." I think to myself, "Well if I could lift the monster that high off the ground, I'd just adjust my blue tights and red cape and fly the fucker home." Thanks a lot. At least she didn't point and just laugh. I'm in a bad way. Why did I ever get hooked on chaos in the first place?

But the next guy, he ambles over and stops. He looks at me, at Box-zilla, at the car. And he shrugs. "Need a hand? Looks heavy." No judgement. Just a do-gooder. And for the next ten minutes, as I try to get my lever my shit into the back of the damn car, at least three more guys quit their own missions for a moment and offer to help. Nice guys. Friendly faces. Helping out a brother in need. I say, "No thanks" but their kindness calms me down. I think. I find a knife in my kid's tackle box and cut Box-zilla down to size. When I'm done, I've jimmied the bastard in enough that it only hangs out the back the the car about four feet. I cram the other shit in and get ready to leave, when the prepster comes on out of the D-poh with her own little bag of goodies, and laughs. "So you jammed it in?" Bitch.

I get on home, shaking from my trip and praying to get the monkey off my back. The high of the fix doesn't last. Chaos keeps on calling.


  1. Is that what our problem is? We actually LIKE living like this? Oh dear.

  2. You've just reminded me of when we bought our 24 inch t.v. when I was 8 months pregnant and we couldn't fit the box in our car, so we had to take it out of the box and we were still struggling to get it in the car and people were walking by us in the shopping mall parking lot and POINTING and LAUGHING! Did not increase my respect for weekly mall-goers I'll tell you.
    The sad thing is that that was only 5 years ago and the thing is on the fritz. Doesn't increase my respect for television these days.
    I'm glad you made it home.


Please don't take me too seriously.